Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mid-Century Modern Architecture and Real Estate with Kimberly Lewis

The Bauhaus Modern and Mid-Century Modern period left a legacy of iconic furniture designs as well as a distinct architectural style of homes that are still in demand across the nation.  I spoke to Kimberly Lewis, real estate broker and an avid Mid-Century Modern fan, this week to learn more about this popular style of home where you are bound to find Modern Classics Furniture:

You are a real estate broker with @properties, but you also bring a passion and keen understanding of modern architecture to your consulting.  Could you tell us a little about your background and education?

I was an art history major in college. In the early years of my education, I took the prerequisite courses, covering the more familiar Prehistoric, Renaissance and Impressionist periods.  But it was American Contemporary artists and Modern architects that drew me in; I knew I wanted that to be my area of focus.

What was it that drew you to the Modern Period in particular while pursuing your art history degree?

I've always been drawn to the edgy art and visionary architecture of 20th century America.  Cy Twombly, Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler are a few of my favorites artists to this day.  The pioneering masters Mies van der Rohe, Walter Groupis and Richard Neutra engaged me with their ‘form follows function’ approach to shelter:  strict geometry, industrial materials, window walls and open plans.

This background clearly serves you well in your real estate work, especially in the Chicago market, abundant with modern architecture.  What would you say is the main draw for Mid-Century style homebuyers who do not have a background in design, just an appreciation for the style?

Much like Palm Springs, Austin TX and DC, Chicagoland MCM homes have a broad spectrum of styles, appreciated by many for their bold roof lines and exposed structural elements of wood, concrete, steel and glass.  Much of the modern stock here offers these exterior and interior hallmarks; some also include the passive solar energy of architects Keck and Keck and the post and beam construction of Joseph Eichler.

The niche market of modern style has readily available online and print resources for enthusiasts to learn more and appreciate the historical value, even without a background in design.

Would you say there is more demand for newly built homes in the modern style or for historical homes that were built during the modern age?

There is a market for both, although there is caveats to buying older homes that were built decades ago.  Renovating requires a team, a vision and the budget to do so.  There are homebuyers who are interested and able to restore these historical homes, and there are realtors such as myself who specialize in sourcing them. 

Often it is signature features of clean lines, open plan and expansive windows that draw clients to modern and contemporary styles, and these design fundamentals are becoming more readily available in new construction, at various price points.

Furniture is certainly another way to appreciate and live with the style.   The resurgence and demand for Mid-Century Modern pieces testifies to the genius of designers of the period.  The quality, Mid-Century Modern reproductions offered through the Modern Classics Furniture should be on every modern devotees source list.

A big thanks to Kimberly Lewis for sharing her insight and wealth of knowledge!  If you have any other questions, you can view her website or you can reach her at klewis@atproperties.com!

You can also visit any of the three Modern Classics Furniture Showroom locations in ChicagoBellingham or Dallas and see firsthand what has made this classic style a fixture throughout the decades!
Painting: "The Future Enters Us" by Sharon Kingston


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