20 Great Midcentury Modern Interiors

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By Ethan Lance / Published by Ethan Lance
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The following rooms provide a modern take on what it is to live today in a midcentury modern home. Scroll to the bottom for links to articles that will transport you to what midcentury modern meant in the 1950s and 60s.
A vintage Molded Plywood Lounge Chair (LCW) by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller sits in front of built-in shelving in untreated hemlock.

A vintage Molded Plywood Lounge Chair (LCW) by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller sits in front of built-in shelving in untreated hemlock.

The living room sports a panoply of wood: Douglas fir for the ceiling, hemlock for the walls, and stained oak for the floor. The sofa is the Neo model by Bensen and the rug is vintage.

The living room sports a panoply of wood: Douglas fir for the ceiling, hemlock for the walls, and stained oak for the floor. The sofa is the Neo model by Bensen and the rug is vintage.

A walnut-topped table and Womb chair, both by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, offer a cozy spot for reading.

A walnut-topped table and Womb chair, both by Eero Saarinen for Knoll, offer a cozy spot for reading.

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A tub zone lined in redwood connects to the master bedroom, which is furnished with a vintage Sergio Rodrigues lounge chair and Voyage Immobile seats from Roche Bobois.

A tub zone lined in redwood connects to the master bedroom, which is furnished with a vintage Sergio Rodrigues lounge chair and Voyage Immobile seats from Roche Bobois.

A white brick wall provides visual and material contrast to warm wood elements throughout the home.

A white brick wall provides visual and material contrast to warm wood elements throughout the home.

Marcel Breuer Hooper House II Den

Marcel Breuer Hooper House II Den

Lambert pours wine in the kitchen, which is defined by a low concrete-block wall and serves as the home’s central core. The seating-area chairs are from Herman Miller.

Lambert pours wine in the kitchen, which is defined by a low concrete-block wall and serves as the home’s central core. The seating-area chairs are from Herman Miller.

Speaking to his original design, architect Saul Zaik says, "We were really just building boxes with a bunch of windows but experimenting with how you integrated indoor and outdoor spaces." The house has seven different openings to the exterior, allowing different courtyard or patio settings for a range of outdoor activities, including seating for a gathering on the street-facing side. The Milfords hired Lilyvilla Gardens for the landscaping around the house, including variegated bluestone steps with thyme joints.

Speaking to his original design, architect Saul Zaik says, "We were really just building boxes with a bunch of windows but experimenting with how you integrated indoor and outdoor spaces." The house has seven different openings to the exterior, allowing different courtyard or patio settings for a range of outdoor activities, including seating for a gathering on the street-facing side. The Milfords hired Lilyvilla Gardens for the landscaping around the house, including variegated bluestone steps with thyme joints.

Delighted with the result, they requested additional structures, including a pool house with a dining area that opens to the outdoors. Rising from the edge of the pool deck, a planted overhang shelters a gym and sauna below.

Delighted with the result, they requested additional structures, including a pool house with a dining area that opens to the outdoors. Rising from the edge of the pool deck, a planted overhang shelters a gym and sauna below.

The light fixtures, a string of dangling lights seen above the dining table, emulate what SHED Architects principal Thomas Schaer calls Zema’s "builderly" style: straightforward and unpretentious. The wooden screens, seen top right, are all-new to the house but follow Zema’s Japanese-inspired style.

The light fixtures, a string of dangling lights seen above the dining table, emulate what SHED Architects principal Thomas Schaer calls Zema’s "builderly" style: straightforward and unpretentious. The wooden screens, seen top right, are all-new to the house but follow Zema’s Japanese-inspired style.

Ipe paneling and concrete floors continue into the living area, where a photograph by Scott McFarland hangs above the fireplace. Surrounding the dining table, by Riva 1920, are walnut chairs the couple found locally.

Ipe paneling and concrete floors continue into the living area, where a photograph by Scott McFarland hangs above the fireplace. Surrounding the dining table, by Riva 1920, are walnut chairs the couple found locally.

"We’re trying to pretend this is our little ray of sunshine in the middle of Portland," says Jennifer, with Mattias and Moa (right), of the couple’s Eichleresque abode. The sofa is by Florence Knoll for Knoll.

