Photography by Lauren Allen

For Katie and Billy Withrow, this year’s White Rock Home Tour has been a long time coming. The couple purchased their Highland Meadows home nearly 10 years ago shortly after getting married, and have slowly been collecting pieces and finishing renovations ever since.

“If you’ve got a ton of money, you can buy a house and you can do all the things we’ve done in a year,” Katie says. “When you don’t, you have to save up to do the next project and the next project. We’ve gathered all this stuff organically over nine years.”

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Just blocks away from the L Streets, their home on Rolling Rock Lane is a ‘50s throwback chalk-full of mid-mod charm — plus some modern luxuries.

Like early midcentury modern homes, the home’s exterior is just as much a part of the home as the living room. The Withrows kept original windows present along the east-facing walls, which act as a doggy door while Billy is working in his office to let out their two pups: Maybe and Annie.

“Living in [the house] made a huge difference on the decisions that we make,” Billy says. “If I hope to live here until we retire, we know that everything in here is done rock solid because we’ve overseen every step of it.”

Because the home is nearly a decade in the making, Billy says, each item was carefully chosen and “there’s nothing in this house that doesn’t have a story.”

The home’s exterior brick work is inspired by an early trip to Palm Springs. Vintage record paraphernalia throughout the house demonstrates Billy’s love for music. An art piece that serves as a focal point of the dining room was a wedding gift, perfect for the dining room before the house was even purchased. And Katie has orchestrated each piece to blend together seamlessly.

The entire house was the couple’s doing, with another designer coming in as a sort of mediator for the kitchen and the exterior.

They weren’t without family help. The Withrow’s niece’s ex-husband, who is a woodworker, made their front door. The mid-mod Broyhill Brasilia furniture in the guest bedroom was found hidden at Billy’s aunt’s home when she was getting ready to move out of her Illinois home. The guest bedroom’s signature lamp was found in a garage sale in southern Illinois by Katie’s brother-in-law. The outdoor oven was driven from St. Louis by Billy’s parents.

“Everything is a family affair,” they joke.

Speaking of the kitchen, the revived ‘50s style with modern organization and appliances — aside from a NuTone In-Built Blender Mixer that the Withrows   reinstalled — uses creative and functional design to maximize the space. Pops of color are found throughout, with paraphernalia to ground guests into the ‘50s feel.

“We’re not one of those who’re like, ‘Oh, it’s a midcentury house, so everything we have in here is going to be midcentury,’” Katie says. “We really tried to bring in modern with it but also try to keep the character.”

While interior design is not new to Katie, designing the home is a change of pace. As a corporate designer, she’s worked with health care groups, FedEx and Zales. While she knew the basics of design from college and her knowledge of quality fabrics from her two decades of corporate design work, the Rolling Rock home’s renovations and design come from the couple’s personal interest and style and years of attending the White Rock Home Tour themselves.

“We keep this house very lived in,” Billy says. “We wanted to be very personal, but also have the neat stuff too.”

The house’s renovation culminated in the master bathroom, which features pocket doors, a sunken tub and circular shapes defining the midcentury lines.

The Withrows are not afraid to stray from the ‘50s vibes to bring their personalities in. The office is a functional space full of vinyls, diplomas and pop art stuff.

“We don’t want to look like we take ourselves too seriously,” Billy says. “We don’t want this to be a museum. We don’t want this to be like we are tied to the midcentury … we want this to be a house where people come over and go ‘Hey, this is fun’and also reflects our personality because I think we’re fun too.”