Mad About Modern
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Monday, September 11, 2017
By Austin Rese
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Trends are a curious aspect of life…..Often, what is “hot” today is forgotten tomorrow. Although apparel is by far easier prey for such a turbulent cycle of interest, architecture and interior design are subject to a similar discourse. A prime example of this is the current interest in anything “Mid-century Modern”. 


The Charlotte Museum of History, in Charlotte, North Carolina, has come up with a very clever form of fundraising. Every year, a tour of select modern-style homes is made available for viewing. The collected admission fees go to support the museum.


This year, I decided to attend this “Mad About Modern” event. I was not disappointed.




Six of the seven homes were truly mid-century dwellings. Their “date of birth” ranged from 1955-1969. The seventh home was a much younger dwelling of 1991. Having grown up in a mid-century modern home, it was like stepping into a memory book for me. All of the classic elements of this unique period of architecture were present: terrazzo floors, enclosed courtyards, floating walls, angular windows, and beamed ceilings. Windows seldom had divided lights. Doors seldom had panels. Crown moldings seldom existed. Grandmother’s dark Victorian antiques were pushed to the curb for much lighter, George Jetson-like furnishings. -----It was about being clean, simple, and practical.

Ranch-style homes and split-levels were all the rage in this period. If the voluminous crowd was any indication, there appears to be a great resurgence of interest in this era of architecture.  Although Georgian architecture tends to remain king in the American South, one would believe change is in the wind.


Throughout the tour, my eyes were dancing the entire time. I always enjoy seeing what other creative minds have achieved. A highlight of the collection of homes was a designer show house sponsored by Hans Krug fine European cabinetry. The entire house had been outfitted with this beautiful product. It was simply magnificent. What could have been considered a less-than-exciting old house was suddenly very chic. Very contemporary. Very desirable.


Enthusiasm was contagious. The snapping of photos and whispers of “Wow” seemed to be relentless in each home. I soon found myself smiling as I viewed a fresh take on what was once considered tired or unfashionable. While some homes had taken the direction of “classic Bauhaus furnishings”- others exhibited a classic Arts and Crafts (Mission) styling. All were “modern” in its various forms.


The common thread among the homes was a true sense of style. There is a saying that goes, “Trends may come and go, but style remains….” Proof was in abundance.



This was A Moment in America.

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