Great Modern Houses Of The Mid 20th Century: Part 1

By Sklar Furnishings

Design Inspiration, Tips & Trends

August 2, 2017

The 1950s and 1960s were a golden age for American architecture, with architects working in a variety of styles to create homes that were very much of the moment. Some have become iconic enough to feature in movies and photo shoots; some are now museums, while others remain low-profile private residences. For fans of mid-century modern design, these houses offer an immersive experience.

The Case Study Houses

In 1945 the magazine Arts and Architecture commissioned eight architects to design houses to suit Southern Californian living conditions. They were each given a budget but had a great deal of freedom over style and materials. The Case Study project, initially projected to last eight months, ultimately lasted until 1966 and resulted in the design of 36 houses, by architects including Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, and Pierre Koenig.

Eames House

One of these Case Study Houses was designed and built by the Eameses for themselves. Eames House, in the Pacific Palisades, was originally called Case Study House 8, and was completed in 1949. The couple lived and worked in the house for the rest of their lives. It comprises two rectangular glass and steel sections and features a geometric facade with carefully balanced colored sections. Tours of Eames House are available by arrangement; reservations are required.

Get The Look – Sklar offers a variety of dressers that streamline the Eames design. Explore how you can add this landmark architecture inside your space.


Once described as “the most modern house in the world”, the modernist Chemosphere was designed by John Lautner in 1960. Its one-of-a-kind appearance is in part a response to its 45-degree building site in the Hollywood Hills, which led the architect to balance the octagonal structure on a monolithic concrete pedestal and install a funicular for access. The result is a fantastic oddity that bears more than a passing resemblance to a UFO. Chemosphere is privately owned by publisher Benedikt Taschen.

Expand Your Space – While your home might not be an octagon of windows standing 200m in the air, the best way to expand your space–making it feel bigger–is with mirrors. Experiment with the illusion of depth in your space.

Stahl House

Stahl House was another Case Study House, designed by Pierre Koenig and completed in 1960. As with Chemosphere, architectural ingenuity turned a badly sloping site into an opportunity for a unique design. This highly recognizable property boasts a boldly cantilevered foundation and glass walls on three sides, to say nothing of its spectacular views of LA. Stahl House is open for tours; reservations are required.

The Conversation Piece – A tulip shaped table or vibrant teal armchair may be the contemporary accent your space needs to reflect the Mid-Century modern movement. Browse our modern home accents to match every style.

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