As many people know, mid-century houses are making a come back recently in urban areas. They may never have gone out of vogue in California or Florida, but for many years it was difficult to sale a mid-century home in Charlotte, NC. Arts and Crafts homes seemed to be all the rage, as did the two story brick Georgian. I think the media, obviously, had a lot to do with this change of interest in mid-century homes. It started with the popularity of the TV series Mad Men, and then suddenly, we began seeing more mid-century homes in several movies and commercials. Now, the inventory of mid-century homes for sale is low in Charlotte, and agents that formerly had no interest in them have suddenly become experts at marketing them. Charlotte now holds a mid-century home tour, during which many people toured our house, and the compliments were amazing!
My partner and I made the transition from our Arts and Crafts bungalow in the Elizabeth neighborhood to our current mid-century home ten years ago. We loved our old house, but wanted more room to garden, more windows, an attached garage and a pool with spa. We got all of these things with the 1953 ranch we chose to buy, and the commute to uptown, though not important to us, is only 15 minutes. One of the trade offs we made was eight foot ceilings in many rooms, but having lived with the ten foot ceilings in the bungalow, we knew that keeping warm in an older house was not easy. Also, we have been to a few Frank Lloyd Wright homes, and found that he loved to play with ceiling heights many times; having some low ceilings, and some high ones. We immediately had a modified trey ceiling built in our large living room, which you can see in the photo above. At the highest level it is now ten feet, and I think it is quite a surprise for most people, that enter our house for the first time. We kept the old metal casement window, because we love it as a focal point of the room, and it lets in great southern light, which makes it my favorite room to read in.
Our house has two of the original bathrooms, with ceramic tile we both love, and pedestal sinks on chrome legs. We will not be ripping those out. We have added two modern baths in other areas, as well as a brick fireplace on a diagonal in a den that was not part of the original house. Our house has been expanded greatly by previous owners, but they did a good job, and hired an architect who appreciated some of the original details, like the hipped roofs. He used them in the additions and also filled the house with light through numerous windows that overlook our pool and garden.
For us, the transition to a mid-century modern house from a bungalow was easy, and we were ready for it. We love entertaining here, and the large rooms, that are wide open to each other, suit entertaining well. A few of our friends have made the same sort of transitions to mid-century houses in the last few years. It is interesting to me to think of the fact that we are the second generation to do so. The original owners of these homes many times moved into them from older homes, as a way of modernizing back in the 50’s and 60’s. I guess if a house is fortunate enough to remain standing over the years, it will usually reach a time when its design style is once again appreciated!