Mid-century modern houses are a historic home style that still gets a lot of well-deserved attention. This unique type of American architecture reflects a philosophy that continues to attract followers today, more than half a century after the height of the movement.

If you've purchased one of these stunning signature homes, though, you're likely facing a fair bit of renovation to make it both a house and a home. So, where should you spend your remodeling money? Here are 4 top places to update.


The mid-century modern design appreciated nature. One key goal was to promote the harmony of human living spaces and natural spaces around them. For this reason, you'll often find a lot of large, paneless windows, glass sliding doors, courtyards, and skylights.

However, glass isn't the best insulator, and these houses can be inefficient and drafty. But, without the glass features, the home could lose much of its character and feel. A compromise can be found by replacing older windows with energy efficient, double paned modern options.

Look for a window service with experience remodeling historic homes so that you can find replacement glass adn styles that keep the integrity of the architecture. Then, have all the glass assessed to ensure that there are no leaks, drafts, or safety issues.

Open Floor Plans

The wide open floor plan of the mid-century home has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it makes smaller homes appear larger and more airy. It also encourages human interaction -- a stated goal of this movement. On the other hand, though, it can be hard to raise a family in a communal setting. It may also be expensive to properly heat or cool one large open space.

If you need to add privacy or create more rooms in an open floor plan, look for ways to keep the home's layout in public and entertainment spaces. An open living room, dining room, and kitchen, for example, will still give guests the feeling of depth even if you add some walls to the private spaces to create an additional bedroom.

Electrical and Plumbing

Houses actually built during the mid-centery period are aging by now. That means that you're looking at the possibility of antiquated electrical, heating, cooling, and plumbing systems hidden within the walls. Before you plan any cosmetic changes to the home, have it thoroughly inspected to see what needs updated.

Along with updating of old wiring or pipe systems, you may need to upgrade technology that was state-of-the-art in the 50s but can be made much more efficient or effective in modern times. Doing so carefully will not only preserve the home's comfort but also its value.

Realistic Architecture

Many original modern homes were built in regions with few serious weather concerns (such as Southern California). But, as the trend moved into more remote areas, the house architecture may not have been ideal for the climate. In addition, builders often valued form over function, which may mean you have to bow to reality when remodeling portions of the home.

If you have a home in an area with lots of snow, for example, a nearly flat roof can be a serious problem and may be improved by changing the angle. In addition, open courtyards aren't very functional in a cold climate, so you may want to enclose them so that you can use the space year-round.

The key to remodeling this historic home is to focus your money on renovation aspects that protect the look and feel of the mid-century modern home while bringing it into the 21st century. The result will be a place to honor the past and a place to build your future. For more information, contact companies like Affordable Home Remodeling.