A FRESH START
An interior designer revitalizes a tired 1950s home to start a new chapter in her own life.
By Kim Hill Photography Megan Lorenz Interior Design Tamsin Mascetti Architect FORNEY + architecture
When interior designer Tamsin Mascetti told friends and family she was considering purchasing a tired, mid-century home that hadn’t been updated in decades, they were less than enthusiastic. In fact, “everyone told me I was crazy,” says Mascetti. “They couldn’t see what I saw.” Others saw a Glendale house with no curb appeal, interiors so dated they still contained Cold War-area pink bathrooms, tiny inefficient windows, and a back yard with such a steep drop-off there was essentially no usable space. Mascetti saw it differently. “When I was walking through the space, it made sense to me,” she says of the split-level floor plan. “I liked the energy of the home. I love finding a home that is tired-looking and lacks functionality for today’s standards and bringing it back to life.” She’s done that several times—most recently with her previous home in Kirkwood. But as her two children were leaving for college and she became an almost-empty nester, she believed a top-to-bottom renovation was a challenge she could handle. An additional nudge—the renovation process began in July 2020 in the midst of the pandemic. “I actually thought this would be a great time to get people back to work by doing my house,” Mascetti recalls. “Little did I know, material costs would go up and availability of labor would go down. That part was a really bad idea. But we got it done.”
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Mascetti approached the project the same way she works with her clients: determining the must haves, assessing and measuring existing spaces, designing the flow and functionality of new spaces after removing existing walls, and laying everything out in CAD drawings. She did turn to architect Michael Cyr of Forney + architecture for help with designing an addition to the home that would connect the existing detached garage to the house. That task had stymied even Mascetti, an award-winning designer. “He had to figure out the roof line for the addition,” she says. “This new space created an entry plus two bedrooms facing the rear of the house.” Even though she approached the project the same way she would when working with a client, Mascetti acknowledges it’s a different ballgame when it’s your project. “With my clients, I can make quick decisions because I have a good idea what they should do,” she explains. “But when it came to my house, that was rough. I see too many different options out there, so it was hard to narrow it down because I love so many different looks.” She says the kitchen was probably her greatest challenge. She knew she wanted a soft neutral look with elegant accents but achieving that goal can take many different paths. She ultimately decided on a white, cream and soft gray color palette. Bright, white lacquer upper cabinets mix