A One-Room Refresh
with Mid-Century Vibes
A timeless take on design’s most beloved era turned this would-be storage room
into a comfortable, welcoming space.
Written by Sarah Chappell
THE PROJECT: Private residence in Land Park, Sacramento, CA
THE DESIGNER: Katrina Stumbos Interior Design
THE SPACE: Living room remodel
Considering a remodel can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Thinking of tearing up the floor, racking up piles of paint swatches and fabric samples under a cloud of construction dust might understandably be a little intimidating—but who says you need to tackle the entire house at once?
This is where design professionals come in handy. Sacramento-based interior designer (and Lumens trade partner) Katrina Stumbos brought her talents to a recent remodel of a client’s living room, proving that one room can go a long way.
Working with her client’s penchant for mid-century modern design, Stumbos transformed an area that was used as a storage space into a formal reception area fit for guests and dinner parties. We caught up with Katrina about the project, and learned that sometimes a new coat of paint and key furniture and lighting pieces are all you need to make a room feel fresh and new. Here’s what she had to say about this timeless take on mid-century modern.
Tell us a little about this project. What was the interior like pre-KSID transformation?
My clients own a smaller home that is very typical for this neighborhood of Sacramento. Over the years they have done smaller room-by-room remodels in the kitchen and bathroom (including a great room addition in the back), so it then became a question of, "What’s next?"
What was the first step?
We painted all the walls the same color—sort of a matte, neutral putty color with green undertones. It’s very tonal and monochromatic. The textures come from the furniture. To give it a pop, we really played with the textures and the lighting.
Speaking of lighting, the black and white fixtures are a contrasting departure from the earth-tone theme—not to mention they are both hefty in size. Why did you choose these two designs?
The room is incredibly monochromatic so I wanted to play with the two extremes on the color chart: black and white. They make a statement and create contrast. My client has loved the Tolomeo [Mega Black] Floor Lamp by Artemide for a very long time. Every time we met, she mentioned it so finally, I said, "Let’s just get it!" We worked the room around that lamp.
The flushmount light (Isamu Semi-Flushmount by Carpyen) took a little more convincing. I felt we needed something equally as sizable as the floor lamp but that brought out the bright white of the side table. The side table alone felt too stark for the room. When it was paired with the light fixture, it created the balance I wanted. Lighting plays a very big role in the home and is a continued theme, so I wanted this room to do the same.
Once you established the color palette, did your client have a direction they wanted to go in terms of style and function?
My client is way more modern. She loves true mid-century modern, iconic furniture. We wanted to tie that in but still make it feel warm and inviting. It is their formal living room, so the room really is meant for dinner parties and more formal get-togethers. It’s like an adult living room. I was able to play with placement knowing that furniture wasn’t going to move around.
Could you explain some of your favorite pieces in the space?
I am obsessed with those chairs we did from Wesley Hall. They’re super comfortable. A lot of mid-century modern furniture is not comfortable. It was made for a time when people were smaller and when they wouldn’t lounge all day—this was when people still kept plastic on their sofas!
People really live in their living rooms now so I was happy that the furniture we selected has the mid-century look while still being comfortable for modern-day use.
You mentioned playing with textures to define the tone-on-tone look of the space. What are some of the materials you decided to go with?
On the coffee table, that’s actually a faux-shagreen. It’s textured like alligator skin, so it has a very cool look to it, but from afar it just seems like a dark coffee table until the light hits it.
Any advice for someone taking on a one-room project?
Love every piece that goes into the room. You don’t want your room to feel like it was purchased in haste at a big box store. If what you really want is more expensive than what you can afford at the time, save up for it. Don’t settle just for the sake of finishing a room. Every piece in this room is deeply loved, thoughtfully selected and personal to my client. It’s quirky, moody, modern and uniquely hers.
ABOUT KATRINA STUMBOS INTERIOR DESIGN
Katrina Stumbos Interior Design specializes in luxury, high-end and residential interior design in Northern California. Owner and principal designer Katrina Stumbos works by the motto “dwell in style” and translates her lifestyle expertise to her interior and exterior designs. Katrina and her King Charles Spaniel, Stella, reside in Sacramento, CA.