The affluent neighborhood of Dunthorpe in Portland, OR, is dotted with supersized versions of Craftsman and Tudor homes. But the stately suburb also features a number of midcentury modern gems like this 4,705-square-foot home.
The interiors of this four-bedroom home built in 1968 looked a little worse for wear when the previous owners snagged it for $1,225,000 in 2017. But they brought the house up to date and adorned it with glamorous furnishings with a nod to its midcentury roots. These stylish design choices helped accentuate the home’s architecture and boost the sale price. The home was sold in August 2022 for an impressive $2,200,000, netting the sellers a profit of $975,000.
Below, we speak with a few experts about the interior upgrades that modernized this home and helped it fetch top dollar.
The original layout made poor use of the spacious room, squeezing everything into a tiny center square.
“The furniture upgrades take better advantage of the space and really scale the room, highlighting to buyers what a nice entertaining space it is. The new lighting, wall coverings, and furniture also elevate the overall aesthetic and look of the space,” says Leda Broxson, leading global real estate adviser with Spears Group out of Destin, FL.
“By adding furniture that is proportional to the room, it actually makes this dining room feel bigger, not smaller,” says Tiffani Baumgart, an interior designer based in San Diego.
Details like the console show buyers that storage is possible without sacrificing entertaining space, Baumgart adds.
Amy Peltier, an interior designer who works out of Pasadena, CA, and Northern, VA, points out that swapping the outdated chandelier for something more modern makes a statement, draws the eye upward, and makes the room look bigger.
A few simple updates helped bring this kitchen into the 21st century.
“Going from Formica and square tile to a uniform stone counter and backsplash instantly brings this kitchen into the present day while adding visual interest,” says Peltier. “I like the way they restained the existing cabinetry a richer brown and moved away from the previous red undertones. That’s the kind of charm and attention to detail that will really speak to a buyer.”
Baumgart agrees that darkening the cabinetry makes a big visual impact, especially against the light countertop.
“It feels current, whereas before, this kitchen felt so dated. Swapping out the nonmatching appliances to uniform stainless steel is a really important way to attract buyers, who often base homebuying decisions on kitchens and baths alone,” Baumgart adds.
From a hodgepodge of too-small furniture to a cleverly staged space with proportionate elements, the living room is now the perfect spot to unwind.
Perhaps the most significant change is the fireplace renovation.
“By replacing the former fireplace with book-matched stone used floor to ceiling, you create a dramatic focal point to the room that’s still in keeping with the era of the architecture,” says Baumgart.
Peltier applauds the previous owner’s decision to make the backyard view the focal point of this room.
“By adding a sofa facing the windows straight on, you now provide a front-row seat to the home’s most striking feature: the incredible forest views,” says Peltier.
The bathroom in its pre-renovated state looked like something out of the 1980s. But it got a modern makeover with elements that meshes with the rest of the home’s design.
Peltier explains that by eliminating grab bars and updating fixtures, the new bathroom has broader appeal.
“Floor-to-ceiling stone in the bathroom is really high on buyers’ lists right now. It gives that feeling of a bathroom-as-spa sanctuary,” says Baumgart.
Before renovations, the bed in this room looked as if it were being swallowed whole. Fresh paint, modern furniture, and a cozy rug make the space more inviting.
The new light fixtures also add a touch of warmth, says Broxson.
“That patterned wallcovering draws your eye to the wall and creates a dramatic, bold statement. These are the kinds of details that can instantly appeal to buyers,” shares Peltier.
Similar to other areas in this home, more furniture helps fill up the space, says Baumgart.
The previous buyers transformed this blank slate into a modern office perfect for working from home.
Effective staging helps show buyers the inherent value of the room, Baumgart explains.
“Painting this room one color really brightened up this space and made the ceiling appear higher. It was also a good move to eliminate the track lighting and add a rug,” says Broxson.
Additionally, they also chose to keep the slat details on the ceiling. Peltier says it’s a charming detail that’s tough to find in new construction.
Instead of completely revamping this room, the previous buyers enhanced the classic midcentury details like the built-in shelving and fireplace.
“By restaining the wood from red to more walnut tones, they not only made it more inviting, but it also unifies the room with the kitchen,” says Peltier.
Changing the wood tone also creates a more modern backdrop for the rest of the furnishings.
Baumgart says the clever staging in the room—especially the styling of the bookshelf—does exactly what it’s supposed to do: allow buyers to envision themselves living there.