We Bought a Mid-Century Atrium House, and Oh My, It’s a Fixer Upper

Mid-century modern home renovation

So I am departing from my usual printable posts to share some news. My husband and I have been house hunting since we got married late last year. Before we met, both of us lived in small urban townhouses, and neither was big enough for two people working at home full time. A few weeks ago, we stumbled across a mid-century modern atrium house in Northern Virginia, a few miles away from where we live now. For me, the historic preservationist in the family, it was love at first sight. Nick pretty much had the opposite reaction, as this little gem needs work, but I am hoping he will grow to love it someday.

The next-door neighbor of the former owner made this sweet little model years ago when she was in design school. Fortunately, her children said we could have it. Do you see the atrium in the middle?

The house is unusual for Virginia. It has a square plan and is built around a walled, open air atrium. You are more likely to see homes like this on the West Coast, so I feel so fortunate to have discovered this one. The atrium has large glass windows, which bring an incredible amount of light to the interior. I absolutely love it and can see myself spending many happy days out there with my computer and books. The downside is that the house has much deferred maintenance and has never been updated. While that means that I will get to pick my own finishes for the bathrooms and kitchen, I also am nervous about what awaits us in terms of damage the house has suffered from issues not being timely addressed. You will likely be hearing more about it as we move through the rehabilitation project. Once we are moved in, I look forward to sharing the finishes and furnishings we select. Of course, the house already has an Instagram account that I hope you will follow: https://www.instagram.com/thatatriumhouse/ In the meantime, I am uploading a few of our ‘before’ photos and fun memorabilia.

The 1966 ad for our house from the Washington Post

4 thoughts on “We Bought a Mid-Century Atrium House, and Oh My, It’s a Fixer Upper

  1. I love it! I live out West where there are many MCM homes. I have never seen one with an atrium!
    i could use it to safely let my cats outside! I would love to help you restore it!

    1. Hi Marla, I would love the help! Too bad you are not closer. 🙂 It is especially unusual for Virginia, so when I saw it I had to have it.

    1. Hi Marla — We have finished the bathrooms and the kitchen is being designed. I’ve been busy unpacking, but will post some photos when things calm down.

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