No one can quite agree when midcentury modern architecture and furniture became popular. Historians classify it anywhere from 1933 to 1965, while others see the period as being postwar, starting in the late 1940’s.
Midcentury modern houses were a new cleaner aesthetic, without frills and frippery. The houses have open floor plans, lots of glass sliding doors to the outside, and were flat planes, many with flat roofs. There was an idea of nesting houses in nature with big surrounding decks and all that glass.
Anna Marie Erwert in the Seattle PI writes about a house that was built in 1959 by Architect Norman Overland for his own family. That house has only been lived in by that family, and it is now up for sale. The very best part is that it is relatively untouched in the interior, and features the same built in closets, kitchen counters, and finishes that the house originally was built with. It is a gem.
You can take a look at the listing for 2425 N.W. Blue Ridge Drive in Seattle here. It’s available at 1.3 million (US) and has 2,200 square feet, a wrap around deck, four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
As Ms. Erwert writes, the features are all still there with “mid century hallmarks: beamed ceilings; a large stone double-sided fireplace anchoring the wood paneled living room; and dining room on other side.”
There is of course a proper sixty year old “recreation room” in the basement, with a bar area. The “retro magic” kitchen still sports the original counter top, in an indescribable acquamarine colour that screams the period. Kitchens were no longer closed off rooms, but “floated” with passageways in and out of them to other areas of the house. They also shrank in size, as women were no longer expected to stay in them cooking all the time, but could be out during the day with friends, or participating in activities like bowling.
The YouTube video below walks through a mid century modern house and points out the different aspects in the design that were seen as novel and fresh at the time. What do you see in the design features and furniture that feel as contemporary today as sixty years ago?