Category Archives: Inspiration

Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour: An Interior Designer’s Home

Have you ever been in the house of an interior designer? When we walked into this 1951 house in the Hollin Hills Home & Garden tour, it was so evident that it was professional designed and decorated. Everything just had the right balance. 01-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour Designers

Sure enough, when we entered the owners’ home office, the design board and tile samples in the corner revealed that he was an interior designer. It all made sense.

It was hands-down our favorite home of the entire 11-house tour, and I learned a lot from it.  The biggest lesson was on the importance of scale.  Large, carefully-chosen art made so much more impact on a space then lots of little pieces.

During a renovation, walls were removed to open the kitchen, dining, and living spaces to flow as one.

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This kitchen may be the best small kitchen I have ever seen.  Design loving bloggers, take note: I think this is a good example of the careful use of open shelving.  If the owner had replicated the shelves on the other side, the wall of tile would lose its modern simplicity and just look cluttered.  Less is more.

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To the left of the kitchen above, a hall led to bedrooms.  To the right there was a small TV room/ lounge, which also led to the bedrooms.

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Only a designer could integrate a coffee station so beautifully with a bar.

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Ryan loved this corner of the TV room and said that’s what he’d like to replicate in the corner of our basement TV room.

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This guest room was small and simple, but not boring simple.

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I almost didn’t notice this art, but I’m so glad I did.

09-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour Designers-008The master bedroom just made us both gasp and say “wow.”  The windows, the large art, the awesome bed, chairs . . . just everything. I want this room in my life, period.

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I really, really want to try and recreate this art.

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13-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour Designers-012Here’s the office with the fantastic double desk.

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15-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour Designers-014Finally we have the outdoor patio area.  This lot was more landscaped with fewer old trees, which isn’t my style, but the deck was the perfect party & lounge area.

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17-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour Designers-016I hope you’re enjoying these virtual tours of the mid-century neighborhood.  Next I’ll share glimpses into some of the more quirky homes we saw. Believe me, quirk abounds. :)

In case you missed it:

  1. Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour: Great Exteriors
  2. Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour:  A Perfect Mad Men House
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Hollin Hills Mid-Century Tour: A Perfect Mad Men House

Today I’m taking you on a virtual tour of an amazing 1950′s style home in Hollin Hills – one of the paces we toured during the Home & Garden tour on Saturday.

Out of the 11 homes we toured, House 4 was one of my favorites.  Before reading the notes on the home, I had deemed it the perfect retro home – because it manages to play off the kitsch and quirk of atomic style without going overboard.

It turns out it won the Washington Post Mad Men contest, with judge Vern Yip (from HGTV) saying it was “both faithful to…and updated from…what you would see on Mad Men.”  Exactly.

WaPo Mad Men House 2012

Credit: Washington Post

This house was one of the architectural styles I loved most in Hollin Hills.  It’s essentially a big glass box in a layout that I’d love to have someday.

My photos won’t be perfect, because I was trying to quickly snap them without getting in the way of the other visitors, but I think they’re good enough to get the point across. :)

We entered through the front door on the first floor, but I think the door was only there to lead out to the garden and patio.  The true entrance was on the side of the house.

The lounge room on the bottom floor runs the length of the house.  The owners were smart to use the retro wallpaper on just one wall. Every wall would have been overkill:
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The other end of the long lounge:
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Behind the lounge on one side was the entryway and stairway.

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Plywood looks great when used as walls and cabinetry in mid-century homes.  I love that – so practical and affordable.

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We couldn’t enter the lower bedrooms because of cats, but I noticed that the owners installed Wall Flats on this sliding door. I’ve always been curious to see them in person:

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We headed upstairs to the living room/dining area, which also ran the length of the front of the house.  Everyone said “wow” as they emerged in it!

I noticed that the owners used an interesting combination of Ikea Besta cabinetry and shelves in assorted wood tones and sizes to create this interesting storage wall. It’s not quite how I’d do it, but it looks great and fits the house.

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The living room and dining area were so beautifully balanced.  Decorated but not cluttered. I could feel myself living in it.

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And this hexagonal wall shelf! How I love it.  I have a great collection of retro glasses and I must find this shelf.  Do you know who makes it?

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The kitchen was gorgeous, I think with Ikea cabinets, but I didn’t photograph it well.

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We appreciated how the owners carried the hexagonal theme from the living room around the corner and into the tile back splash.

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The bedrooms are small but really, Ryan and I agreed that smaller bedrooms are worth it for the awesomeness of mid-century. Plus, it’s all you need.

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Love this modular shelf unit. We’re debating building one.

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The bathrooms in these mid-century homes are tiny, so photography is a challenge. This one was gorgeous and quirky, with a huge skylight and some special diamond inlay on the lower cabinets (not shown).  I personally loved the bright green glass tile as well as the long wall of shallow white cabinets.

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One thing this house taught me – or rather, reinforced for me – is the belief that Ikea furniture can be used to create a beautiful space. The key is to use it in moderation, and balance it with a mix of other furnishings.

As we left, I snagged a quick shot of the fantastic mod light fixture hanging over the open stairway.

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I hope you enjoyed this virtual tour! Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the more quirky and not-my-style spaces.

In case you missed it:

1. Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour: Great Exteriors

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Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour: Great Exteriors

Hollin Hills is a hidden gem, a mid-century modern neighborhood hidden in the sprawling traditional neighborhoods of Alexandria, right below Old Town. This weekend 11 of the residents opened their homes to nosy locals with the annual House & Garden Tour, and I surprised Ryan with tickets.  He agreed that it was a fantastic date, because he loves mid-century modern just as much as I do, if not more.

14-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour 2014-070We were filled with inspiration, a longing to move to the neighborhood, design envy, and sore legs.  We walked the tour, and took 4 hours doing so.  I took photos as much as I could, without getting in the way of the other visitors.  There was so much eye candy that I’m going to have to share it over several posts, making this Mid-Century Modern week at The Borrowed Abode. :)

Today’s feature:  The Exteriors. These are homes that we walked by but didn’t go into.

Historical notes: The architect/planner for the Hollin Hills community was Charles M Goodman and the developer was Robert C Davenport.  This is a historic district developed between 1946 and 1971.

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One older woman complained that some of the homes looked like trailers.  The photo above and the one below show the houses to which she was referring.  The below one may need some landscaping and refreshing, but overall Ryan and I like the simple style.  And on the inside these homes exude just as much mid-century charm as the ones with more quirky exteriors.
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The neighborhood is very wooded and much of the landscaping plays off the woodland feel. 03-Hollin Hills Mid-Century Home Tour 2014-002
See the butterfly roof on the house below? I just love it!  It must look awesome on the inside.
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I loved how the circular patio was echoed by the circle sofa:
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This (above and below) was a house where only the exterior was open to the public, due to its just being sold. We enjoyed peeking in the windows.
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The walls of windows are probably my favorite feature in mid-century homes. The originals were single pane and weren’t great for insulation in the winter, but now many have been updated with insulated, modern windows – without sacrificing the aesthetic.
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When you see a mid-century home that looks closed-off and boring on the street side, chances are it opens to a full wall of glass on the back side. Also, the right side of the front was actually a wall for an enclosed courtyard, not the house itself.
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Finally, some of the homes have been expanded while keeping – or trying to keep – to the historical look.  This was a really funny example, where just one room was popped onto the top of the existing structure. He’s kind of keeping watch over the street.
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I hope you’ll come back tomorrow for the next part, where peek inside a beautifully renovated mid-century home from the tour!

PS: Just a reminder: currently 25% of all purchases from Janery go to Response-a-Bull rescue for dogs.

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