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Mid-Century's Greatest Hits

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We've featured homes from virtually every continent, in locations as far ranging as busting metropolises to serene suburbs to remote islands, with architectural programs equally as diverse. However, the one style most emblematic of Dwell as a whole seems to be that of the mid-century (the name check in this video at about 30 seconds in is one example). In the following slideshow, view an assortment homes that channel the ethos of the era's architecture, interiors, or progressive design spirit. You'll spy what might be the first modern conversation pit and see a structure whose dramatic seaside locale competes with its sleek high-modern stylings.

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  In "Mutual Fulfilment" (September 2004), we trekked to the Los Angeles home of architect and activist Cory Buckner. The house she shares with her husband, Nick Roberts, was designed by A. Quincy Jones. Roberts, an architecture professor at Woodbury University, comments, “The building section is a metaphor for America’s boundless self-confidence after World War II: The building literally takes flight across the canyon.” Click here to read the full story and here to see a slideshow of images.  Photo by: Darcy Hemley
    In "Mutual Fulfilment" (September 2004), we trekked to the Los Angeles home of architect and activist Cory Buckner. The house she shares with her husband, Nick Roberts, was designed by A. Quincy Jones. Roberts, an architecture professor at Woodbury University, comments, “The building section is a metaphor for America’s boundless self-confidence after World War II: The building literally takes flight across the canyon.” Click here to read the full story and here to see a slideshow of images.

    Photo by: Darcy Hemley

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  The living room of the Goddard-Mandolene residence features vintage furnishings by Harry Bertoia, Paul McCobb, and others, and overlooks its heavily wooded site, which adjoins a protected watershed. Goddard and Mandolene replaced the original tile floor with a glossy coat of resin and restored the original ceiling. Designed by architect Arthur Witthoefft in 1957, the home eventually fell into disrepair. See the striking before and after here.  Photo by: Jason Schmidt
    The living room of the Goddard-Mandolene residence features vintage furnishings by Harry Bertoia, Paul McCobb, and others, and overlooks its heavily wooded site, which adjoins a protected watershed. Goddard and Mandolene replaced the original tile floor with a glossy coat of resin and restored the original ceiling. Designed by architect Arthur Witthoefft in 1957, the home eventually fell into disrepair. See the striking before and after here.

    Photo by: Jason Schmidt

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  The Opdahl House, designed by Edward Killingsworth for Richard and Joyce Opdahl, is located on the island of Naples, in Long Beach, California, and the design responds to the constraints imposed by the compact site. Unlike the neighbors, whose homes unflinchingly abut their property lines, Killingsworth set the Opdahl House 42 feet back from the street, dedicating half of the lot to a dramatic entryway that includes a carport, garden, and reflecting pool. The effect is one of entering a private sanctuary. Read the full story here.  Photo by: Catherine Ledner
    The Opdahl House, designed by Edward Killingsworth for Richard and Joyce Opdahl, is located on the island of Naples, in Long Beach, California, and the design responds to the constraints imposed by the compact site. Unlike the neighbors, whose homes unflinchingly abut their property lines, Killingsworth set the Opdahl House 42 feet back from the street, dedicating half of the lot to a dramatic entryway that includes a carport, garden, and reflecting pool. The effect is one of entering a private sanctuary. Read the full story here.

    Photo by: Catherine Ledner

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  Amidst the vintage furnishings—including pieces by Hans Olsen, Paul McCobb, and Hans Wegner—resident Andreas Stevens works an array of musical gear.
    Amidst the vintage furnishings—including pieces by Hans Olsen, Paul McCobb, and Hans Wegner—resident Andreas Stevens works an array of musical gear.
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  Mies van der Rohe's design for Lafayette Park, Detroit, was the first urban renewal project in the United States and one of the most successful modernist developments.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    Mies van der Rohe's design for Lafayette Park, Detroit, was the first urban renewal project in the United States and one of the most successful modernist developments.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  Lafayette Park resident Keira Alexander sits in her renovated kitchen. The wall tile is by Vitra. See the other rooms in her townhouse here.  Photo by: Raimund Koch
    Lafayette Park resident Keira Alexander sits in her renovated kitchen. The wall tile is by Vitra. See the other rooms in her townhouse here.

    Photo by: Raimund Koch

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  Marcel Breuer's 1959 Hooper House II was featured in Dwell's December/January 2009 issue. It’s a textbook example of Breuer’s classic “bi-nuclear” house, a division of the home into spaces for adults and children. One of Breuer's bi-nuclear houses was featured in the Museum of Modern Art's House in Garden exhibition series, which introduced modern living to the American audience. Click here to read about that house's preservation.
    Marcel Breuer's 1959 Hooper House II was featured in Dwell's December/January 2009 issue. It’s a textbook example of Breuer’s classic “bi-nuclear” house, a division of the home into spaces for adults and children. One of Breuer's bi-nuclear houses was featured in the Museum of Modern Art's House in Garden exhibition series, which introduced modern living to the American audience. Click here to read about that house's preservation.
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  The playroom, lit by skylights, is now a reading and television space for resident Richard North, whose children are now adults.  Photo by: Zubin Shroff
    The playroom, lit by skylights, is now a reading and television space for resident Richard North, whose children are now adults.

