“We ‘Just Knew’” – A Couple Finds Their MCM Dream Home

Alyssa and Barnaby found their dream home. The pair, a young couple with a deep appreciation for mid-century modern style, was looking for a home with character and space for their growing family. The perfect MCM home was waiting for Alyssa and Barnaby in peaceful, family-oriented South Orange County suburbia. The home just needed their special touch to make it all theirs – and they were up for the challenge.

Their new home would need space not only for their family but also to run their business, as their consultancy is based out of their home. The couple owns a successful, highly publicized market research and communications consultancy, serving the financial services industry.

They began the search for their dream home with one child in tow and another on the way. Stephen Meade, Realtor and Better Living SoCal partner, showed the couple a beautiful two-story Deane Brother’s late mid-century modern home that piqued their interest.

Alyssa and Barnaby had done their research and found that the Deane Brothers were “recognized among the top 100 mid-century modern architects.” The architects’ designs feature iconic mid-century modern design elements, including expansive glass windows and walls, tongue and groove ceilings and indoor-outdoor living spaces.

The tract home is the epitome of Deane Brothers homes; built in true modern fashion with the exception of being much larger in scale. “Our home, for instance, is 2500 square feet with five bedrooms, three full baths and a great room with 22-foot ceilings,” said the couple. The home seemed perfect, with just a few exceptions.


We had the pleasure of interviewing the couple about their new home and renovation plans. Find out what features HAD to be changed and how the two came to realize the house was “the one” below:

1. What drew you both to the home?

Alyssa: We were immediately won over by the great room, how the second floor overlooked the first floor to create a sense of transparency and flow while still maintaining privacy for the bedrooms, overall space and natural greenery of the lot with all of the mature trees and landscaping. We also immediately realized how dramatic the home would look if we removed the wall between the kitchen and the great room in order to create a completely open first floor.

2. How did you know it was “the one?”

Alyssa: It might sound cheesy but we “just knew” the second we stepped foot into the house. We knew it was the one because it brought together everything we were looking for: architectural significance, space for a live-work lifestyle, and proximity to both family and good schools.

3.What was it like working with Stephen and the Better Living SoCal team?

Alyssa: Stephen exceeded our expectations at every touch point – from deciding whether or not to purchase the home to negotiating the price and writing up the final terms of the contract. Stephen was an amazing resource and a much-needed ally and with his support the process of buying our first home was a seamless adventure.

4. Can you describe the feelings you felt when the house was finally yours?

Alyssa: When we knew the house was ours we could hardly believe it! Stunned and excited pretty much describes the feeling.

5. What renovations did you decide to make?

Alyssa: Even before the house was ours we decided to take down the wall on the first floor, remove the gaudy stone fireplace, completely update the kitchen, install unified wood flooring throughout the house and paint both inside and outside.

6. What was your goal with the renovations? What look were you going for?

Alyssa: We were looking for an open live/work concept with a high-end, organic modern look that would update and accentuate the mid-century bones of the home.

7. What does your choice in materials say about your home?

Alyssa: The materials we added to the home were either wood (floors and furniture) or the color white (furniture, walls, kitchen counters). For us, white and wood create an organic modern feel true to the qualities of the home. We thought about the “bones” of the house as a canvas and really wanted to create a blank canvas so that our lives could be the color (food we cook or grow, art we make or collect, furniture we love, books that fill the built-in library, musical instruments etc.).

8. Can you provide any advice for others looking to remodel a Mod home?

Alyssa: My advice to others looking to remodel a Mod home is to look to the future rather than the past. Don’t be afraid to update and modernize, tear down and reinvent. Go for a cutting edge look rather than something nostalgic or historic. We are true to the spirit of these homes when we use them to imagine what “modern” living might mean, not what it has meant.

9. Any reason(s) behind the particular style you chose to go with for the remodel?

Alyssa: Like a gallery, we want our home to be a clean and open context that accentuates both the architecture and the select objects we’ve chosen to decorate with.

10. What experiences are you looking forward to most in your new home?

Alyssa: We most look forward to being with the people we love and to having a home that serves as a regular gathering place for friends and family.

We’ll be following up with Alyssa and Barnaby after their renovations are complete and they’ve settled into their modern Orange County home.

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