Crystal Valley Blog

Mid-Century Modern Inspiration!

POSTED August 25, 2020

Mid-Century Modern is a term coined by author Cara Greenberg in her 1984 her book about 1950s furniture: Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.  The MCM label is used to describe architecture, home furnishings and graphic design inspired by the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and several Bauhaus artists. 

The furniture created in the 50s and considered dated by the 80s, enjoyed a resurgence beginning in the mid-90s. In December 1999, a George Nelson “marshmallow sofa” sold for an unprecedented $66,000. A year later, two George Nelson “pretzel” armchairs sold for just over $2,500 apiece, while a 1965 George Nakashima cabinet sold for $20,700. 

According to Curbed, collectors drove up prices for mid-century designs created by the usual list of suspects: Charles and his wife Ray Eames, George Nelson, George Nakashima, Edward Wormley, Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen, Isamu Noguchi, Herman Miller, Harry Bertoia, Eileen Gray and Verner Panton. The emerging collectors created an appetite for MCM furnishings among people with retro style sensibilities, ever since.

Pricey Originals and Reproductions

Knock-offs, or “contemporary reproductions” are everywhere, from West Elm and All Modern to Modern In Designs and You can decorate every room, floor to ceiling, with contemporary furniture designed with MCM in mind.

If you’re after originals, know that not everything labeled authentic mid-century modern actually is. So, if this style that combines crafts and fine arts, aesthetics and daily functionality appeals to you, here are a few distinctives and sources of inspiration!

Key Traits of Mid-Century Modern

Bloggers at Iris Abbey and Vintage Home Boutique point out several key characteristics of mid-century modern furniture. 

1. Clean lines and simple designs. Furniture was stripped of ornamentation in favor of a sleek aesthetic with curves and smooth surfaces. In the post-war era, furniture was slimmed down and open spaces became even more open, light and airy.

2. Wood with natural finishes – teak being especially popular – characterized this style, with international -– Scandinavian and Brazilian –influences.

3. Tapered legs and “floating” furniture like the boutique’s teak credenza.

4. Bold, explosive colors in fabric, graphics and artwork

5. Quality construction for lasting ownership.

Get Inspired with MCM Imagery!

For inspiration, check out these seven living room ideas from The Spruce, or these Pinterest posts which include furnishings for every room of the house. You’ll see graphic designs and individual retro pieces of furniture from secretary cabinets and built-ins to accessories like shelves, lamps, clocks, pillows and flooring.

Houzz has its own collection of 75 examples depicting a bygone vintage design aesthetic, one that enjoys plenty of aficionados around the world. And, if you’re new to the MCM aesthetic – HGTV offers elementary tips on integrating MCM style into your own.

Finally, a gallery of 40 slides with contemporary and vintage examples of mid-century modern interior décor at Elle Décor offers a slew of arrangements in mostly open floor plans – characteristic of the architecture of the modern age. You’ll view lots of space, windows, indoor/outdoor integration with iconic furnishings that you’ll swear you’ve seen in an episode of Mad Men!

Design and Décor in Crystal Valley

The brand new homes in the master-planned community of Crystal Valley are built by some of Colorado’s top builder-craftspeople. And there’s never been a better time to buy a new home set in natural surroundings in the fast-growing Castle Rock community. Floor plans and elevations vary from Richmond American Homes, Kauffman Homes, Century Communities and D.R. Horton. You can virtually visit these homes – via a variety of video chat apps! — or stop by for an in-person tour. Choose from ranch or two-story models — priced from the $300s.



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