Orlando’s Obsession / New Canaan Moderns

10 March 2012

Dear My Former Professor Ellis Hanson,

One of my favorite classes I took in college was English 276: Desire. That class was awesome, basically just an excuse for you to put on bondage gear and give outrageous lectures about sex. I took this course my senior year so much of my time was spent sitting in the back of the lecture hall talking to my friend Matt about our impending moves to New York City and about how after tiring of city life we’d move to New Canaan, Connecticut to retire and live with our rich husbands and blond children.

I had no idea at the time how many glamourous mid-century modern homes existed in New Canaan, but apparently it’s a hot spot of modern architecture. New Canaan was the home to The Harvard Five, which was basically five fancypants Harvard architects that settled in town and built, like, totally awesome modern homes that changed the face of residential architecture forever.

Lately I’ve had houses on the mind. People keep asking me which style I like which is so hard because I love so many different kinds of homes. I fantasize about living in a cabin in the middle of the woods (like the one I grew up in), I fantasize about living in a cottage on California’s Central Coast (like the one in which John Steinbeck did much of his writing), and I dream about living in a Laurel Canyon treehouse (like the one I imagine Joni Mitchell writing “Blue” in).

Northeastern modern homes will always have a special place in my heart though, because they are so classic, each one their own work of art. As much as I love vintage items and piles of nicknacks everywhere in a home’s interior, when it comes to the exterior of a home I love rectangles and clean lines. Basically, I want to live in something that looks like a white box from the outside, a grandpa’s house from the inside.

Below are a few of my favorite New Canaan Moderns:

John Black Lee, 1952

Elliot Noyes, 1951

Alan Goldberg, 1977

Hugh Smallen, 1964

Hugh Smallen, 1957

Hugh Smallen, 1962

Victor Christ-Janer, 1953

Philip Johnson, 1945

Victor Christ-Janer, 1953

Allan Gelbin, 1969

Evans Woollen III, 1954

You can learn more about the New Canaan Moderns and see more pictures here. You’re welcome.


4 Comment

  1. oh yes, these one story houses are, to me, the best example of the first modern american home…how can one like or want a two story house after seeing these beauties…my children call them (because there are several back home) The Incredible’s house AND WE, AS A FAMILY, stop and drool when we see one…I’d love a 600sq meter lot (at least), a book with vintage floor plans and lots of money to build myself one (for xmas maybe!)… THANK YOU

  2. there a few pockets of really good mcm architecture. new caanan, palm springs and sarasota. it’s always cool to see how the modern idiom is translated into residential living as most the architects of these homes worked in large firms designing municipal and commercial buildings.

  3. Catherine Soria says:

    And they still look ultra modern today!

  4. another great post..thank you! I love reading your blog…

Comments are closed.