“Mad Men” meets a functional family space in the south Abilene home of Taylor and Logan Sturgis. Built in the 1950s for the Wooten family (founders of the Hotel Wooten), almost every part of the home features mid-century modern charm. The Sturgis family started renovations in January, with the help of Abilene based interior designer, Rebecca Gibbs.
“Whenever I came in, Taylor was like ‘Mad Men vibes’ mid-century,” Gibbs said. “And Logan wanted to take that edge off a little bit.” “We needed a professional’s opinion or we would’ve probably made it too mid-century modern,” Logan said. “We needed balance.”
The master bathroom and hallway leading to the master bedroom saw the bulk of the renovations. The hallway originally featured large built-in cabinets, which were removed. The master bathroom was expanded and the hallway became skinnier, with an additional closet right near the master bedroom door. But the purpose of that closet changed when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Taylor owns a real estate appraisal company called Key Appraisal Group.
“When everything happened, we decided to slow down, everyone had the capabilities of working from home,” Taylor said. “However, we were mid-construction at the time so we set up a college desk in the laundry room.”
Meanwhile, Logan was doing online school with their two daughters, and the need for a dedicated home office quickly became clear.
“He needed a desk, and he wanted it in our room,” Logan said. “So out in the open, I was not OK with that, so I called Rebecca and said we have to be able to close it.”
Without changing any of the structure design, Gibbs was able to turn the closet into the office, trading rods and shelves for outlets and a walnut desk (the same walnut that was used in the master bathroom).
A good home office doesn’t really need much, Gibbs said. Functionally, it needs outlets, shelves and a desk. The Sturgis family also wanted to be able to close the door and hide the office if needed. The office is now home to Taylor’s old yearbooks, drawings created by his daughters, and framed original blueprints of the house.
“It’s really great location-wise because he can be working, and I can be watching ‘Real Housewives,’” Logan said, laughing. “It kind of created a ‘master wing’ on this side of the house.”
The original arrangement of the master bathroom first prompted the Sturgis’ to get help from a professional designer. “We would stand in here and say, well we can’t re-orient the bathroom, because there’s a window there, what do you do about the mirrors?” Logan said.
Gibbs helped them make it work – removing cabinets from under the windows, and putting in a brand new mid-century modern sink and mirrors. Gibbs’ husband, Lucas, offered the services of his construction company for all of the remodel.
Beyond the master wing, other renovations included replacing carpet with wooden floors in the hallways and tile in the bathrooms. In the main living area, they kept the original mid-century modern terrazzo floor – a popular flooring made of pieces of quartz or stone sealed in tinted cement. This space also features a built-in cabinet that was a bright, Halloween orange when they first moved in. They repainted it dark green but kept the original gold hardware and stone top.
“We painted the window trim black,” Gibbs said, “and before they were kind of a creamy white, and it just didn’t feel as fresh, and current, and the black really made it feel modern.”
The most “Mad Men”-esque room in the house is Taylor’s personal entertainment space in the front room, or the “parlor,” as it was originally labeled in the home blueprints. Gibbs updated this room with fresh wallpaper and a picture rail. They kept the original windows, because even though they were small, the room still feels well lit after removing the previous homeowner’s tinted windows and dark window treatments.
The dining room features an original mirrored accent wall, which reflects the mid-century modern furniture and blue wallpaper on the other walls. The wallpaper was installed by Logan and her sister, who started their own wallpaper installation business, Papered Interiors (@paperedinteriors on Instagram).
The kitchen also didn’t need many updates aside from paint, lighting and hardware. A family room right next to the kitchen is a space for the Sturgis’ two kids to hang out.
“This where Rebecca’s life experience shines through with all her kids,” Logan said. “My kids have had tomato soup out here, spaghetti, yogurt, smoothies, and there’s not a spot cause it’s a dark rug and leather chairs.”
Next to the laundry room, another multipurpose room evolved into a guest suite, complete with built-in cabinets and a bathroom. This room also features mid-century modern lighting, shelves and antique furniture.
Gibbs helped the Sturgis family work with the space, creating the vibe they wanted while bringing out the most charming aspects of this mid-century modern home.