M is for Modern Architecture 

You cannot get away from mid-century modern style in Minnesota, whether it is houses, furniture or decor.

My introduction to this term was when we first started house hunting in the Twin Cities. I was familiar with modern architecture in general, so how different could mid-century be? Turns out they are as different as chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  If you love ice cream, they are both wonderful but the flavor is vastly different.

While these two architectural styles tend to have elements in common from clean lines and open floor plans, mid-century modern is like a time capsule that takes you back to Mad Men days with kidney-shaped coffee tables and Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chairs.  There are the quirky details to the houses like starburst door handles, snowball pendant lights and indoor brick planters. It captures the essence of the 1960s and 1970s, like this wonderful house.

Retro shops that carry the vintage furniture and decor from this period are everywhere including one of my favorites, E’s Emporium.

I’m all for fun and quirky, but for day to day living space, my style is more modern (which makes me vanilla in this scenario, not sure that’s where I wanted to go with that analogy). Think more timeless, less nostalgic, with floor to ceiling windows that create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor living spaces. 

To see some great examples of modern homes, check out the photos on Minnesota-based architect Charles Stinson’s website.

Now if you have a taste for Cherry Garcia ice cream, and chocolate and vanilla leave you bored, then you might be interested in post-modern architecture. The Weisman Art Museum on the University of Minnesota campus (pictured above) was designed by Frank Gehry, another Minneapolis native, who also designed the iconic Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Stunning and shiny, it is hard to miss this jewel when you drive by it on the Mississippi River. Gehry and post-modern pushes the envelope.

Hey, I’m an equal opportunity ice cream lover so why wouldn’t I enjoy all the forms of modern architecture here?

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