My Houzz: Designer Opens Up Her Midcentury Home in Tulsa

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Rachel Andersen grew up flipping homes with her family. She’s always loved building, designing and renovating, so when she stumbled upon this midcentury home, at the tender age of 21, she couldn’t wait to get her hands on it and begin the renovation process. The home was built in the 1950s by a local architect and is in a beautiful historic neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “The midcentury style was a perfect fit for me. I didn’t want to mess with the character of the style; I just wanted to enhance it throughout the renovation,” she says. “I worked on the design with my brother and sister-in-law, and I still love the collaborative finished product to this day.”

Andersen is a talented graphic designer and musician who also runs an online shop, Unanchored Studio, where she sells handmade wall weavings. “When I’m not working, you can typically find me doing some sort of DIY build, whether at my home or a friend’s house,” she says. “I was born in Tulsa, but my family moved away when I was barely a toddler. I came back seven years ago and have loved each second of it!”

Midcentury Living Room Studio 26

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Rachel Andersen
Location: Lortondale neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma
Size: 1,570 square feet (146 square meters); three bedrooms, two bathrooms
Year built: 1956

Andersen purchased the home from a woman who had lived there for 33 years. “She loved her home — and her wallpaper designs!” Andersen says. “The bones of the home were great, considering it was over 50 years old, but the style was very fitting for the owner, with lots of floral and lots of curtains covering up the back wall of windows. So when I moved in, I knew it would need a lot of aesthetic love.”

Thanks to her self-employed single homeowner’s budget, Andersen’s furnishings are a mix of things she found at thrift shops, built or bought on sale. “A lot of the pieces in my home have a story to them,” she says. “For example, the blue bench seats — I found those for $3 when I was 15 and fixed them up.” Andersen found the perfect maritime flag on eBay to hang behind them.

Midcentury fireplace: Craigslist; blue bench seats: garage sale; checkered maritime flag: eBay

Midcentury Living Room Studio 26

Andersen instantly fell in love with her home when she uncovered the original floor-to ceiling windows in the back. “Those sealed the deal for me when house hunting,” she says. “My top favorite room has to be the living room, with how bright it is due to the windows and the white paint reflecting the natural light. There’s nothing like working from home with that much light — it’ll be hard to beat wherever I move after this home!”

Sofa: Mathis Brothers Furniture; area rug: Overstock; coffee table; West Elm

Before Photo

Midcentury  Studio 26

BEFORE: What is now an open space was divided into separate rooms when Andersen first saw the home. “There was a wall separating the main dining area from the smaller living room which got knocked down to create one main great room. Best decision we made to visually connect all the back windows,” she says.

“The smaller living area used to have wood paneling on the walls, and once we ripped it down, we found a surprise from one of the previous owners, perhaps before Margaret even — what appeared to be a children’s dart game, of a painted bull’s-eye target and kids’ names written next to it. Pretty cool,” Andersen says.

Midcentury Dining Room Studio 26

AFTER: With the wall gone, the open space is bright, airy and inviting. Andersen, who comes from a big family, loves to entertain and host people in her home. “Whether it be for a family night enjoying a fire together, hosting holiday meals or get-togethers, so many memories have been created in this home,” she says.

Andersen designed the dining table so that she could host family holidays. “I found a welder on Etsy to custom-make the table legs, and a friend’s husband did the woodworking of the tabletop for me,” she says.

Light fixture:; farm table: handmade

Midcentury Living Room Studio 26

A lot of my decor style is monochromatic, with pops of color, and a lot of wood and metal tones. A nice modern look, but man, it lacked a sense of home and warmth,” Andersen says. “I worked to add different textures and some feminine touches, even as simple as adding more gold accents or plants around my home.”

Andersen’s style can be seen throughout her home, with colorful accents including orange-painted beams on the ceiling in the living room and dining room. “I’d describe the style … as very industrial and midcentury modern, with some bohemian thrown in with textures and colors,” she says.

The wall hangings in Andersen’s Etsy shop were born out of creating some for her own home.

