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Top 5 Favorite Mid Century Modern Designs

Whether you are a seasoned collector of mid century modern furniture, or still relatively new to the acquisition game, you might be somewhat flummoxed about the hefty price tags attached to the quintessential pieces.

The world-renowned designers Miller, Saarinen, and Eames define and emphasize mid century modern furniture culture, and their continued popularity nearly 60 years later highlights the timeless appeal of their wares.

One of the most noticeable features of mid century modern furniture is the sleek, streamlined, clean lines which make the pieces look simple, elegant, and well-defined. If you are wondering just how and where to invest your hard-earned dollars, here is an overview of some of the most valuable mid century modern pieces available today.

Barcelona chair by Knoll 

The Barcelona chair was originally created by designer Mies Van Der Rohe. It is a much celebrated piece, particularly because of the innovative way Rohe and his partner Lilly Reich experimented with materials – eventually replacing pigskin with bovine leather, and introducing a seamless stainless steel frame to accentuate the smooth look of the piece.

Knoll is currently the only licensed manufacturer of the Barcelona chair, and it holds the trademark rights to the famous name. Knoll has substituted some of the original materials, but has diligently kept to the original specifications and measurements of the chair. The price of a Barcelona chair varies greatly depending on condition and origin.

Tulip Chair by Saarinen

The much-celebrated Tulip Chair, which was originally the brain-child of Eero Saarinen, is considered an industrial design classic. The curves of the chair and the tulip shaped base completely eliminate the need for chair legs, which melds perfectly with the mid century modern ideals. Saarinen reportedly stated that chair legs made him feel “disordered and uneasy,” and hence, he developed the Tulip chair for aesthetic ease. Post-1957, the Tulip chair has been manufactured by Knoll, and it is still gaining in popularity and value.

Womb Chair and Ottoman by Saarinen

This outstanding Saarinen creation came about in 1948, when Florence Knoll set him the challenge of designing a chair she could “curl up in.” The Womb chair, which is perfectly complimented by the beautiful ottoman, looks both striking and unique. It facilitates a relaxed sitting posture, and a comfortable snooze! The steel rod base and fiberglass shell are aesthetically pleasing, and one cannot help but marvel at Saarinen’s architectural skills.

Lounge Chair by Charles and Ray Eames

The Lounge chair is one of the most easily recognizable and highly distinguished pieces of mid century modern furniture available. The molded plywood was a breathtaking development in its time, and it is still impressive to look at 63 years after its conception. The Eames Lounge chair encompasses luxury, elegance, and comfort – and it is one of the most sought after mid century modern masterpieces in the world today.

La Chaise by Eames

This wonderfully crafted organic form was developed by Eames as part of an earlier collaboration with Eero Saarinen. La Chaise was made possible by technological advancements in molded fiberglass, which allowed free-form shells to create flexible seating. Anyone who has had the opportunity to seat themselves on an authentic La Chaise will agree that it is certainly an innovation, and much more comfortable than it initially looks!

Authentic mid century modern furniture is definitely worth the hefty price tag, and it will almost certainly continue to increase in value. However, it is necessary to take great precaution when you buy, as there is a plenitude of unscrupulous and predatory dealers who try to pass off less valuable copies as originals.


Dining Room Furniture: Mid Century Modern Style

Dining room furniture that is modern has a few tell tale characteristics about it that separates it from other styles. Interestingly enough though, those tell tale features are borrowed from many other eras and design styles, which makes the originality of such pieces truly debatable. None the less.

Modern trends of today for decorating include the dramatic style of mid century modern design. What makes the design of these pieces so fascinating is the fact that they are part of the contemporary modern look, yet the inspiration for those pieces stems from retro styles from fifty years ago. There are certain defining characteristics that seem to capture the true retro essence of this modern era of the past.

The most outstanding feature of modern dining room furniture is the clean and simple lines that the furniture follows. Furniture that dated before the 1950s was lavish, ornate, and extremely decorated and fancy but in todays cluttered world people seem to crave furniture that is very uncluttered and simple. Ironically it seems that these days the lavishness of pieces lies in the very lack of those ornate details. A good way to look at the smoothness of design of todays pieces is to think of them as being streamlined in design.

