Mid-Century modern home design is today considered a retro look that respects the attitudes and practicalities that were dominant during the post World War II years. The style may have had its birth in Europe and its glamour in America, but it’s found an equal purpose in Australian suburbs.
A mantra for Mid-Century modern home design is ‘L’esprit Nouveau’, which translates to the ‘new spirit’. House designs represent more than just style, they reflect a lifestyle that many Australians find attractive. The biggest names behind Australia’s modernist movement include architects Harry Seidler, Robin Boyd and Hugh Buhrich, whose ground-breaking designs built throughout the 50 and 60s now enjoy heritage-list status.
A resurgence in Mid-Century house design
Whilst hugely popular in the 1950s, Mid-Century modern style was fading fast by the mid-1960s. The beginning of a new generation, combined with advances in technology and materials, led to the construction of larger homes that abandoned many of the typical Mid-Century modern features Australians had come to love. Thanks to websites such as Modernist Australia, public exhibitions and social media groups for MCM enthusiasts, it’s currently experiencing a very welcomed comeback.
Turn on the TV today and you’ll be spoiled for choice in programs that celebrate the wonderful world that is Mid-Century modern. Mad Men has been a catalyst for international Mid-Century modern revivalism, and Tim Ross’s Streets of Your Town gives a fantastic look at Mid-Century modern design in Australia. Throwback TV that pays homage to shows such as I Love Lucy, Bewitched and The Brady Bunch also helps to fuel the resurgence of this incredible architectural style. So much so, that many home builders, including Plunkett Homes, offer homes that take inspiration from Mid-Century modern principles.
What to consider when choosing a ‘re-imagined’ Mid-Century modern house design
Mid-Century modern architecture is housing design in its purest form – simple, functional and eye-catching. Sounds great, right? Design features include flat roofs, angular details, asymmetrical profiles, walls of glass, clean lines, bi-level structures and wide open floor plans.
When considering a Mid-Century modern home design, think about:
What’s perhaps the most distinctive feature of Mid-century modern home design is its clean and refined look. Straight lines, natural curves and smooth planes all work together to create something that’s organic, sophisticated, unembellished and timeless. Styling is no fuss and is stripped of anything that’s not necessary for simple living. When decorating, choose pieces that compliment each other but also have their own personality and keep things minimal.
Our lifestyle today demands comfort and that means moving through the home in a practical way. Mid-Century modern design offers seamless indoor outdoor flow and connects you with your surroundings in a way that no other home can. Design focuses on functional beauty that serves a purpose, right down to the choice of flooring. Materials used are generally natural, unfinished or ‘aged’.
Though wood and wood veneer are typical elements of Mid-Century modern style, designs should experiment with other materials that were popular at the time, such as plastic, formica, and acrylic. Mid-Century modern celebrates contradicting materials so don’t be afraid to mix and match organic and synthetic materials and both neutral and bold colours.
Big, flat-paneled windows and a connection to your surroundings is something that’s really important in Mid-Century modern design. If you don’t have views or a wrap around garden to play with, consider bringing natural elements indoors through living houseplants and raw materials.
What’s not to love
Classic Mid-Century modern house design presents a ‘covered up’ look to the street with glass expanses that open up to the backyard. This can present some issues in controlling heat and cold and in regulating light in some areas of the home.
The good thing about ‘reimagined’ Mid-Century modern house design is that we only take the best of modernism, leaving behind the things we don’t like. You’ll be taken back to the 50s but in a contemporary way, giving you the Mid-Century modern home of your dreams. You’ll get all the glamour, style and practical features, with very little compromise.
With Mid-Century modern architecture and design, there’s not a lot you shouldn’t love. Creative thinking and vision originally spawned the Mid-Century modern movement and it’s what fuels the resurgence in Mid-Century modern design today. Its near equal focus on form and function means it will never go out of style, so while trends may come agao, the principles of MCM are timeless.