Paul’s Mid-Century Modern Design Developed Over Time

published Jun 30, 2011
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Name: Paul
Location: San Luis Obispo, California
Size: 1,800 square feet (house) and 325 square feet (guest house)
Years lived in: 49 years

Paul’s home is filled with many classic MCM furniture pieces — such as the Eames lounge, Eames rocker, Eero Saarinen’s tulip chair and the Bertoia wire chair — which is mixed in with a great selection of modern art. Paul’s interior design has been developed over time to create a space where each furniture piece, accessory, or artwork is significant and purposeful.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-Century Modern: Clean lines with lots of light, attention to every detail and the absence of clutter. The house is a backdrop for the art of living and appreciation of one’s own artistic style. Furnishings are useful and not overpowering. Light furniture versus overstuffed make the room look much larger. There are many venues for each major living space. The connection with the exterior from each living space expands the feel of the house. There are many a spaces for quiet solitude. We find joy every day in the place where we live and consider our home a retreat. We understand that VLUH and EWT (very large ugly houses and extravagance without taste) is not what make houses livable.

Inspiration: Architects A. Q Jones, Gordon Drake, and Paul Neel. The California Central Coast is noted for its Mediterranean-like climate and a quality of light that matches Sienna. Equipped with this palate, the house was perfect for a light and airy solution making the outside seem to be part of the interior. Every part of the house becomes a thoughtful expression as to how we live. Careful and thoughtful crafting of everything one touches, sees or feels is important to our design solution. Not only is the house a place where art is displayed, but the house becomes a piece of art.

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Favorite Element: South facing glass wall with large overhangs lets the sun in during the winter and blocks the sun during the summer. Six feet of quarry tile adjacent to the glass walls is heated during the day in the winter, which warms the house at night. The glass walls make the exterior landscape a big part of the house; this also makes the house feel much larger. The exterior has become an outside room for us.

Biggest Challenge: Having the patience to wait until money was available to do what was right. We moved into what was then a small tract house. The house had good bones but lacked the light airy quality we desired. This meant we had to wait to remodel as money was available. In hindsight this was the best way to accomplish our goal because each change or each piece of furniture or art became something to be treasured for our sons as well as the two of us.

What Friends Say: Fun, Zen-Like, Restful

Biggest Embarrassment: Utility Wires

Proudest Elements: Detailing and quality of light. How original pieces of art are displayed.

Biggest Indulgence: Art and Furnishings

Best Advice: Good design takes time and thought.

Dream Source: Florence Knoll, Herman Miller and Leot Vanderveen

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Resources of Note:


  • Bosch
  • Asko
  • GE
  • Jenn-Air





  • Quarry Tile







(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks Paul!

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