Hidden Communities: Mid-Century Modern Homes in Orange County

What’s Considered OC Modern, Anyway?

Nobody thinks of Orange County, Calif. and envisions post-and-beam construction, atriums, or really anything that brings mid-century modern real estate to mind. We typically leave that privileged stereotype to Palm Springs, Calif. (after all, they own Modernism Week), or another city not quite as possessed by stucco and Spanish architecture. Here’s the thing, though: Orange County does have great mid-century modern real estate. It’s about knowing where to look, and what to look for.

Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Long Beach/Tustin, Calif.: The Ranchos


People often associate Long Beach with being in Orange County, but it’s technically in LA County.  Thankfully they close enough for us to talk about, because the iconic Cliff May-designed Ranchos are integral to making the point that mid-century modern architecture was born in California. The lines of the Ranchos take on a more relaxed feel than, say, an Eichler, because of their pitched roofs. However, like all architecture in this space, May’s homes––including the Ranchos––include a garden, albeit figuratively, in every room. Need more? Shop Cliff May homes now.

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Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Anaheim, Calif.: Frematic Homes, Ross W. Cortese


Ross W. Cortese eventually became known for Leisure World, but first he developed the Frematic Homes in Anaheim, Calif. Dating back to the 1950s, Cortese used the same design plans used for Cliff May’s Lakewood Rancho Estates in Long Beach to build out these homes. Like other mid-century modern designs, the post-and-beam construction rules the Frematic homes, which range from approximately 1,300 to 1,500 square feet. Don’t be fooled by the 11 non-modern homes at the south end of Lotus when checking out this neighborhood, they were not developed by Cortese. Looking for a Frematic home? Contact us

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Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Orange, Calif.: Joseph Eichler’s Homes


This Joseph Eichler development celebrates their fiftieth year in 2014. Built in 1964, many of these homes feature the atrium that has become a mainstay of this developer’s style. While many of these homes have undergone renovations to make them more in-line with 2014’s technologies, a good number of them display consideration to original design elements in their revamps. After all, if living in Eichler could inspire Steve Jobs, they probably have plenty worth keeping intact. Shop Joseph Eichler homes here.

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Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Fullerton, Calif.: Fullerton Forever Homes


Designed by A. Quincy Jones, built by Pardee, and developed by Joseph Eichler (well, sort of), Fullerton’s Forever Homes neighborhood evokes Eichler’s consumer-friendly sensibility. Smaller in size, these developments still structurally mirror larger developments. Some have been kept up to date, but many have sadly become mere shells of their once-modern aesthetic. Nonetheless, architectural smarts are still present; skylights that cut into the roof outside of the home are an example of just that.Looking for a Fullerton Forever home? Contact us

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Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Tustin, Calif.: Broadmoor Atrium Homes


May’s Broadmoor Atrium Homes are unique because they offer a lower price point than the Long Beach Ranchos, with a location still central to OC amenities. Founded before 1990, these homes still have the A-frame aesthetic, with some interiors even offering a double-sided fireplace. Their close proximity to Old Tustin (which has been sprouting more businesses tailored to the community-minded crowd) make this an interesting location for someone looking to invest in a home in an evolving area. Looking for a Broadmoor Atrium home? Contact us

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Mid-Century Modern Real Estate in Laguna Niguel, Calif.: Niguel West


The Niguel West tract is a small enclave of architecturally significant homes located in Laguna Niguel. Built in the 1960s, they are larger than the typical 1950s homes and tend to incorporate larger bathrooms and more storage. The tract is located on the very Western edge of Laguna Niguel, just bordering the Monarch Beach community. This gives the neighborhood a beach vibe and often times the marine layer keeps the neighborhood much cooler than areas even a half mile inland. The tract was designed by local architect George Bissell and the designs take contextual cues from the hilly terrain with unique, varying rooflines and even some models which feature main entrances located on the second level. The lots are very generous and many offer either views or the privacy of a landscaped slope in back.  Looking for a Niguel West home? Contact us

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