Mid-Century Modern architecture speckled post-war suburbia throughout much of the 1950s and 60s and beyond, Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, credited as the driving force behind the movement, designed homes flat roofs, expansive windows, and multi-functional aspects built into the interiors.
You can see Wright’s work across Iowa, including the Paul J. and Ida Trier house built in 1958 in the heart of Johnston. The Usonian style home, coined by Wright as a simple, stylish, small house designed for the middle class is a perfect example of clean lines, functionality and creative uses for every usable space.
Having lived in Clear Lake and worked in Mason City I've had the pleasure of seeing some of his work first hand. One of the most impressive is the renovation of the Historic Park Inn Hotel in downtown Mason City. You should really check it out on a weekend road trip as well as a visit to the Stockman House also in Mason City and just a short drive away the Alvin Miller home in Charles City. Well worth the drive.
And Natural elements, mixed metals, and geometric shapes adorned Mid-mod interiors. Think Mad Men. If this style appeals to you fire up Netflix, and watch a few episodes of the popular series for inspiration or consider these suggestions.
Here is a great example above. This is an 8000 sq ft. Mid-Mod Dave and I renovated last year. I can't wait to show you the after photos. I melted when I walked in for all the history just sitting there ready for me to explore. It was stunning as is and even more beautiful after. And yes, that is a sunken living room with built in fire pit and a 3 story waterfall to boot. They kept both!
When decorating, look for sofas with low backs. Those finished with natural wood elements or upholstered in light leather or muted neutrals. Sectionals with multi-function pieces are great for entertaining. Tufted Chesterfield’s offer comfort and a touch of masculinity. Sofa’s with built-in end tables work well in small spaces.
While you are out road tripping skip on over to Eagle Grove, Iowa and visit Tom at Gramma's Attic and Antique Vintage and Retro. These are just a few examples of what you might find. Makes me want to grab a martini!
Other fundamental interior elements include platform beds or those with low headboards. Soft curved seating as you see here, and dining pieces such as Eames inspired chairs and tables with peg, diagonal, or hairpin legs.
Consider lighting changes with metal elements such as globe pendant lighting, mobile chandeliers (I call them “sputnik-esque”), and arc floor and table lamps. Yes, they are all back on trend and readily available!
Introduce geometric shapes with accessories, wall art, fabrics, and wallpaper.
If you are drooling over all these retro rooms it's okay, we are too! Now, wipe off the drool and start clicking and following these two Iowa businesses.
Another favorite Mid-Mod haunts, is Modville . It is right down the road from us. Keith and Amy are not only fun, they know their stuff and can help find what you are looking for, even if you can't find it in the 6000 square foot space, they can find it somewhere on this lovely planet. And....there is also a likely possibility they may even have some PBR on hand so stop in and start shopping.
Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Style is important, A style is not." If you appreciate Mid-mod elements, go ahead and pepper pieces throughout your home that speak to you. Meld design styles. Create a feeling reflective of you! Design and love your very own personal brand and style.
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Angela and Dave Schrad
DIY to décor, get inspired by their ideas, resources and projects.