The mid-century modern design movement reflected the changing times. Shifts in the culture brought about new desires and needs in everyday society. Architects and builders recognized that home architecture could benefit from serious attention to the functionality that a modern family required.
Amongst many functions, one of the most important in the nuclear family was bringing everyone together in the same space. With all of the distractions emanating from the new way of living that was suburban life, families needed to be able to come together within their home to enjoy each other’s company. Designers of the era recognized this and created revolutionary concepts to be implemented in mid-century modern family residences.
Modern homes often featured smaller bedrooms compared to houses of prior eras. The petite bedrooms encouraged children to play outside of their rooms, in the family room for example. Parents therefore had the benefit of their children’s company while they spent time in the common areas of the house.
The fireplace in a modern house provided a special space for family gathering. Warm, inviting fireplaces were the norm in MCM home architecture. They became architectural points of interest within a house. Mid-century modern fireplaces often feature a surrounding ledge, sometimes an grand floating ledge, providing extra seating and encouraging time spent with the entire family.
The modern home introduced the concept of an eat-in kitchen, which had many benefits including increased family time. Mid-century modern design emphasized the kitchen as a showpiece of the house and in doing so, brought it out into the open. But what was to keep the kids from running through and disturbing the cook of the house while preparing tonight’s dinner? The eat-in kitchen solved that problem with designated seating while also bringing the family together at the heart of the home.
One of the more iconic concepts of the mid-century modern home design is the open floor plan. The idea of connecting all the common rooms, including living room, dining room, family room and often the kitchen to great one large, cohesive space allowed for more room to enjoy one’s family. The new layout literally broke down walls towards increased family time.
Modern design broke the barrier between inside and outside with “glass walls” lining the back of the house into the private outdoor areas on the property, such as the backyard or a courtyard. Inviting the outdoors in and indoors out means that families can spend time together, even play together, while one group is inside and the other is outside.
An often-overlooked feature adding to the family-friendly approach of these homes is the naturally warm, welcoming material and fixture selection often included in the design. The average mid-century modern home originally featured rich wood grain throughout the home. Wood tongue and groove ceilings provided a pleasant canopy for the family to gather under. From a psychological standpoint, families feel cozy and at ease when surrounded by wood tones straight from nature. Soft and warm incandescent lighting from ceiling-hung lights would provide a glowing ambiance akin to firelight.
MCM design was just as much a study on social and family functionality as on aesthetics. Looking for your own mid-century modern family home? We can help! Get in touch today.