    Photo by: Zubin Shroff

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  Los Angeles architect Ray Kappe built his house in the 1960s, but the place is still fresh today. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly Kappe says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contemporary." For the full story, click here.  Photo by: João Canziani
    Los Angeles architect Ray Kappe built his house in the 1960s, but the place is still fresh today. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly Kappe says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contemporary." For the full story, click here.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  Ray Kappe relaxes in the central living space, which offers views onto other shared family zones. Behind him is a view down into his office. Half a level up, Shelly Kappe stands at the entrance to the upper family room. We share 12 images of the interiors in this slideshow.  Photo by: João Canziani
    Ray Kappe relaxes in the central living space, which offers views onto other shared family zones. Behind him is a view down into his office. Half a level up, Shelly Kappe stands at the entrance to the upper family room. We share 12 images of the interiors in this slideshow.

    Photo by: João Canziani

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  A bank of translucent glass windows diffuses light evenly in the Farnham-Rice residence, originally featured in "Mid-Century Mashup (June 2007). The storied Victorian was originally built in 1908 and underwent a 1947 renovation by Henry Hill. In 2005, Gretchen Rice and Kevin Farnham moved in and brought with them their collection of vintage design. Eames chairs for Herman Miller are accompanied by Italian manufacturer U-vola’s unique speakers from Elite Audio Systems.  Photo by: Misha Gravenor
    A bank of translucent glass windows diffuses light evenly in the Farnham-Rice residence, originally featured in "Mid-Century Mashup (June 2007). The storied Victorian was originally built in 1908 and underwent a 1947 renovation by Henry Hill. In 2005, Gretchen Rice and Kevin Farnham moved in and brought with them their collection of vintage design. Eames chairs for Herman Miller are accompanied by Italian manufacturer U-vola’s unique speakers from Elite Audio Systems.

    Photo by: Misha Gravenor

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  Walter Gropius wanted the Hagerty House, his first commission in the United States, to be as close to the sea as possible. He sited the structure a precarious 20 feet from the shore and let the setting dictate the design. Read the full story here.
    Walter Gropius wanted the Hagerty House, his first commission in the United States, to be as close to the sea as possible. He sited the structure a precarious 20 feet from the shore and let the setting dictate the design. Read the full story here.
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  Early on, the house's simplicity had great appeal to Jan Sasseen, the current owner. From walls to rugs to furniture, "pretty much everything is white," she says. "When I was decorating, I picked the most basic things I could find. Nothing had details or frills."  Photo by: Dean Kaufman
    Early on, the house's simplicity had great appeal to Jan Sasseen, the current owner. From walls to rugs to furniture, "pretty much everything is white," she says. "When I was decorating, I picked the most basic things I could find. Nothing had details or frills."

    Photo by: Dean Kaufman

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  A true fox of 20th-century architecture, the J. Irwin Miller house and gardens opened to the public for the first time in May 2011. Could this be the first modern conversation pit? It's certainly the most famous. One can only imagine the soiree's held at the residence. Photographer and writer Leslie Williamson takes us on a visual tour of the swanky house here.  Photo by: Leslie Williamson
    A true fox of 20th-century architecture, the J. Irwin Miller house and gardens opened to the public for the first time in May 2011. Could this be the first modern conversation pit? It's certainly the most famous. One can only imagine the soiree's held at the residence. Photographer and writer Leslie Williamson takes us on a visual tour of the swanky house here.

    Photo by: Leslie Williamson

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  Eero Saarinen designed the structure, Alexander Girard designed the interiors, and Dan Kiley designed the landscape. Click here for on the Miller house.  Photo by: Leslie Williamson
    Eero Saarinen designed the structure, Alexander Girard designed the interiors, and Dan Kiley designed the landscape. Click here for on the Miller house.

    Photo by: Leslie Williamson

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  Veteran contributor Marc Kristal covered the Bassam-Fellows residence in "Pursuing Perfection" (March 2005). "We didn't realize the exterior was straight-grain redwood," says Craig Bassam of the house he shares with Scott Fellows. "It was covered in layers of gray paint." Bassam replaced the terrace's concrete pavers with bluestone and removed a concrete-block wall.  Photo by: Mark Seelen
    Veteran contributor Marc Kristal covered the Bassam-Fellows residence in "Pursuing Perfection" (March 2005). "We didn't realize the exterior was straight-grain redwood," says Craig Bassam of the house he shares with Scott Fellows. "It was covered in layers of gray paint." Bassam replaced the terrace's concrete pavers with bluestone and removed a concrete-block wall.

    Photo by: Mark Seelen

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  Architect Charles Goodman stands in his Washington, D.C. office during the 1950s. He designed the modernist housing development Hollin Hills in Alexandria, Virginia. In "Community of Vision" (October/November 2005) we spoke with the residents of a 1970s home in the architecturally progressive enclave.Is there a mid-century home from the Dwell archive that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!  Photo by: Eric Laignel
    Architect Charles Goodman stands in his Washington, D.C. office during the 1950s. He designed the modernist housing development Hollin Hills in Alexandria, Virginia. In "Community of Vision" (October/November 2005) we spoke with the residents of a 1970s home in the architecturally progressive enclave.Is there a mid-century home from the Dwell archive that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below!

    Photo by: Eric Laignel

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