The appetite for midcentury modern homes never seems to abate—at least not according to the real estate agents who sell them. “The midcentury revival is growing and growing and growing,” says Louise Hampton, a real estate broker who works in the MCM-centric market around Palm Springs. “These homes definitely command a higher price.”
“Midcentury modern was one of the biggest home design trends in 2015 but has only continued to pick up steam in 2016,” says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow Digs home design expert. According to a study, homes with "Midcentury" in the listing sold on average 2.7 percent more and 40 days faster than those without.
Midcentury means more than just built sometime in the middle of the last century. It connotes clean lines, a home stretched out horizontally on the land, and big windows that blur the lines between indoors: simplicity, elegance, and naturalism.
As desirable as they are, even homes by the world's greatest midcentury architects aren't necessarily flipping fast. "It can take time to find the right buyer," says Keith Markovitz, a broker with HK Lane Real Estate, who represents the Elrod House in Palm Springs.
That's partly because real aficionados of midcentury modern homes know that keeping up, let alone restoring, a classic can be a money pit. Since they're so unique, there's no blueprint for exactly how much it will cost or how much time it will take to do right by them. Meanwhile, the luxury market has been churning a bit more slowly of late. On the plus side, if you have your heart set on one, now may be the right time to invest in a midcentury icon.
Wiley House, New Canaan, Conn.
The four-bed, five-bath Wiley House was designed by Philip Johnson, one of America's most important modern architects. Originally built in 1952 and renovated and expanded by Roger Ferris + Partners, it includes a double-height glass pavilion over a fieldstone base that harks back to Johnson’s famous Glass House, which sits just three miles away. Wiley House is set on 6.33 acres, with a circular pool, original diving pad, and a newly built pool house. Listed for: $14 million. 218 Sleepy Hollow Road, New Canaan, Conn.
Miami Vice House, Palm Springs, Calif.
Because of a preponderance of glass blocks and its Art Deco-inspired curved walls, locals in Palm Springs call this the “Miami Vice House.” The four-bed, five-bath, 4,581-square-foot home is in Old Las Palmas, which real estate agent Hampton describes as “the Beverly Hills of Palm Springs.” Originally built in 1954, it got “Miamified” by designer James Callahan, who added pink neon lighting around the property. It has several patios and roof decks, and many of the furnishings are on offer, as well. Listed for: $2.295 million. 520 W. Via Lola, Palm Springs,Calif.
Sedacca House, East Hampton, N.Y.
Charles Gwathmey, another of America’s most famous modern architects (see: the Guggenheim renovation), designed the two-bedroom, two-bath Sedacca House, known in the Hamptons as a “living sculpture,” in 1968.
Set on almost three acres, the 1,200-square-foot home broke the mold of shingle-style Hampton houses with its floor-to-ceiling glass windows, its spiral staircase, and dramatic geometrical forms, including a curved wall behind the kitchen and bedroom. The original marble dining table is still there, along with built-ins that fit the unique shapes. Hot as midcentury is, this place has been on the market for almost a year. Listed for: $1.995 million. 19 Northwest Landing Road, East Hampton, N.Y.
Earl House, Los Angeles
This 1963 Bel Air home was designed and lived in by architect Robert L. Earl. The L-shaped house, with four beds and three baths, sits atop a 0.61-acre promontory overlooking the city, ocean, and canyons below. It offers an example of one of MCM's most beloved tenets: the seamless transition between indoors and outdoors, manifested in floor-to-ceiling windows and streaming light. There’s a private yard and swimming pool. Listed for: $4.495 million. 1394 Casiano Road, Los Angeles.
Elrod House, Palm Springs, Calif.
The Arthur Elrod house is one of the most splendid of Palm Springs’ midcentury homes. Designed and built in 1968 by a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright named John Lautner, the almost 9,000-square foot, four-bed, five-bath home includes a circular living room with a concrete dome and an oval-shaped guest wing. Elrod, an interior designer, reportedly told Lautner: “Give me what you think I should have on this lot.” It went on the market on Feb. 1. Listed for: 10.495 million. 2175 Southridge Drive, Palm Springs, Calif.