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Back from the ’50s: Redoing a Ranch Home

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By Kim Palmer

Hansen decided to “bring the dining area out into the living space,” by designing a custom table and built-in bench. To produce it, he turned to woodworker Chad Johnson, a trusted longtime collaborator. With Johnson on board, Hansen felt confident adding detail to his design, including inlays of decorative leopard wood.

The cabinets are “customized Ikea”—stock beech cabinets to which Johnson added curved corner pieces for displaying some of the couple’s colorful Fiestaware and vintage collectibles.

Placement of the microwave—“the much-discussed microwave chamber,” according to Charbonneau—became a hot topic within the extended family. “The uncles and cousins spent hours talking about how to make this shape,” he said. “We moved it around like a jigsaw puzzle,” finally finding a space by borrowing from the bathroom closet behind it.

When it came time to install the millwork, Uncle Daryl came over with his toolbelt. “I knew where every piece went,” he said.

“He’s so precise,” Charbonneau said.

Hansen also added a skylight in the work area to bring light into the kitchen, and designed a modernist metal railing to replace the wall that once separated the living area from the stairs to the lower level.

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