If you’re reading this post, it must mean either: A) You enjoyed Parts I and II of my 7-part “My Design Style Defined. Well, Sort Of …” series; B) Are a glutton for punishment and came back for more torture from Mistress Michelle or; C) You drank too much wine while reading Parts I and II and you’re not even sure who you are or what day it is. Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re back!
As a reminder, this is the non-sensical word we’ve been dissecting that best describes my own design style:
MID-CENTURY MODERN (OR MCM)
Again, we look to the nerds at Wikipedia to succinctly sum up Mid-century Modern (MCM) design as being “the design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1933 to 1965.”
My interpretation of MCM design style is simplicity and functionality of design pieces, sleek lines, minimalistic decor (NO CLUTTER!!), and ties to nature through use of natural materials and lots of windows. You can start to see some overlap in MCM with parts of the California Casual and Scandinavian styles we covered in Parts I and II.
I don’t know why, but when I think of MCM design, an image of Taye Diggs wearing some super fly suit jacket, tailored pants, a funky shirt, stylish eyeglasses, and the perfect fedora, pops up in my itty bitty head. Is it suddenly hot in here or is it just me??
ESSENTIAL DESIGN ELEMENTS:
SIMPLICITY & FUNCTIONALITY OF DESIGN PIECES, SLEEK LINES, MINIMALISTIC DECOR, NATURAL MATERIALS, LOTS OF WINDOWS,
AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE
So for this post, I’m going to do something a little different – I’m not going to break down each essential element. The reason being, when you see photos of MCM design, all of the elements are right there IN YO FACE so let’s allow the photos to do what they do best.
Simplicity is a defining element for MCM design and it’s one that makes this design style so popular. The furnishings and decor are unfussy, yet functional, but they still manage to pack a real one-two punch in a room because they’re so visually interesting.
For an example of how to incorporate a taste of MCM into your own home, take a look at the nightstand I chose for our master bedroom in the photo at the top of this post. It’s a very simple, yet functional, piece of furniture and is cute to boot (I added the brass hexagon knob for an extra “wow” factor). We only needed something to hold our lamp, TV remote, crossword puzzles and pens and this little table fit our needs perfectly. Plus, it doesn’t take up much floor space which helps make this room appear larger than it really is. It also incorporates the natural materials element (wood), which also adds some warmth and contrast against the crisp, white walls.
I also wanted the front porch of our farmhouse to feel fresh and modern instead of having the expected country rocking chairs (although I also do have those on the other side of what I call our “Jeckyl-and-Hyde” wraparound porch). Hey, I told you my personal design style is eclectic so don’t act all surprised …
I brought in some MCM design through the chairs I chose to be featured next to the front door. I snatched these stylish little guys at World Market for cheap at their end-of-summer sale. I bought the seat cushions on clearance at Pier One, and used my 40% coupons to buy each of the fringed pillows from Hobby Lobby. I rarely pay full price for anything. Ok, maybe underwear.
Here are a couple perfect examples of the simplicity and functionality of MCM design (both photos are of the same house). The bench near the landing is as simple as can be, yet absolutely stunning. I love that some foo-foo cushion isn’t covering up that gorgeous wood. The generously large sofa is sleek and minimal in design, yet it allows the Eames Lounge Chair (an iconic piece in MCM design) to brilliantly shine. Just look at all of the glorious floor-to-ceiling windows, doing their duty of bringing the outdoors in. And that gorgeous EFFING. FIDDLE. LEAF. FIG! Gah! This is design porn at its best, guys.
Image Source: Atomic Ranch
Image Source: Atomic Ranch
Emily Henderson’s (hands down, one of my all-time fave super creative interior designers) former home is a fresh take on MCM design and not a strict rendition and that’s what I love about it. I think that if every single thing in a space is MCM, it kinda starts to feel like the room is wearing a period-piece costume and “Mad Men” characters are going to come greet me with a smoke and a cocktail. You guys can keep the ciggie but I’ll take that cocktail, please and thank you.
Image Source: Emily Henderson | Tessa Neustadt, Photographer
Let’s take a look at the exterior of a Mid-century modern home, and you’ll notice MCM design is equally as fabulous on the outside. Is this thing a piece of art or WHAT?? When you see something like this while scrolling through Zillow, it just stops you dead in your tracks. There is no ubiquitous cookie-cutter feeling like the homes of today – each MCM home is so unique in its architectural design. It’s no wonder why these stunning homes continue to stand the test of time.
Image Source: Atomic Ranch | Kaytie Boomer, Photojournalist
And lastly, let’s take a look at a few examples of some stylish MCM-style pieces you can incorporate into your own home. If you’re feeling really adventurous and want some pops of color, Joybird has TONS of different fabrics for their furniture. They will even send you THE cutest little swatch kit ever. I still have mine somewhere – I can’t get myself to part with the damned thing.
I hope you enjoyed Part III of this series and you’ll keep coming back for more. Hey – if nothing else, it’s an excuse for you to open a fresh box of wine, kick back and relax. In the meantime, let that tasty image of MCM Taye Diggs marinate in your brain … ❤︎