Thursday, October 1, 2009

Three mid-century modern days and nights...

Hooked on Houses is hosting her "Hooked on Fridays" blog party; I hope y'all will click here and have look. I'm hooked mid-century modern and I didn't even know it.

Last weekend we visited Debbie and Dave in their mid-century modern home 1300 feet from the beach. We'd been several times before but this time we played Architecture Tourists.

I confess that I'm tired of the words "mid-century modern." The pictures in magazines and on the web are all about the extreme show houses of the time. And the furniture, well, you know what I mean.

But there are a ton of ordinary, good-living modern houses and we had 3 nights to enjoy one of them. And enjoy it we did. It's a remarkably pleasant house.

Here she is, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, single garage (with workshop and laundry), huge screened lanai and screened pool, about 1300 square feet. It sits on a street with similar ranchers, some with 2 car garages and 3 bedrooms. Built in 1964, perhaps from a pattern book.


Here is the entrance. Notice the overhangs and big windows. Does anyone know what to call those concrete trellis things on either side of the doors? The street has a great variety of those things. Whatever they are called, there are 17 feet of floor to ceiling windows behind them opening to the big room. The back side of the big room also has 17 feet of floor to ceiling windows that can open completely to the lanai. And that is a nice room.


Deb and Dave replaced the solid front doors with these all glass doors. Obviously it was designed to have glass doors.

Can imagine this view with solid doors? It wasn't nearly as good. My eye avoided looking over there. Now, the trellis thingys frame the view through the doors. It's a Zen view (134. ZEN VIEW). Even at night with outdoor lights this view works to extend the big room. Tara would be proud of the vanishing threshold and that's not the only one in the house.


Here is my hand drawn floor plan. Note the floor to ceiling windows. Each is a vanishing threshold. They make the house feel huge. It's like the huge lanai is part of the master, the big room, and the kitchen.


For you Pattern Language Fans: 159. LIGHT ON TWO SIDES OF EVERY ROOM. Enough said except: Notice the bath between the bedrooms? It has just one window over the toilet. Yet, it is a most pleasant space. Following the pattern, it works because it is a wide window, with a deep reveal in a very shallow room. Nice, nice, nice.

Before I quit two words:

Terrazzo Floors. I think the entire house has Terrazzo floors now done in wood. But the terrazzo is still there in the bathrooms. Until this house, I didn't realize that I love Terrazzo floors. Nice, nice, nice.

Wait, there is a puzzle: My house has more and bigger windows but Deb & Dave's is brighter inside. How come? Well, Atlanta has big, tall trees. At our place they smother the house in the summertime. On Deb and Dave's barrier island there aren't any tall trees, at all. It makes a big difference. When the leaves are gone and the sun is lower, our house brightens right up.


Hooked on Houses is hosting her "Hooked on Fridays" blog party; I hope y'all will click here and have look.


  1. I love seeing different kinds of architecture, from different areas of the country. I have never seen a house like this in Atlanta! I am quite charmed with the trellis like concrete things.

    Looks like there is some good 'wrinkling of the edges' to get the light on two sides.

  2. I don't know what those concrete trellis things on either side of the door are, but they're nice :-)I love light-filled rooms and homes -- those 17 feet of floor to ceiling windows by the lanai must be awesome!!

    I don't think I could live in a home as small as Tommy's apartment, and I definitely couldn't live in Toronto!! But he HAS done a great job decorating it and maximizing the small space.


  3. The light coming in through the concrete 'trellis' is lovely - what a great entrance.

    Linda. :)

  4. LOL, you got me! Thanks for the mention. Would love to have-at the landscape. For starters?

    The huge green meatball & green gum ball-on-a-toothpick beside the frontdoor. Prune them into espalier's instead.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  5. The perforated concrete wall is called a brise soleil, French for sun breaker... thanks for sharing!

    The Architectural Antique Review

  6. Thanks Spencer

    from Wikipedia: "Brise soleil, sometimes brise-soleil (breez-soh-ley, from French, "sun breaker"),"

  7. 1300 feet from the beach would be nice!

    Every time I see brise-soleil I remember the hermit crab I left in one overnight at a friend's home in south Texas - the hermit crab was gone the next morning! (I was about 9 years old! - and brise-soleil ALWAYS reminds me of that little crab that I probably should not have tried to keep as a pet.)

  8. Brise-soleil? Doesn't that just sound like sunshine?!
    Thanks, Terry, for the intro to a style I don't normally pay much attention to. And you have a great point about the difference trees can make to light levels.

  9. We think you're using the right term in referring to them as concrete trellis. And we really like those.

    FYI, we hear you on the mid-century show place houses. Granted we've featured a few show place ones on our own site (like Shia LaBeouf's and Tony Curtis'), but Mid-century happens to be our favorite style, and we like Dave and Debbie's just fine too.

    There are a couple of books out about ranches that include modest ones. They should check out a few.

    The only critique we have is, it looks like the double front entry is not only an obvious replacement, but looks entirely wrong for the house. We envisioned an opening between the trellises with recessed doors and possibly an iron gate.

    Anyway, we'd take anything on the beach--so we're jealous!


  10. CDHQ, Visiting Deb and Dave let us experience it for ourselves. The sense of living there doesn't come through in pictures. The media focuses on "wow" looks, as if humans are a bother.

    I get a better sense if I can see the floor plans. The same goes for landscaping.

    I've become much less of a style (and music) bigot as I've grown up. I can't categorically name my style(s). It's most fun to encounter a great place for the first time with as few preconceptions as possible. If I don't like a style so much, it's probably because I haven't experienced the best in that style.

  11. Terry- Aren't these types of houses neat? I would call the see-through brick walls at the entrance "brick lattice." I too, am a huge fan of terrazzo floors! Thanks for sharing this with us and hope you had a great trip in that bright yellow mid-Century modern house!

  12. Ooo--that's really neat! I like the yellow paint color of the house too. You always get great photos. :) Thanks so much for the visit. I do love Nashville...hadn't been since high school!

  13. This is very similar to my sister's house in Florida. Though her bedrooms are at opposite ends of the house, the exterior looks almost identical. I think those "concrete trellis things" are there to block sunglight while allowing the light to get through, but I have no idea what they're called. Concrete trellis things works for me. I'm loving those windows and doors, and I'm dying to move to a one story house.

  14. Oops! I meant the trellis things block direct sunlight while allowing indirect light and air to filter through. Makes so much more sense when you pay attention to what you're writing.

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