Vintage Revivals: Make it Modern

The best things in life have a way of sneaking up on us. 
historical makeover of library living room
Vintage Revivals founder, Mandi Gubler was designing a new house for her family of five when she stumbled across the nearly 100-year-old commercial building that would, surprisingly, become their home. “When [my husband] Court walked into the building, he said ‘No way.’” But the couple began to uncover beauty and opportunity in unexpected details: exposed brick, dramatic rafters and large windows.

The Santa Clara Mercantile Co. – lovingly referred to as “the Merc” – is one of the most historically significant buildings in Gubler’s hometown of Santa Clara, Utah. Built in 1928, the adobe structure has functioned as a supply and gas station, warehouse, grocery store and post office. Now, the fearless DIYer is making it a perfect fit for her family of five.
interior before renovation
With the skylights, exposed brick and dramatic rafters, the Merc truly has good bones.
Immediately, Gubler fell in love with the high ceilings and giant shop windows – key components in making her vision come to life. Throughout the space, she added Andersen A-Series windows with colonial grilles. The classic design of these windows looks right at home in the 1920s building, while a sleek black finish gives them just the modern upgrade the Gublers were looking for. “The great thing about Andersen is that everything is beautiful and functional. You don’t have to choose between the two,” she said. The DIYer loves how the natural light floods in, giving the Merc an inviting and airy feel.
full divided light windows
The Gublers chose Full Divided Light (FDL) windows to get a historically accurate look and better energy efficiency.
One challenge was bringing light further into the new floor plan. As Gubler and her team began establishing rooms throughout the space, they were losing light in the center. They found a skylight in one of the back rooms but were hesitant to put too many holes in the roof. Instead, Gubler found a smart solution in transom windows. These windows rest on the horizontal beam above her doorframes, opening up what would typically just be an interior wall. Even sweeter, the design decision is a replication of the original front doors, a beautiful homage to the Merc’s architectural history.
virtual reality bathroom shot
Mandi's plants are thriving in the light of her A-Series windows.
But privacy can be tricky with large-scale commercial windows. Gubler built an open bookcase, filled with plants, that sits in front of a floor-to-ceiling kitchen window. It creatively obstructs views without blocking the light, and the burst of greenery evokes the feeling of being outside. She designed the rest of the kitchen with details reminiscent of the era, like the large-scale diamond pattern she sketched for the 1-inch hex tile floors. “It’s in line with the period, but also feels really special and impactful,” she said. The kitchen also features tall, built-in cabinets painted a deep green – inspired by early 1900s storage – with steel pulls for a contemporary mix.

Throughout the entire project, Gubler has been careful to not “over-renovate” while introducing modern flair to the historic building. Warm and cozy patterned rugs balance out the sleek and polished concrete flooring. A bleached walnut kitchen island lightens up moody cabinetry. Natural wood floors in the bedroom and brass fixtures warm up white walls. She also uncovered the original brick exterior and revitalized the stucco to give the Merc modern curb appeal. Then she added a faux garage door made from reclaimed cedar, salvaged from a barn built at the same time as the original Merc. Each decision showcases the Gublers’ attention to historic detail, while embracing a modern aesthetic that fits their lifestyle.

As progress continues, the family loves living in their reimagined space. “To think that, for 100 years, people have gazed out of this space, and now we get to be a part of that; it actually makes me a little emotional.”

Featured product

Mandi Gubler’s living room features Andersen® A-Series casement windows.

Color: Black exterior and interior
Grilles: Full divided lights, colonial grille pattern

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A-Series casement window

See the progress:

interior view of gutted project


historical living room after shot


black framed windows on vintage brick


woman watering plant


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