Of course, it’s not just home décor; people are mad for mid-century architecture too. Nearly 70 years after the style first became popular, mid-century architecture has especially become a favorite among young successful urbanites, techies and creatives—much to the chagrin of their parents who now see it as passé. It makes sense the experimental style would resonate with the younger generations of homebuyers. In its heyday—Don Draper’s era—the design movement represented an increasingly progressive culture opening to new ways of living. The Case Study Houses Program, which began in 1948 and continued until 1966, is one of the most significant examples of this sense of experimentation. Sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, the program commissioned major architects of the day to design homes that were intended to be design models for building inexpensive, efficient homes during the housing boom after World War II. Luckily for today’s mid-century architecture lovers, California was (and is) a mecca for design experimentation, offering plenty of homes to hang their hats—or C. Jere sculptures.
Draw: “Mid-century modern’s emphasis on pared-down forms, contemporary patterns, natural materials and a seamless flow between indoors and out create a medley of functional comfort and chic style,” according to Houzz.com. Another reason why mid-century homes are still relevant today? “They are very livable, flexible and less fussy,” explains John Bertram, a well-known L.A.-based architect who restores Richard Neutra’s mid-century homes.
Architects: There is no singular architect who defined the style, but some of the most commonly referenced names in California include Richard Neutra, A. Quincy Jones, John Lautner, R.M. Schindler, Donald Wexler, Albert Frey, Craig Ellwood and Walter Ratcliff. Joseph Eichler and the Steng Brothers, while builders and not necessarily architects, were also instrumental in bringing the style to California suburbs.
Elements to Look for: Minimal decoration, low and oversized flat roofs, butterfly roofs, organic shapes, large glass windows or large exterior glass walls, open-beamed ceilings, wide open floorplans and simple clean lines.
Neighborhoods: Currently, there are approximately 90 California properties listed for sale by Coldwell Banker, that are inspired by mid-century modern architecture. Palm Springs—which is currently in its seventh year of Modernism Week (a celebration of mid-century modern design, architecture and culture)—is probably the best-known area for mid-century modern homes. In fact, if you’re a mid-century geek, some of the best Palm Springs neighborhoods to search include Vista Las Palmas, Racquet Club Estates, El Rancho Vista Estates, Canyon View Estates and Sunmor. Beyond the desert, there are other well-known mid-century modern neighborhoods, including L.A.’s Silver Lake, Hollywood Hills, Bel-Air, Palisades, Beverly Hills, Encino, Studio City, Altadena, Palos Verdes, Long Beach and Pasadena. Up north, it’s Oakland, Berkley, Marin, Palo Alto and parts of Sacramento, such as Carmichael. In Santa Clara County alone, there are an estimated 5,000 Eichler homes.
Tell us: Which of these homes on CaliforniaMoves.com makes you mad for mid-century style?
1352 Glen Oaks Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91105
71022 Country Club Dr,
Rancho Mirage, CA 92270