Midcentury modern style had its heyday for roughly two and a half decades in the middle of the 20th century, from the mid-1940s to 1970. Its aesthetic has always had a following, but thanks to shows such as Mad Men it has seen a resurgence in popularity and has been introduced to a whole new group of fans. But what are typical design elements in midcentury modern style?
The end of World War II gave birth of midcentury modern movement. Experimental technologies and use of materials like steel and plywood during the war were implemented in the post war housing boom. A generation of modern designers, fleeing Nazi Germany, came to the United States and brought their modern aesthetic with them. Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright was also a big influence and trained notable midcentury modern architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler.
Midcentury modern places an emphasis function. The use of natural materials, pared-down forms, contemporary patterns, and easy flow between indoors and out allow for a blend of chic style and functional comfort.
These are some key elements in Midcentury Modern architecture.
Flat planes: The geometric lines of the house are rather severe. Flat roofs are very common, although modern ranch-style houses sport gable roofs.
Changes in elevation: It is very common to have small steps going up and down between rooms to create split-level spaces. Partial walls, or cabinets of varying heights to are often used to create different depths in midcentury modern spaces.
Large windows: Sliding-glass doors, floor to ceiling windows, or other expansive panes of glass near the roof line allow light to enter rooms from multiple angles.
Sian Winship, president of the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians, explains the rationale behind the design: “In a traditional home, the window height is 4 to 5 feet, and you can’t see out as a child. With these walls of glass, children became engaged and open-minded because the environment stimulated the senses in a different way.”
Living in Southern California, we are able to blur the line between our indoor and outdoor living spaces, and midcentury modern homes really enable us to do so.
In the market for a luxury Midcentury modern home? Please be sure to check out more photos of this gorgeous home in Brentwood, CA.