If you look around a bit at some of the other house blogs we read (right side under “What We Read”), you’ll come across some pretty cool things. One of the coolest things are “time capsule houses” – these are houses that are listed for sale around the country where the interior is virtually unchanged from the time they were built from the 1940s – 1970s, like Robert over at Live Better Electrically. They often have ridiculously cool vintage appliances, the type of stuff that was “the latest innovative tool” at their time, but for economic or style reasons never caught on and faded away. (See: GE Wonder Kitchen.)
So, a few things: First, our house is not a time capsule. My grandparents updated the house over the years and re-did the kitchen. We do have time capsule bathrooms which are pretty spectacular. Second, our house, though modest by today’s standards, was also not a “Mid Century Modest” house at the time it’s construction – it cost $18,500 to build in 1958. The average house at the time was $12,700, so our house was a fairly fancy one and the finishes and build quality reflected that.
The renovation work we do follows an ethos I call “Mid Century Compatible” – we have a great house that was well-designed and well-built. We generally take finishes and fixtures back to how they originally looked at the time of the home’s construction and then bring in modern touches with styles that are very compatible or complimentary to the original components of the house (See: Bedroom Before and After.) We are modern style lovers in our own right, and as such we want to have a house that pays homage to it’s mid-century roots while letting the mid-century idea move forward. That’s one of the cool features of true mid-century modern style: it’s still modern.