Another feature of modern dining room furniture is the color and texture of pieces. No longer is it fashionable in any room to have a huge abundance of patterns and tons of colors. Instead, the key to successful decor is all in the simplicity of pattern, which also means the lack of patterns. Solid colors are the way to go, which contributes to the organized and clean look of today. Bold colors on the walls and simple accents and textures are key. One of the best materials that is used in the dining room is teak. Teak has a strength and warmth that seemed to emit a sense of serenity during the 1950s, and it provides a traditionally excellent accent and backdrop to the bold wall colors and unique textures that are used.

In addition to fiberglass and teak, there were many other man made materials that were introduced in mid century design that were never previously used for furniture before. Plastic had become critically important as part of modern furniture in the 1950s and that included Plexiglass, Lucite, and Bakelite. There are some dining room furniture that is made of these materials today, and ever since plastics were introduced they have remained useful and often used. Some of the most popular designers of dining room furniture today are Herman Miller, Earnes, and Saarinen.


Mid Century Malibu

Would you believe that the original sale price for this mid century tract home built by Joseph Eichler was $32,500...of course in the early '60's. 

The tract, built in 1962 near Pacific Coast Highway, is made up of traditional and modern homes, many restored to their original design. To some, these mid century houses may look like knockoffs of the famed tract homes built by Joseph Eichler, but Malibu West was built by Nisan Matlin and Eugene Dvoretzky, award-winning architects (now retired) who built Malibu West before Eichler had established his signature houses in Granada Hills.

Read the whole story here:

Photo Credit: Al Seib ~ Los Angeles Times


Palm Springs Modernism Show

Mid century modern has hit the desert again! Modernism week starts today, Feb. 12.

Modernism Week kicks off in Palm Springs this week. What's Modernism Week? We wondered too.

The festivities, which run through Feb. 21, are a 10-day homage to the ideals of mid-century modern design which include tours of famous architecture and celebrity homes.

The party kicks off Friday with a ceremony on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars to honor former Palm Springs architect Albert Frey, who died in 1998, said city spokeswoman Amy Blaisdell. 

Frey, who was born in Switzerland and later moved to Palm Springs, is known for integrating the surrounding landscape into building design, which is typified by clean, simple lines.

The architect's designs contributed to establishing Palm Springs as a Mecca for innovative modern architecture during the 1950s, `60s and `70s.
Architectural tours will include the former mid century modern homes of Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra and Dinah Shore, as well as part of the former estate of Elizabeth Taylor.

Article Source:


West Elm Furniture - West Elm to Open Upper West Side Store

West Elm Furniture is coming to New York...Thank you!

West Elm’s huge new Upper West Side store — with more than 24,000 square feet of space that will stock everything the company sells, including furniture — will open March 4. To celebrate, David Stark, an event planner, has created several household objects (including an alarm clock) out of West Elm’s recycled packing materials. His pieces will be auctioned at an event on March 3, to benefit the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, but will remain on view at the store through the end of March.

West Elm furniture address: West Elm, 1870 Broadway (62nd Street), (212) 247-8077
Source: NY Times
Written by: Marianne Rohrlich


FoMA To Host Modern House Tour

"The Boyer House was selected for FoMA’s spring house tour because of its pure original design and deft incorporation of later additions. The house was built toward the latter part of the era referred to as “mid-century modern” but encompasses all the elements of classic modern design."

Sunday June 1, from 3-5pm Friends of Modern Architecture/Lincoln, MA (FoMA) will host a spring house tour of the Boyer House.

Source: Wicked Local ByBarbara Rhines/Special to the Journal


Mod Cat

Great color on the kitty cat. Eames chair makes a nice mid century modern accessory! Sweet mix of modern art styles.

Palm Springs

Tiny bubbles now arriving in Rancho Mirage (next door to Palm Springs). Great image! We even get a glimpse of mid century modern in the distance!


Mid Century Modern Furniture

I found this great little site that showcases mid century modern and Danish modern furniture, books, smalls and some amazing Blenko glass. This is a real treat for all you glass lovers! Check it out here...


Finn Juhl Exhibition is now open!

