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Modern Design...From the 60s

Posted by Paige Thomas ~ June 29, 2009

I recently went to my hometown of Fullerton, CA and happened upon a really sweet and interesting exhibit in the local museum. A retrospect of photos taken in Fullerton by architectural photographer Julius Shulman in the 1950s and 60s showcased not only some great black and white photographs, but also the original designs that inspired so much of the retro-chic look that is so popular among design bloggers and homeowners these days.

While some of the elements of the homes featured in the exhibit would never fly today (countertops with built-in mounts for your blender, for instance) many of the design choices struck me as incredibly modern. Especially the furniture, which I instantly recognized as pieces that are currently being recreated by such high end stores as Design Within Reach, and more mass appeal stores like Ikea.

twinpalmshousesalexander1957

(Via Palm Springs Art Museum)

I find myself wishing I could find some of this original furniture, but that's a slim chance. So I'll take what I can get, which is some tips for interior and landscape design. The retrospective showcased how minimalist living can be oh-so-chic. And in a time when the McMansion-era is in free fall, we should all be taking a closer look at the simplicity of designers of this time (i.e. Eames, etc.) and look forward to how these small spaces can inspire the homes of today and tomorrow. Homes that are a humble size, but are just as expansive, vibrant, and beaming with life as any larger luxury home.

Contractors and homebuilders might also find that the less-is-more design mentality might strike a chord with more homeowners than they think. While luxury remodels might bring in the big bucks, more homeowners might be willing to consider "smarter" remodeling choices that take advantage of the assets their space already has and that maximizes the output from a smaller budget.

allencabin

(Via Palm Springs Art Museum)

Looking to these homes of the past, from an era of homeowners who had to sacrifice through a major economic depression and two world wars, these homes were truly luxurious. In our own economic recession, history is indeed repeating itself with designs that have spanned a generation and are once again emerging and re-creating themselves with a new modern take that is a reflection of our own time.

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