Setting out to purchase their first home, Janey Ellis—the truly passionate vintage enthusiast behind Atomic Redhead—and her husband Patrick Arlt, a web developer, were no strangers to Midcentury Modern living. Their previous rentals included a 1960’s apartment with an open floor plan, as well as a 1963 unit with wall-to-wall window features. Eventually wanting a house of their own, they began their Southern California house hunting adventure two years ago.

“The outside of the house is not really what I wanted if I’m perfectly honest,” admits Janey. “But the inside was just so perfect… and we can make changes to the outside.” The couple has plans to replace the railing and exterior lights in the future. The possibility of vertical louvres from the roof down to the planting area would create more privacy for the guest bath and add a bit of midcentury flare.


A major selling point was the spacious built-in vanity sitting across from a closet area, creating a dressing room. Visit Atomic Redhead for a full tour!

Keeping an Open Mind

“I originally wanted a crazy Midcentury Modern home. I love the butterfly roofline especially, it’s my favorite,” Janey explains. “We saw a lot of true Midcentury Modern [homes] and even saw a few Eichlers. And what’s funny is that I really enjoyed them from the outside, but once I got inside them, I didn’t enjoy them as much,” she admits. Looking for the more functional and familiar layout of Janey’s childhood homes, the couple shifted their focus towards 1950’s style ranches.

The Necessities

“I wanted to have two bathrooms and we needed to have three bedrooms…original fixtures were a major bonus,” says Janey. With closet space a top priority, Patrick measured their current wardrobe area to use as a comparison. “Then we started to look at houses and measure closet rods before looking at anything more seriously,” she continues.

For Janey, an indoor laundry area was a requirement. “I’m not going to carry my vintage outside when it doesn’t have to be,” explains Janey. And if you haven’t seen her blog yet, trust me when I tell you that her vintage clothing collection is an impressive one. SPOILER ALERT: their new house has a dedicated indoor laundry room!

Finding Compromise

With hopes of a full-on Midcentury Modern home nestled amongst other vintage devotees, the couple soon found themselves expanding the search. Janey explains “I think what’s rough, especially for younger people wanting to buy a Midcentury Modern home, is that the houses that [they] can afford are not always going to be in ideal neighborhoods.” Instead, the focus shifted to “Who lives by this house and do they also take pride in their home,” describes Janey. She adds the caveat, “Just be prepared that the rest of the neighborhood may not be crazy midcentury-phile.”

New Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) complements the original blue and cream tile detailing around the corner tub and sink area. While there is no shower in the master bathroom, Janey and Patrick may add one in the future.

Stay tuned for the rest of Janey and Patrick’s house hunting journey!

For more about Janey’s home, fashion, travel, and overall vintage goodness, head to Atomic Redhead!