This Family’s 1973 Rental House Is a Colorful Homage to Mid-Century Modern Style

Name: Anna Liles, husband, two kids, and Oliver the boxer dog
Location: Clarksburg, Maryland
Size: 2500 square feet
Type of Home: Single family, split level, brick traditional
Years Lived In: 3 years, renting

We are a military family and we were looking for a rental property when we moved from our home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. We found this house on realtor.com rental properties. I mostly love the location of this home. We live on a quiet cul de sac, on a wooded lot, in a wonderful little neighborhood.

The home is a traditional brick split level built in 1973. It sits on a large lot, which backs up to a beautiful golf course. It also has a pool, which I really didn’t want, but we have come to love. Maryland summers can definitely be hot, so the pool was a great way to escape the heat. The home is also a bit traditional for my style but I think I’ve managed to give some color and character. We move a lot and I really love the challenge of reinventing each space. I’m currently a stay-at-home mom with a love for thrifting and I think that is definitely reflected in our house. It is filled with vintage furniture, art, and accessories.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style definitely shows my love for mid-century design and decor, but I also love to mix in the ’70s and even the early ’80s. I love lots of color, vintage finds, plants, textiles, art, textures, and patterns.

Which time periods/decades inspired your home’s design the most? The ’60s is probably my favorite decade but I also love the the space age feel of the ’70s. I love the clean mid-century lines and bold colors. I think my love for architecture and design began when we lived in Germany while I was in high school. I loved the Bauhaus architecture, and European/ Scandinavian style. We also picked up a lot teak, Danish furniture while we were over there. That began my love affair with mid-century furniture and bright colors.

I’m definitely not a purist when it comes to decor but I mostly try to keep my furniture in its original condition. I try to restore what I can and would rarely paint a piece unless it was beyond repair. I love to mix mix vintage pieces with newer textiles and rugs. I think it keeps the room fresh. However, I rarely make newer purchases except for those items; the rest of our home is almost completely thrifted. It’s taken me about 20 years of collecting to curate our home and it’s still always changing and evolving. With each new home comes a new canvas.

We are actually moving to Oklahoma in July and we will be living in historic Army housing so I’m sure styling that will be an experience. I always love a good challenge.

Favorite Element: My favorite design feature of this home is the family room’s full-length brick wall and fireplace. It’s such a cozy space and I love the extra warmth the brick brings to the room. I’ve also really enjoyed styling the pool and patio.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge for me is that I’m always on a budget. We are a single family income home and I have thrifted almost everything in our house with the exception of my plants and some accessories. I go often and have been lucky enough to score some amazing pieces of furniture at a fraction of their cost. Patience is definitely the key, because there are many days I come home empty handed. Also with every move comes a new house and layout. Sometimes things just don’t fit the way they did in a previous home. When that happens the garage becomes a storage unit that my husband really appreciates, haha. I’m always hesitant to get rid of things that don’t work in one space because I know we’ll eventually move and they might be perfect in the next home. In the end it’s always fun to reconfigure your furniture for a new look.

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY would probably be the textile/twine art I created in our entryway and living room. They were inspired by 1970s textile artist Jane Knight. I couldn’t possibly afford one of her stunning pieces so I attempted to make my own. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. I also did two latch-hook pieces. One in our entryway and the pixelated one in the dining room. I love a nod to retro crafting and I love being able to create my own art.

Our pool loungers were also a fun project. I got them off Facebook Marketplace for $40. They were originally green and in rough shape. I cleaned them up and spray painted them white and added the fun stripes.

Biggest Indulgence: I seriously rarely indulge in new purchases but I did buy IKEA’s Stockholm rug for $250 and it was entirely worth it. I absolutely love it and it’s so versatile and bold. No regrets there.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our home is pretty traditional and I haven’t really had to get creative with the space. We’ve been luck enough to have enough square footage and closets to make everything fit.

Where are your favorite places to buy or find vintage home decor? Honestly I mostly frequent thrift stores exclusively. I love antique and vintage stores but I generally don’t have the cash to shop there. Thrifting allows me to style our home with fun vintage pieces without breaking the bank. I’ve also been lucky enough to find some good stuff on Facebook Marketplace. I really love the thrill of the hunt because you never know what you might find. It’s always exciting when you stumble on something great!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Gosh, I guess I would say that you have to be true to yourself when decorating your home. Your decor should reflect the things you like and enjoy. Don’t be afraid of color or trying something that isn’t necessarily trending. Take a risk, be bold. Designing and styling your space is such a personal experience. I can totally appreciate the minimalist, neutral decor, but it doesn’t speak to my heart. I need all my vintage goodies and furniture. I need color, patterns, and textures. I like pieces that are unique and I like being able to breathe new life into my vintage finds. I also love having a home that projects warmth and happiness. That brings me joy.

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.

This piece is part of Throwback Month, where we’re revisiting vintage styles, homes, and all kinds of groovy, retro home ideas. Boogie on over here to read more!

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