Utah Style and Design

Mid-Century Makeover

February 3, 2015

In Salt Lake City, fresh modern design and an open floor plan revive the kitchen of a 1958 home.

By Brad Mee, Photos by Scot Zimmerman

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The saying that time changes everything is certainly true of Dorothy Huntsman’s kitchen in her recently remodeled mid-century modem home. The once wood-clad and closed-in space is now bright, open and modem in a very 21st -century way.

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“Even before I stepped into the house, I knew I belonged here,” says Huntsman of the 1958 St. Mary’s area residence in Salt Lake City. Designed by former owner Emil Baer Fetzer, the head architect of the LDS Church from 1965 to 1986, the dwelling featured many of the table architectural and design elements that characterize mid -century abodes: large windows, sloped ceilings, flat planes and a natural connection to the outdoors. Huntsman preserved these as she executed her 4,000-square-foot home’s down-to-the-studs remodel.

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At its core was the Huntsman family’s soon-to-be primary gathering space, the kitchen and adjoining family room. Clad floor to ceiling in walnut and outmoded features, both areas were ripe for an extensive overhaul.

To begin, Huntsman removed a ’50s-chic box of cabinetry that enclosed the kitchen’s cooking area and cut it off from the family room. This dramatically improved the traffic flow, modernized the layout and linked the two spaces. “My favorite thing is having a sitting area as part of the kitchen where everyone gathers by the fire,” she says of the family room.

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Huntsman revamped the family room’s feature wall creating an asymmetric interplay of floating bookshelves, zebra wood cabinet doors, a stainless steel fireplace surround and a broad plane of white dimensional tile. “The tile lifts the room to a new level without being a dominant focal point,” says Huntsman who didn’t want to detract from the adjacent kitchen’s clean-lined modernity.

White walls and ceilings brighten the kitchen’s once wood-panelled interior and provide a chic backdrop for an expansive Caesarstone-topped island, streamlined cabinets, integrated appliances, a glass tile backsplash and colorful Flor carpet tiles that visually link to the sitting area’s vivid furniture and a vibrant kitchen accent wall painted by Huntsman.

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Another of the homeowner’s abstract paintings hangs above the adjacent patio’s sitting area as seen through a wall of new glass doors that spans the south side of the rooms, filling them with light and views of the large backyard.

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The result is a new free-flowing kitchen—and an entire home—that suits the family’s lifestyle perfectly while retaining the character and livability of the dwelling’s original design. “I’m now a big fan of mid-century modern homes,” Huntsman says. “They have a huge wow factor, yet they’re understated and so easy to live in.

Ashley Miller
February 3, 2015

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