The former home of Finn Juhl is finally open to the public!

"Finn Juhl was one of the most important figures in the beginning of the 'Danish Modern' Movement." In 2006 his home was a gift to the Ordrupgaard Museum. Finn Juhl's house is now a part of the museum. Now we get to see exactly how this icon lived amongst his own creativity. If you are unable to visit the exhibition in person, check out the museum online.
More on Finn Juhl...


Egg Chair Mini

Arne Jacobsen red miniature Egg Chair from Hive Modern. Now this is cool! Lots of different designers to choose from. Boy would I like to see that in my Easter basket!

Enjoy your day!

Blue Skies Ahead

Great photo.
This is what I call "back yard relaxing."
Enjoy your day!


Type designer Eric Spiekermann has created five different house numbers just for Design Within Reach, including the Neutra House Number, which is based on the iconic lettering that mid-century architect Richard Neutra specified for use on his buildings in the 1930's - 1950's. Check them out, they are on sale til March 18!


Wallpaper Wow

I'm loving these new in your face wallpapers from Trove. They offer custom and specific color matching. A girl could go crazy!


Iconic Modernist Design Through The Lens of Julius Shulman at Palm Springs Art Museum

“Julius Shulman is undeniably one of the world’s greatest architectural photographers."

If you are a big fan like I am, this is exciting! There are 150 photographs by Julius Shulman on display at the Palms Springs Art Museum to admire and be inspired by.

Don't miss the opportunity to view this outstanding exhibition going on now through May 4.



Kitchen Remodel

Beautiful job on the remodel. I love the silestone countertop.
What's for dinner? I'll bring the wine!

Happy Sunday, relax and enjoy!


How can I create a faux brick wall in my home?

You could hire someone or if you've got some carpentry skills, (just had an aromatherapy moment, yikes!) maybe not. But until recently I had never even heard of faux brick. I have seen it and must admit it does look like the real deal. The fact that it's light weight and there are different designs to choose from makes it a plus. Kudos to the designer, faux is fabulous.


'Our treehouse in the hills'

Here is what I found in today's LA Times Home and Garden. Perched high above Hollywood with spectacular views sits a small (looks bigger, huh?) one bedroom house with all the trimmings of mid century modern. The house was designed by Edward Fickett in 1954 originally as a weekend retreat for only $9,000. What a nice getaway! Read Chris Iovenko's inviting article.


Mid Century Modern Of The 1950's | 20th Century Design 1960's, 1970's

What Defines Mid Century Modern?

Mid century modern is a state of mind.
It was an era of mid-century modern designers, artists and architects who used their imagination to revolutionize design that we to this day admire and respect. Check out AreaModern for design ideas and inspiration.

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A reputation for building design

If I could ask one question...what is the inspiration behind the genius?
Architect Paul Rudolph designed the Arthur Milam Residence in 1962. This is one of many mid-century modern architectural designs being celebrated this weekend at a conference in Jacksonville, Fl.


Purple Onion Flowers

It's Sunday and I thought flowers (especially these) would be nice to start the day. Enjoy!


The House of Pleasure

The Pfanner House, by noted architect Zoka Zola, was built on an undersized lot in Chicago's East Village. This is perfect when your only choice is up! You really don't need much when a home speaks for itself. This is my ahh moment.
Ms. Zola's home was orignally featured in Apartment Therapy's 2006 "House Tour" . You can also read more about the Pfanner House in the new March issue of Domino magazine. Check it out and also visit her website. You won't be disappointed.
Home of the Year Award of North America. Here's why...


Flensted Mobiles Flowing Rhythm Mobile

On the island of Funen in Denmark, Flensted Mobiles, a family business, designs and makes mobiles that cover all facets of life. Relax, sit and watch the slow motion of a beautifully designed mobile enliven your space.
After spotting this bright yellow mobile and reading the intro above, I want one! It will arrive at your door fully assembled and ready to hang from Design Public.$48.00 Yeah!


Greta Grossman

"There is no sense in discarding the old merely because it is not new. So many old things mix in very well. So many good things are timeless". Greta Grossman

Set of six dining chairs currently available on ebay.