This native Ocala couple used their love of mid-century modern style to create a cozy and stylish home for their growing family.
Ocala natives Kacey and James Gray decided early in their marriage that they wanted to find a specific type of home in the historic district that they could customize to suit their taste.
From the moment you first approach their home in Southeast Ocala, your attention is drawn to the gracefully gnarled oak trees in the front of the house and the commanding granddaddy oak shading the backyard.
“We love the clean minimalism of mid-century modern architecture and design and were specifically looking for a 1950’s ranch-style house that would fit well with this vibe. It’s a timeless style that still feels fresh,” offers Kacey. “We immediately fell in love with the charm of the house, but the beautiful oak trees that are signature to the neighborhood—especially the one anchoring the pool area—really sealed the deal.”
After they purchased their home in August of 2020, the young couple, who have a 3-year-old daughter and are expecting a second daughter this month, completed the majority of the renovations before they moved in.
“We made quite a few updates to the inside of the home, including new flooring throughout, updates to the kitchen, adding large picture windows to bring in more natural light, custom closets and a gut renovation of all three bathrooms,” Kacey explains. “We also fully renovated the pool area and added a circular driveway out front. The master bathroom remodel was probably the biggest project. We knocked down the walls to open up the space and incorporated design elements like terrazzo and handmade cement tiles, a custom vanity and modern artwork and fixtures to make it our own. We did keep the original glass block windows that are true to the era.”
Once the structural elements were in place, Kacey and James began to add decorative elements, including furniture with mid-century clean lines, elegant fabrics and bold colors.
“We wanted to create a bright, clean, minimalist design that played well with the mid-century vibe of the home’s architecture and leaned into the indoor/outdoor feel created by the large windows and natural lighting,” Kacey shares. “We wanted a ‘modern bohemian’ style that still felt warm, which was achieved by incorporating pops of color, layered textures and hand-crafted elements. We decorated with a combination of vintage pieces and new pieces, incorporating lots of plants and eclectic design elements to reflect our personal style.”
James says the pool area is one of their favorite areas of the home.
“It’s peaceful and private and a great area for entertaining,” he notes. “We love how the exterior of the home wraps around the pool for a cool mid-century feel. We transformed the space by resurfacing the pool, adding geometric tiles, redoing the pool deck with pavers, incorporating modern furniture and decor, and installing landscape lighting to brighten the space and highlight the oak tree that overlooks the pool.”
The two are quick to offer praise to their realtor, Melissa Townsend, and said the remodel went more smoothly than anticipated, “which we attribute to the fabulous contractors we worked with,” says Kacey. “We have a never-ending project list but are happy with the amount of progress we’ve been able to make in the first year.”
Kacey, Signature Brands, Marketing Director (Brand Management) and James, with Properties of the Villages, Real Estate, could have bought or built a home anywhere in the area but were determined to stay close to their roots.
“We’re both Ocala natives and enjoyed growing up here,” shares James. “We love the character of the downtown area. I’ve spent my whole life here, so it’s very nostalgic taking our daughter places like Silver Springs that I went to as a kid. It’s been really cool to see the city transform over the years while keeping its small-town charm.”