"We’re trying to pretend this is our little ray of sunshine in the middle of Portland," says Jennifer, with Mattias and Moa (right), of the couple’s Eichleresque abode. The sofa is by Florence Knoll for Knoll.

Elise Loehnen and Rob Fissmer bought their house, which dates to 1950, in 2012, furnishing the living room with a Jasper sofa by Room & Board, Laccio tables by Marcel Breuer, and a wool sisal rug from Madison Flooring and Design.

Elise Loehnen and Rob Fissmer bought their house, which dates to 1950, in 2012, furnishing the living room with a Jasper sofa by Room & Board, Laccio tables by Marcel Breuer, and a wool sisal rug from Madison Flooring and Design.

Inside, a Herman Miller bench creates a small sitting area. A rich collection of artwork, amassed over the years by the Saleks' mother, Mahshad, is visible at every turn. The flooring throughout is a warm walnut.

Inside, a Herman Miller bench creates a small sitting area. A rich collection of artwork, amassed over the years by the Saleks' mother, Mahshad, is visible at every turn. The flooring throughout is a warm walnut.

The spacious living room, filled with vintage furnishings by Harry Bertoia, Paul McCobb, overlooks the heavily wooded site, which adjoins a protected watershed. Photo by: Jason Schmidt

The spacious living room, filled with vintage furnishings by Harry Bertoia, Paul McCobb, overlooks the heavily wooded site, which adjoins a protected watershed. Photo by: Jason Schmidt

The first commissioned work by

The first commissioned work by

Buttrick pays homage to the home’s midcentury bones with an Eames "Sofa Compact." When asked to describe the interior aesthetic, the architect explained that it very much embodies most Eamesian principles of design.

Buttrick pays homage to the home’s midcentury bones with an Eames "Sofa Compact." When asked to describe the interior aesthetic, the architect explained that it very much embodies most Eamesian principles of design.

Dieter Rams’s modular 620 Chair Programme, from the 1960s, takes center stage in the Alford-Young family’s living room. The set is accompanied by Artemide’s classic Tolomeo floor lamp and a Portofino Bergère chair that was designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti. The rolling glass doors running the length of the room are from Fleetwood.

Dieter Rams’s modular 620 Chair Programme, from the 1960s, takes center stage in the Alford-Young family’s living room. The set is accompanied by Artemide’s classic Tolomeo floor lamp and a Portofino Bergère chair that was designed by Rodolfo Dordoni for Minotti. The rolling glass doors running the length of the room are from Fleetwood.

The living room features two side chairs and an end table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar and a bronze screen designed by Harold Balazs.

The living room features two side chairs and an end table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar and a bronze screen designed by Harold Balazs.

Knoll Womb Chair
Knoll Womb Chair
Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair was the answer to Florence Knoll’s request for a chair she “could curl up in, like a basket of pillows.” The midcentury classic provides ample support for a wide range of sitting positions, providing the comfort and security that gives the chair its name. Wanting to construct the chair from a single piece of material, Saarinen took technical cues from the shipbuilding industry. The upholstered fiberglass shell is perched on a polished chrome steel frame, creating a sculptural form that draws the eye but blends into many interior designs. The Womb Chair was released in 1948 and quickly grew in stature as it was featured in a Coca-Cola ad, a New Yorker cartoon, and a Saturday Evening Post cover. Photo: Nic Lehoux 
-Written by Jenny Xie | Dwell
Ball Clock by Vitra
Ball Clock by Vitra
The George Nelson Ball Clock, from Vitra, is an authentic re-edition of a classic mid-century modern design from 1947. The Ball Clock is produced from the original design document from the Nelson archive with the blessings of the George Nelson estate. This functional and geometric work of art represents the work of one of America's most original designers.
-Written by Lumens | Lumens
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Modern by Dwell Magazine Whale Coaster Figural in Natural
Modern by Dwell Magazine Whale Coaster Figural in Natural
Setting out to create something decorative is "not the typical starting point for a modernist," says Chris Deam the animal sculptures in the Modern by Dwell Magazine collection. Taking inspiration from the animal figures created by midcentury furniture designers, however, Deam allowed function to dictate form. The wooden whale doubles as a coaster holder in a playful reference to the creature's oceanic home, and serves as a unique tabletop accent. Four coasters and a coaster stand are included. Photo: Courtesy of Target
-Written by Jenny Xie | Dwell
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