|image courtesy of arch daily , photography by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Phillip Johnson Glass House

| image courtesy of Ignant | photography by Eirik Johnson |

A drive from Hudson to Manhattan took us through New Canaan, Connecticut recently, which of course took us to Phillip Johnson's Glass House.   The tour was an inspiring lesson in some central concepts in mid-century modern architecture:

  Design used to create order and simplicity. 

Blurred boundaries between indoor and outdoor living.

Open floor plans that force harmony among the interior living spaces.

Thoughtful editing of furniture and art to complement the design.  

Whether you're a fan of modern design or not, there's always something to be learned by visiting one of the many mid-century modern gems that are open to the public. When visiting The Glass House, I found the notion of floor to ceiling windows functioning as "the world's most expensive wallpaper" to be extremely inspiring.  And a long wardrobe dividing the living space from the bedroom is a great idea to tuck away for a future home design.  

Bookmark our list of mid-century modern homes offering tours, and add one to your itinerary next time you find yourself in the neighborhood of one of these architectural treasures.  And treat yourself to a guided tour if you have time -  no matter how much research I do in advance, I always find I learn something new.  

stahl house los angeles

|image courtesy of Getty Research Institute, photograph by Julius Shulman|

West Coast

Schindler House - Los Angeles, CA

This house was conceived as a social experiment in communal living.  Each of the four inhabitants had their own room (or studio) to be used as he or she pleased.  

Eames House - Pacific Palisades, CA

Charles and Ray Eames home from 1949 until their deaths.  

Stahl House - West Hollywood, CA

Considered one of the most iconic and recognizable examples of mid-century modern homes in the world.

Neutra VDL Studio & Residences - Los Angeles, CA

A radical glass house built in 1932.  Most of the structure burned in a 1963 fire and then was re-designed rebuilt by Richard Neutra and his son.  

Taliesin West - Scottsdale, AZ

Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home constructed largely of local materials. 

Hollyhock House - Los Angeles, CA

Built for Arline Barnsdall by Frank Lloyd Wright, this structure was intended to be the centerpiece of an arts complex that was never fully realized. 

Wayfarers Chapel - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Not a house, but a gorgeous structure by Frank Lloyd Wright's son Lloyd Wright. 

Weston Havens House - Berkeley, CA

As an influential work of architectural significance, this house has been compared to Richard Neutra’s Lovell Health House and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.  Now it serves as a residence for visiting College of Environmental Design professors on the UC Berkeley campus. 

Watzek House - Portland, OR

Built in 1936–1937 for a lumber magnate, it was considered a major regional statement of Modern architecture.

Frey House II - Palm Springs, CA

This building was the architect's second home in Palm Springs.  It is now part of the Palm Springs Art Museum's collection.  

Modernism Week - Palm Springs, CA

If you really want to immerse yourself, visit Palm Springs in October or February for a week of tours and talks.   

 farnsworth house

|image courtesy of Arch Daily|

Middle States

Miller House & Garden - Columbus, IN

Commissioned by industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Simons Miller in 1953, Miller House expands upon an architectural tradition developed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Farnsworth House - Plano, IL

A historical house designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951. The house was constructed as a one-room weekend retreat.

Laurent House - Rockford, IL

Laurent House is one of only 11 hemicycle Usonians in Frank Lloyd Wright’s extensive portfolio of work. It is also the only home designed by famed-architect Frank Lloyd Wright to be wheelchair accessible

Taliesin - Spring Green, WI

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 37,000-square-foot home, studio, school, and 800-acre estate that includes buildings from nearly every decade of Wright’s career from the 1890s to the 1950s.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio - Oak Park, IL

Frank Lloyd Wright’s first home and studio (1889-1909) was the birthplace of an architectural revolution. Wright used his home to explore design concepts that contained the seeds of his architectural philosophy. 

Miller House - Columbus, IN

Commissioned by industrialist and philanthropist J. Irwin Miller and his wife Xenia Simons Miller in 1953, Miller House expands upon an architectural tradition developed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Weltzheimer/Johnson House - Oberlin, OH

Also known simply as the Frank Lloyd Wright House, the Weltzheimer-Johnson House is the first of nine Usonian homes to be built in Ohio, and the only non-Californian Usonian to use redwood.

Saarinen House - Bloomfield Hills, MI

The extraordinary interior, now impeccably restored, features the Saarinens’ original furnishings, including Eliel’s delicately veneered furniture and Loja’s sumptuous textiles, as well as early furniture designs by their son, Eero Saarinen.

Alden Dow's Home & Studio - Midland, MI

The integration of building and site truly exemplify Mr. Dow’s definition of organic architecture as the idea that “…gardens never end and buildings never begin.”

Frank Lloyd Wright Walking Tour - Oak Park, IL

Oak Park is home to the world’s largest collection of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. This tour allows you to view the exteriors of nearly a dozen of Wright’s structures.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trail - Wisconsin

This 200-mile trail through southern Wisconsin features nine sites chosen to provide architectural enthusiasts and casual visitors with a rich exposure to Wright’s work.



|image courtesy of arch daily , photography by Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

East Coast

Glass House - New Caanan, CT

The house, which ushered the International Style into residential American architecture, is iconic because of its innovative use of materials and its seamless integration into the landscape.

Gropius House - Lincoln, MA

Walter Gropius, founder of the German design school known as the Bauhaus, was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century. He designed Gropius House as his family home when he came to teach architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Manitoga - Garrison, NY

The former home and 75-acre woodland garden of American industrial designer Russel Wright, envisioned with his wife Mary Einstein Wright for their family.

Fallingwater - Mill Run, PA

The epitome of “organic architecture,” Fallingwater’s design symbolizes the harmony between people and nature. 

Zimmerman House - Manchester, NH

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house, gardens, and interior details down to the dinnerware.  

Pope-Leighey House - Alexandria, VA

The only example of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian style in the capital region, 

New Caanan Historical Society Modern House Day Tour

The annual tour features homes built between 1947 and 1949 – The Noyes House, The Gores House, The Kniffin House designed by the architects Marcel Breuer and Eliot Noyes, The Breuer House, The Glass House and The Rantoul House.  

October 13, 2023 — Laurie Furber