Modern Home Failures

The current popularity of the mid-century modern style is usually attributed to the TV series Mad Men. But the show is just a mouthpiece–a messaging system–for the zeitgeist that’s already there.

 

The source of heat lies deep in the cerebral cortex of a generation of 40-plus year-olds. These are the environs where we, as kids, accompanied our parents to the super-sleek savings and loan and marveled at concrete beams impossibly arching over vast floor spaces. Or where we visited Mom’s rich sister who had a low, flat home designed by an actual architect–not a tract home stamped from a cookie presser–dominated by a massive fireplace. Or where countless TV sitcom families lived among acres of glass and indoor rockery.

 

So it comes as no surprise that this generation, now adults, now parents, and now monied, would want to buy or remodel their homes to mid-century modern perfection.

Mid-century modern represented freedom–freedom from the bonds of gravity (cantilevers), from the restrictions of energy-saving (those acres of glass), from skimping on land (spread out the house on one level; no two stories allowed here).

And who doesn’t love freedom?

But if you’re considering renovating sections of your home, or your entire home, into the mid-century style, at least be aware of several beliefs of that age that later came to naught.

The first thing you notice with mid-century modern houses is that they appear to be built wholly of glass.

 

The Fail

 

Glass is a terrible insulator. The more layers and thickness you have, the better insulator you have. It also helps to have materials suited for insulation, such as fiberglass and gypsum. Even though mid-century modern homes employed thick tempered glass for its transparent walls and oversized windows, there are far better ways to insulate a home than this.