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Mid-Century Modern Architecture
AKA: Modernist architecture, modern architecture
Many factors went into the development and popularity of the style we now call Mid-Century Modern. Mid-Century homes were generally built between 1945-1969, and when a post-war country yearned for simplicity, open air, and a place to raise a family, the Mid-Century Modern design gave them all they desired and more. These homes could be built with more inexpensive materials and thus were affordable for WWII vets, many of whom found themselves entering the laymen’s workforce for the first time. While we often associate Mid-Century Modern with interior design and furniture, the term reflects a major architectural style as well. Here are the key elements for what makes a home Mid-Century Modern.
Features of a Mid-Century Modern Home
- Tall Windows. The main feature of a Mid-Century Modern home are its tall windows. These are usually sliding glass doors that lead directly outside, bringing the outside in with a great view and natural sunlight streaming into the home.
- Simplicity. You don’t over-decorate a Mid-Century Modern home. Landscaping will be simplistic, and you won't find any ornamentation on its exterior. This doesn’t mean your interior is boring, however. Simplicity in a home’s inherent design lends itself to a lot of creativity with artwork and color. Usually, colors and design elements are centered around one area, like the living room, or a piece of furniture.
- Clean Lines. Everything in a Mid-Century home comes down to clean lines and geometric shapes. Roofs tend to be asymmetrical and gabled, or flat.
- Open Floor Plans. Wide open floor plans are another staple of this style. When you’re able to oversee the family playing while you prepare dinner, and can arrange the dining area in a way that makes sense for you, a whole new concept of flexible lifestyle and organic living opens up.
Famous Mid-Century Modern Architects
Joseph Eichler. Joseph Eichler was a developer who saw the value in bringing Mid-Century Modern homes to a working class people, essentially forming the suburban areas around city. You can’t drive two blocks in Southern California without coming across an Eichler or Eichler-inspired design. In the mid 1940s, Eichler rented a Frank Lloyd Wright creation, the Bazett House, and found its simplicity and connection to nature just what was needed for the growing populations of areas outside of cities. In more contemporary times, the spaciousness of these homes mean they can also fit more into a luxury lifestyle.
William Francis Cody. William Francis Cody also took hold of the Mid-Century style in the Palm Springs area, building not just homes but community houses, churches, schools, hotels: anything that anyone would allow him to bring to life. Besides his own residence, he also designed the Del Marcos Hotel, El Dorado Country Club, Palo Alto Country Club and a number of influential residences.
Fun Facts about the Mid-Century Modern Style
- Richard Neutra was a Mid-Century Modern architect known for taking starkness and line work to their extremes, and the typeface Neutrafont was designed in his honor.
- It wasn’t until 1983 that the term Mid-Century Modern was coined, and Cara Greenberg did it in her book Mid Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.
Mid-Century Modern Homes for Sale
Is this your home style? Get lost in all Mid-Century Modern homes for sale or take a look at Nook's Featured Mid-Century Modern Listings below.