Brown swivel chair: Overstock

Midcentury Bedroom Studio 26

In the bedroom, upper windows add the right amount of light. “They’re such a fun feature,” she says.

The tree trunk side tables were a free curbside find. “I snagged them before anyone else did; cured, stained and sealed them; added furniture feet to the bottom so the wood wasn’t sitting directly on my concrete floor; and placed them in my room,” Andersen explains. “Perfect fit.”

Midcentury Home Office Studio 26

The home office features Andersen’s signature orange color on an accent wall. The space is clean and free of clutter — a perfect room to work and create in.

The DIY curtains show off Andersen’s skills in recycling and repurposing. “The windows are such an odd size that I couldn’t find curtains that fit my style,” she says. “I ended up cutting electrical conduit to the size I needed for a curtain rod, creating my own hardware to affix it to the wall and sewing black linen curtains from leftover fabric I had from reupholstering my old couch.”

Woven wall hanging: made by Andersen and sold in her shop

Midcentury Home Office Studio 26

A canvas typography flag hangs over Andersen’s desk. “My friend inspired me to create this. It’s printed on a canvas drop cloth from Home Depot. So cheap and easy to make!” she says.

Before Photo

Midcentury  Studio 26

BEFORE: Andersen removed the floral wallpaper in the kitchen and brightened the space with a fresh coat of white paint.

Midcentury Kitchen Studio 26

AFTER: “When updating the kitchen, we definitely saved money by keeping the original cabinetry, and updating it with a fresh coat of paint and some Ikea hardware,” Andersen says. “Also, coupon codes help a ton. Most of the online purchases were saved to a wish list, and then we scoured Google for extra savings through coupon codes when making the final purchase.”

Midcentury Kitchen Studio 26

The kitchen is one of Andersen’s favorite rooms. “The kitchen is a close runner-up to the living room. I bake constantly as a creative stress reliever. The kitchen setup is perfect with all the counter space and has a great traffic flow with the two entries for when I’m entertaining,” she says.

Bright white walls and countertops offer a nice contrast to the gray Hakatai tile and painted cabinetry.

Midcentury Bathroom Studio 26

Both bathrooms also feature beautifully colored glass tile from Hakatai, along with plenty of light thanks to perfectly placed windows. “Purchasing the same tile, but in three colors, provided savings on purchase price and added a fun cohesion from kitchen to the two bathrooms,” Andersen says.

Pedestal sink: eBay

Midcentury Landscape Studio 26

The floor-to-ceiling windows along the back of the house give the illusion of a glass wall. The backyard is a fabulous space for entertaining and perfect for having Andersen’s family over on the weekends. “The fire pit was a recent DIY undertaking and one of my new favorite features of the home,” she says. “I host a lot of s’mores concoction nights. My old fire pit was great, but was from Home Depot and didn’t allow any tabletop space to put your s’mores near the fire to melt the chocolate.”

Andersen found some ideas online and drew up a sketch of a design with measurements. With the help of friends, she built a mold out of melamine, poured the concrete tabletop and created a base for the fire pit from paver stones that her brother gave her. “I used some leftover paint to match the exterior of my home, and it now looks like it’s always belonged there!” Andersen says.

Papasan chair: Craigslist; blue Acapulco chairs: At Home

Before Photo

Midcentury  Studio 26

BEFORE: The exterior of Andersen’s home and the landscaping also needed an upgrade when she moved in.

Midcentury Exterior Studio 26

AFTER: When it came time to splurge on one thing for her midcentury renovation, Andersen chose painting the exterior. It definitely received a face-lift, going from light tan to this cool blue-gray, with Andersen’s favorite orange accents on the garage and trim.

by Jordana Nicholson

Jordana Nicholson

“A typical day at home includes baking, working or some new DIY for my home. And because I’m a musician, there’s nearly always music playing, usually coordinated with whatever activity I’m doing, with Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra being some favorites,” says Andersen, pictured.

“I just really love the creative drive around the city I live in,” she says of her Tulsa home. “Whether it’s a freelance photographer or designer, a restaurant owner, a floral artist, a food truck owner, a home decor shop … the city environment is encouraging of people to step out and pursue their passion.”

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