Mid-century Mania

from: EYE ON DESIGN BY DAN GREGORY

In a previous post I stated that I was primarily obsessed with old (pre-1900 era) houses. That’s not entirely true. I enjoy houses from all vintages. I enjoy anything that has character and history, even if it is only ten years old.

One of my favorite house era’s, however, is the mid-century time period. How can you not love that time period? The decade of the 1950’s gave us the likes of: Mr. Potato Head, super glue, the hovercraft, the hula hoop and Liquid paper, among other creative devices.

The houses from the middle of the last century are perhaps the last great architectural period before house-builders began mass producing boring vanilla boxes with no regard to the natural surroundings.

I get all googly-eyed when I spy a true mid-century modern home. There’s just something so seductive about the looooong horizontal lines, substantial wood beams, and large windows. I love the way they were designed with light and nature in mind, inside and out.

The interiors of mid-century modern houses are just pure fun. And though the updated ones are just gorgeous…

photo credit: Sarah Payson (raincityguide.com)

…I also enjoy the ones that still have the green or blue or orange shag carpet, and wood-paneled walls, and funky-print drapes:

photo credit: Roy Ritchie (from detroithomemag.com)

One geographic mecca for mid-century modern architecture is Palm Springs, California. (Incidentally, Palm Springs also markets itself as a mecca for gay vacations, which is kinda cool too.)

Many of the mid-century homes there are just delectable with their swaying palm trees, sun-baked views of the mountain ranges and light-colored exteriors:

photo from: prweb.com

This Palm Springs mid-century house showcases a gorgeous desert garden and sand-inspired exterior:

photo from: homeinpalmsrpings.blogspot.com

This one ( complete with joyous, bouncing dog in the foreground) is equally pleasing:

photo credit: Noe DeWitt

Here in Colorado, we are also fortunate to have several well-preserved areas which feature mid-century design. The capital city of Denver has numerous neighborhoods known for their mid-century modern architecture. You can read more about this at milehighmodern.com  (“mile high” indicating that Denver is a mile about sea level).

from: milehighmodern.com

Denver even has its own Facebook page dedicated to all of the mid-century modern house neighborhoods. Check it out here.

One of the most famous and well-maintained mid-century modern neighborhoods in Denver is Arapahoe Acres. According to their very own website:

Arapahoe Acres is the first post-World War II residential subdivision listed as a historic district in the National Register of Historic Places.

Constructed between 1949 and 1957, it is a community of 124 unique, modern homes.

Source: http://www.arapahoeacres.org/

I had the pleasure of living near Arapaho Acres when I lived in the Denver area and I can tell you those houses are absolutely PRISTINE!

Here are just a few:

The Halpin House— 1952 (from: arapahoeacres.org)

The Irish House— 1953 (from: arapahoeacres.org)

The Boxer House— 1955 (from: arapahoacres.org)

The Middlebrook House— 1954 (from: arapahoeacres.org)

Currently for sale in one of my former neighborhoods is this little red mid-century house:

from: realtor.com

Unfortunately, you can’t see the whole exterior, or the fact that the flat roof is made of white gravel. No kidding – I used to walk by it everyday and got a close-up look.

It’s one of those hasn’t-been-updated-since-the-1980’s homes, but that makes it fun to look at too:

from: realtor.com

from: realtor.com

If you are interested, here’s the listing.

One that just came off the market in that same area is this dark blue beauty:

listing flyer (2011) from listing agent Pam Tirk

Yes, I kept the flyer. Hey, it’s good to have a reminder of my former neighborhood. The neighbors were so nice and we affectionately called our little mid-century enclave “rancher row”.

No post on mid-century modern homes would be complete without a nod to The Jetsons.

The Jetsons animated sitcom was able to entertain several generations of kids (and futurists) by airing in the 1960’s and again in the 1980’s. I watched the 1980’s revival of the series when I was a kid. My favorite feature was their ultra-modern house, of course:

The Jetsons house interior

How groovy was that custom galaxy floor?

The illustrators must have had a load-o-fun coming up with that house.

Wouldn’t we all love a house with a sky-view like the one the Jetsons enjoyed?

exterior of the Jetsons house

Fun fact (according to www.imdb.com): Did you know that the Jetsons’ phone number is VENUS-1234?

Have a great weekend!

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