In the Salt Lake Country Club neighborhood, a team of pros breathes new life into a ramshackle mid-century residence with a trendy remodel.
“We were immediate heroes of the neighborhood when everyone found out we bought the house,” says Phil Winston, co-owner of Northstar Builders. The vacant one-story, flat-roofed home had been an eyesore on the block for years, a ghostly shell of what was once a mid-century gem.
“The house had incredible features, but it needed a lot of help,” Winston explains. Cardboard boxes, broken-down appliances and deserted furnishings lay piled throughout the house. To make matters worse, squatters had broken in and damaged the property. Winston, and his Northstar partner Greg Ross, donated items worth giving, salvaged what could be reused and discarded the rest. Then they began the transformation.
First up: Create an Entertaining Space
“We started with the double-sided fireplace that we wanted to salvage,” Ross says. “There were only 13 feet on each side of the fireplace, much too narrow for a modern entertaining space with an open kitchen and dining room.” So the team extended the back of the home 20 feet to provide space for a new open great room while leaving ample area for a newly re-landscaped backyard.
Next: A Master Suite
Winston’s next project entailed a master suite crafted from an open carport. “This was an easy conversion because the tongue-and-groove ceiling ran throughout the home and, fortunately for us, into the carport,” Ross explains. “The carport enclosed 26 square feet, which was the perfect size for a master bedroom suite.” Voila, carport turned master. Autos now reside in a new detached garage.
Winston and Ross enlisted the help of designer Emily Foxley to refine the interior, while paying homage to home’s history. “My goal was to salvage what we could, Foxley says. The new home was a little mid-century modern, but not a pure mid-century, so we incorporated surprising touches throughout the space, starting with the entryway.” The team sanded the original entry screen and refreshed it with new paint. “I loved that we kept the railing in the entry. It needed a little love, and we raised it for code,” she explains. “The globe pendants are original, too. They were re-dipped and cleaned.”
The team’s luck remained strong. “We met with Brent Jespersen at Poliform to discuss kitchen options,” Foxley says. “Customizing that space would have meant waiting four months for a delivery from Italy. Brent allowed us to purchase his showroom pieces off the floor, which coincidentally fit perfectly inside the new space.”
One issue, however, did challenge the pros. “There are so many cool things about the home’s period that it was hard to control our spending,” Winston says. “We were like kids in a candy store.”
In the end, the team hosted an open house for neighbors and the design community that met with rave reviews. “This was really a labor of love,” Foxley says of the heroic transformation. “It’s still true to form, but now has a functional flow for modern life.”