Words by Adrienne Dyer. Photos by Jody Beck.
Wood panelled walls, dim rooms, and an inefficient layout in this 1960s bungalow are transformed into a bright and modern family home after a down-to-the-studs renovation by Paul Cosgrave of Cosgrave Construction. The interplay of space, light, and natural materials give this mid-mod gem the new life it desperately needed.
From the curb, the facade is structurally original with a modernized deep grey-blue hue, turquoise accents, and crisp white trim. “We wanted a mid-century modern house and loved the openness of the original floor plan,” says Cosgrave, who put a lot of thought and care into renovating the house, where he lives with his wife and two daughters. With the long term in mind, he redesigned the floor plan so that the main level includes everything he and his wife will need to age in place.
That involved expanding the primary bedroom to include a walk-in closet and ensuite bath, along with an office, laundry room, a full bathroom for the girls, and the main living spaces, all on one floor. A large balcony wraps around one side of the house, accessible from both the driveway and through the sliding glass doors from the dining room, for outdoor dining and enjoyment of the sunset views of the trees and the distant ocean.
A new concrete stairway creates easy access to the backyard and to a self-contained bachelor suite on the lower floor. The downstairs also includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a rec room for Cosgrave’s daughters, giving the girls their own space to enjoy as they grow up.
Since the house didn’t have a dedicated entryway, Cosgrave created a mud room area by adding a wall of cabinetry and tile flooring meticulously laid out in a seemingly random pattern. The rest of the floors are original oak, stripped of their oil-based varnish in favour of a water-based finish that makes them look bright and new.
The original brick fireplace was enhanced by a new oak-panelled facade and custom millwork in a floor-to-ceiling TV cabinet. Cosgrave capitalized on the space behind the wall to create a built-in kitchen shelf for cookbooks and wine storage that makes clever use of the space behind the fridge.
To take advantage of natural light, Cosgrave created vaulted ceilings by reclaiming empty attic space and added skylights in the main hallway and the kitchen. Here, white upper cabinets get vibrant colour from dark grey lower cabinets, set off by handmade tile, from Fireclay Tile in California, in an Escher Cube pattern — their “one big splurge.”
Both bathrooms on the upper floor feature rich mahogany vanities, paired with simple gold-framed mirrors and accent lights, plus geometric floor tiles and white quartz countertops.
“The interior is very bright, providing tons of natural light in the darker months and a cool atmosphere in the summer,” says Cosgrave, who adds that the natural tones and textures of the oak floors provide a foundational element of warmth.
This completely fresh take on mid-century modern is exactly what Cosgrave envisioned — a home he and his family can enjoy for decades to come.