Midcentury'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.

Modern home with Small Patio, Porch, Deck, Back Yard, Exterior, and House Building Type. Buckner and Roberts both expressed admiration for Jones’s thoughtful details—including the sloping glass, angled columns, and Wrightian light shelf. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

Modern home with Living Room, Sofa, Chair, Floor Lighting, and Coffee Tables. The living room, with vintage furnishings by Harry Bertoia, Paul McCobb, and others, overlooks the 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. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

Modern home with Outdoor, Front Yard, Stone Patio, Porch, Deck, and Pavers Patio, Porch, Deck. 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. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

DW0807_GREY_04 Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

Amidst the vintage furnishings—including pieces by Hans Olsen, Paul McCobb, and Hans Wegner—resident Andreas Stevens works an array of musical gear.

Lafayette Park's two-story townhouses are configured in a U-shaped formation. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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.

Because the original kitchen had been removed, Alexandra made the decision to widen the gallery-style room by ten inches. Floor-to-ceiling glass makes for ample natural light in the eating area, while the Vitra wall tiles provide a contemporary touch. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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

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. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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.

The playroom, lit by skylights, is now a reading and television space for North, whose children are now adults. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

The playroom, lit by skylights, is now a reading and television space for resident Richard North, whose children are now adults.

Shelly walks along the perimeter of the house, near the central living area. The design of the house, with its many rooms, nooks, and open family spaces, "was so ahead of its time," Shelly says, "that, to young people coming here, it still feels contemporary." Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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.

Modern home with Living Room. 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. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

Modern home with Living Room, Coffee Tables, Sofa, Chair, Porcelain Tile Floor, Floor Lighting, and Wood Burning Fireplace. The bank of translucent glass windows diffuses light evenly in the living room and contributes to the sensation that you have left the world behind. Eames chairs for Herman Miller are accompanied by Italian manufacturer U-vola’s unique speakers from Elite Audio Systems. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

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. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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.

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  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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."

Modern home with Living Room, Recessed Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Ceiling Lighting, and Sectional. The custom-made sofa in the open-plan living area, with its brass back detail, was originally going to be an Eames Compact couch. But when its exposed back was deemed visually objectionable, Girard modified the piece to suit the room. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

The front entrance of the Miller House is flanked by a series of glass screens, designed by either Dan Kiley or Girard. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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

Modern home with Exterior, House Building Type, Mid-Century Building Type, Flat RoofLine, Wood Siding Material, and Glass Siding Material. "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  of Midcentury's Greatest HitsView Photos

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.

Charles Goodman in his Washington, D.C. office during the 1950s. Photo  of Midcentury's Greatest Hits modern homeView Photos

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!