Inside a 1959 Vintage Mid Century Modern Utopia

Inside a 1959 Vintage Mid Century Modern Utopia

While helping a friend look online for real estate, George Marrone and Michael Nocera stumbled upon a listing for an artist-built 1959 house set on just over an acre of land with lush gardens and a creek. In a neighborhood filled with colonials, capes and Tudors, the Mid Century Modern home stood out, embodying artist-built architecture and captivating the couple. The home was perfectly poised to house their unique vintage mid century style.
In the kitchen, original elements like the clock and range hood are accented by some modern-yet mid century- friendly updates. New cork floors, quartz countertops, a glass backsplash, maple cabinets and stainless steel appliances work together to meet modern needs while honoring the home’s age.
Seeing beyond its shag carpets and heavy window coverings to the beautiful bones underneath, George and Michael had found a well-preserved home where they could infuse their style with iconic mid century design elements. (See another 70s home with impressively purple shag carpet.) For George, the home told a story he’d loved since childhood: “As a kid growing up in the ’70s, I really loved the Brady Bunch house,” he says. “I feel I found one with those same sensibilities.”
George and Michael both favor the refreshing look of natural light. So, naturally, they wanted as many windows as possible to lighten the mid century living space.


As they fit their home to their mid century modern design aesthetic, George and Michael balanced new changes with the house’s existing beauty. “It was in need of light, light and more light! I wanted to really let the outdoors in and embrace the landscape,” George says.
George and Michael chose to embrace the neutral-toned flagstone on the fireplace—leaving the home’s massive centerpiece in its original condition.To bring the Mid Century Modern living room to life, the heavy window valances were removed, allowing natural light to filter into the space and creating a seamless transition between the house and outdoors. They added oak hardwood floors to the room and painted the walls and trim white while leaving the original flagstone fireplace in its natural beauty.


When it came to decorating, George—who scours flea markets, auctions, and boutiques while he travels—envisioned a style that was not “kitschy Mid Century Modern” but instead “sophisticated, elegant and modern.” He set a Finn Juhl Japan chair, Mitchell Gold sofa, and Paul McCobb coffee table atop a patterned Pottery Barn rug. He placed a Jonathan Adler horse on the hearth alongside some punchy red cubes. The areas represent his decorating inspirations: a mix of old and new pieces that are imbued with the history and elegant vibe of Mid Century Modern designs.
Sunken below the entryway, the dining room welcomes guests with an eye-catching vintage sputnik chandelier. Featuring the original buffet and mirror, George accented the oak floors with an eclectic mix of vintage walnut, including Cherner end chairs. The Widdicomb bench in the foyer above offers a stunning dose of color to the warm space.
The variety of seating options in the house den gives the mid century living room a playful and welcoming personality.
For the glass-walled den, George and Michael left the slate stairs that brought guests around to the other side of the fireplace. The den features the house’s original walnut bookcase, working indoor grill and lighting fixtures. In lieu of making major renovations to the space, the couple opted for cosmetic changes instead to enhance the home’s Mid Century Modern look.
Rather than ascribing to an entirely vintage collection of furnishings and accents, George has found a creative and chic way to balance old and new elements in each room. The end result is a design that celebrates the home’s age while showcasing the couple’s personal styles.
George scoured flea markets, auctions and boutiques to curate the home to his desired aesthetic of “sophisticated, elegant and modern.” It creates a one-of-a-kind vintage mid century look.
George hung a red George Nelson clock on the wall and placed white pottery on the bookshelf, citing his love for the look of white pottery against the walnut. He also mixed in the vintage pieces, such as Bitossi ceramics, and books that he had collected over the years.
Despite the original Cado wall unit, it is the Knoll Womb Chair in cato orange fabric that steals the show in the living room. The shelves host modern and vintage mid century pieces.


The seating area was inspired by the colors of the vintage Bitossi lamp that George placed near the Mitchell Gold sofa. He chose a Jonathan Adler screen to pop against the walnut walls and add dimension to the sleek room. He thoughtfully chose a range of unique seating options, including a vintage Pierre Jeanneret for Knoll scissor chair (which George nicely accented with a vintage Zebra print pillow) and a luxurious vintage Knoll Barcelona daybed positioned against the den’s windowed wall. “Relaxing on the daybed is wonderful year-round,” George says. “The rock walls surround you just beyond the windows.”
The catwalk boasts a vibrant collection of vintage and modern elements. A vintage oil painting brightens the fireplace, while a Mitchell Gold console table, C. Jere brass sunburst and Modernica planter tie the space in to the living room visible below.
Find artwork that suits your style and matches your personality. There are no wrong answers when something gives you joy. Bring character to any space with a vintage mid century piece.
The front entrance has warm stone and wide double doors to welcome guests into the home.
For the upstairs den, George placed multiple art pieces on the white walls. The effortless, gallery-inspired hanging let the wall art be the focal point of the room. “I just pulled together various pieces and spaced them out until it felt right,” he says of his organic process.
George and Michael carefully curated a mix of modern and vintage art pieces for their mid century home. Each one chosen to match their home and personalities. The vintage mid century style gives the white wall a funky personality.
Unafraid of bold décor moves, George even placed a framed art print on the ground, leaning it against the wall. “Mixing various sources, old and new, high and low creates the most interesting spaces,” he says. To tie everything together, he anchored the space with a tulip chair and vintage desk. For a touch of edgy whimsy, he painted a faux turtle shell and gardening stool in bright yellow.
Place warm and cool colors near each other to make the most of their brilliant hues and your decor.
Grasscloth wallpaper in the master bedroom adds texture. It creates a calm retreat that takes full advantage of the large windows overlooking the property. Paul McCobb end tables and a Jonathan Adler starburst mirror bring a modern vibe to the space.
George accented the guest bedroom with a mix of old and new—such as the Jonathan Adler and vintage glass vases. the bedside lamps came from an auction, while the bedding was found at Crate and Barrel for a dose of fresh pattern. It’s a beautiful take on their vintage mid century style. Browse more mid century inspired bedding here
In the end, George’s design philosophy—“surround yourself with things you love and don’t worry about pedigree”—is evidenced throughout his and Michael’s home, where the past and present mingle in an artistic expression of a Mid Century Modern house. It’s living proof that, as George puts it, “you can have a modern home that is curated yet practical and comfortable for everyone.”
Love preservation and restoration? See how this 1939 Art Moderne house was restored to glory. For more inspiring mid century modern home design and renovation, check out Restored to Glory: A Mid Century Renovation in North Carolina. If you’re feeling the bold take on Mid Century Modern style, check out Dani Nagel’s bright and bold Palm Springs home!
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