Thursday, November 17, 2016

A mid century modern style home, how much do you want to own one?

Just how badly do you desire to own a mid century modern style home? I think this is a fair question if you are reading this blog or if you frequent web sites such as, or if you have a subscription to Dwell magazine.

I did not always appreciate modern style homes. It is something that basically grew on me over the years. I worked for several years as a carpenter on the gulf coast of Florida and I am sure I have had my hand in a number of large, expensive modern homes. However as a frame carpenter, we rarely had the opportunity to see the finished product. And back then I can't say that I had a particular attraction to modern homes.

A little later in life I discovered Frank Lloyd Wright's work. Mainly his Prairie style homes. They were different than most anything else, and I had an opportunity to visit a few of them here in the Midwest. While I found these interesting, there was something about them that just did not quite fit for me. Maybe it was the formal-ness of the design and finishes, I really don't know.

But in investigating more of Wright's works, I discovered his Usonian homes and his masterpiece, Fallingwater. I love several of his Usonian designs and they have influenced some of my own designs. I still have this idea of creating a modernized Usonian style design to offer customers. And Fallingwater is incredible! If you have not visited it, you should. And don't skimp, take the longer more expensive tour. You won't regret it!

Along with Wright's works, I also discovered many of the other mid century modern designers of the 50s and 60s. Shindler, Neutra, Eichler, Lautner, Jones, van der Rohe.......... Far too many talented designers to list here. Their works also influence my own designs.

As a result of my interest in modern architecture, I knew I wanted one for myself! At the time I was living in a very nice split level home in a quiet little town. It was really a good place to be raising a family. But I wanted to live in the country and I wanted a modern style home. It took a lot of effort and time, but eventually we found 10 acres we loved and I designed and built our home.

This brings up the question that is the title of this post (finally)

How much do you want to own a mid century modern style home?

Most people are not aware such a thing exists or they don't care enough to do what it takes to own one. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is just not a desire or priority in their lives.

Then there are people such as yourself who do care and do desire to own such a home. This brings up the question of how? You really have just 3 choices: buy an existing modern home, modify an existing home to have modern character, or build new.

There are existing mid century modern style homes that come on the market from time to time, depending on your location. These days, most of these sell for a premium. But if the stars align and your budget is a adequate, maybe you can buy a cool modern home.

It is very feasible to modify an existing home into the modern style home you desire. Probably the most flexible design is the simple ranch design. A rancher is basically a blank slate, and you can dramatically change its appearance both inside and out. Change the windows, add a more modern entry door, add some modern accent pieces to the front and you will be amazed. On the inside, again, start with adding more windows to open it up and bring in more light. Then add other modern details such as hardwood flooring and lighting, then some modern furnishings and you will have a very nice, modern style home!

The other option is to build new. While this offers the most flexibility to get what you want, it is also the hardest because you have to make the financing work as well as make a thousand choices and compromises along the way. But, it can be done if it is what you really want!

Keep in mind that even if you have a smaller budget, you can have a cool, modern design home! The design just needs to be tailored to your budget so that you can get the home built.

So, like most things in life, if a cool modern home is something your truly desire, make a plan and pursue what you want! Set a realistic budget, buy some land, find a design you love or hire a designer, find a builder and have the home of your dreams!

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