Built in St. Louis: Mid-Century Modern Architecture

Written by Josh McDermott

mid-century architecture st. louisThe St. Louis area is famous for its mid-century residential architectural gems. The clean-lined designs of William Adair Bernoudy, Robert Elkington, and Charles King (to name just a few St. Louis-based architects), began a design innovation tradition that changed the face of this midwestern metropolis. The area’s mid-century modern architectural narrative is one of cohesion and innovation, and one that many local residents are determined to preserve.

If you have any interest in local architecture and interior design, you’ve probably noticed the mid-century influences throughout the area. The mid-century inspired style resurfaced in the early 1980s and its popularity remains steady, influencing many of today’s design trends There are a lot of reasons it has remained so popular for so long.

The Appeal of Mid-Century Architecture

Mid-century modern is most closely associate with the architecture of the 1950s through the early 1960s. While people are most familiar with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, it’s impossible to overlook the contributions of our area’s influential designers. Mid-century modern’s strong influences are still present in home design today:

  • Bringing the outside in through large windows.
  • Open concept floor plans.
  • Contemporary design with crisp, clean lines.

Today’s designs, of course, reinterpret mid-century features with modern updates like sustainable materials and environmentally-friendly finishes, yet the overall aesthetic remains true to its roots.

Mid-Century Design Elements

Mid-century modern architecture is known for its sharp rooflines, angular details, and asymmetrical profiles. It’s a style that appeals to nearly everyone, though not all its features can be incorporated into a home remodel: certain elements such as the multi-directional rooflines do not work well with a traditional or Tudor-style home.

Other elements, like establishing a relationship between indoors and out, are easier to adapt. When remodeling a kitchen, for example, you may want to think about placing the sink and window in a spot that looks out over a particularly beautiful view.

The clean lines and simplistic, minimal look of mid-century architecture resonate with younger homeowners who don’t care for the more ornate details of older homes like the Queen Anne and Victorian styles. They like its timeless look that seems as fresh as ever.

Some favorite elements include:

  • Using transom windows to let light in while preserving privacy. They’re linear feel also makes a room look longer. They’re sometimes used above entries between rooms to increase a feeling of openness.
  • Installing windows high up in the wall of the shower.
  • Minimalistic décor decisions, such as walls with nothing on them.
  • Well-designed furniture pieces that feature high-quality materials and sleek lines.

The bottom line? Mid-century architecture is popular today because it still works. Wood and metal are always in demand and their look is ageless. Although it came to prominence during a certain period of history, it doesn’t look for feel archaic. The open floorplans feel modern, the ability to connect with nature is very appealing, and the use of natural resources fits in with today’s eco-conscious mindset.

Learn More

Design trends come and go, but mid-century modern is most likely here to stay. If you’d like to learn more about incorporating mid-century design elements into your next remodeling project, drop us a line today. We look forward to talking to you about all the exciting possibilities that exist!

For Josh, it’s always been about relationships. As J.T. McDermott’s 2nd generation owner, he believes nothing matters more than the enduring friendships that are built with the homeowners he serves. “If I can help both our clients grow and the team grow, everything else will take care of itself.”

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