midcentury entryway with cigar pendant lamp
credit: Scott Hargis

Southern California is home to so many iconic midcentury buildings thanks in large part to the Case Study House Program, an Arts & Architecture sponsored experiment in American residential architecture. From 1945 to 1966, the magazine commissioned some of the major, cutting-edge architects working at that time, like Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, A. Quincy Jones, and Joseph Eichler, among others, to design and build inexpensive, easily replicated, and efficient model homes for the postwar housing boom caused by millions of WWII soldiers returning home to the U.S.

Not all of the original 36 Case Study designs were actually built, but most of those that were constructed are in Los Angeles, aka Hunker territory (another in San Rafael, Northern California, and one in Phoenix, Arizona, for good measure). Not all of those lucky enough to acquire such architectural gems know to carefully preserve the history of their home but when they do, the magic of simple post-and-beam construction may live and be passed on to the next generation, and the next, and the next. From California to Poland, here are 17 pristine examples of how to honor midcentury architecture.

1. Pasadena Paradise

2. Scandinavia Meets Santa Monica

3. A Midcentury Icon

midcentury living room and breezeway with classic, colorful furnishings
credit: Mariko Reed

4. It's All About the Furniture

5. Proof: Drama Leads to Good Architecture

midcentury palm springs tennis club exterior with potted cactuses
credit: Stephen Paul

6. Minimal, Earthy, and Amazing in NorCal

minimal midcentury modern living room and staircase with dark wood paneling
credit: Scott Hargis

7. Detroit Home Returns to Its Former Glory

midcentury living room with floor-to-ceiling windows
credit: John D'Angelo

8. 360-Degree Desert Views, Anyone?

9. Odd (and Useful) Objects

midcentury industrial-style dining area with exposed dark wood beams
credit: Stephen Paul

10. How to Work with Midcentury Browns

midcentury living room with dark wood accents and light-toned furniture
credit: Stephen Paul

11. Indoor Pool: A True Midcentury Must-Have

midcentury home with indoor pool
credit: Rafael Soldi

12. Texas Americana

13. Midcentury-Style Prefab Set in the Rocks

14. Always Keep the Midcentury Fireplace

original double-sided midcentury brick fireplace
credit: Reagen Taylor

15. Windows Galore!

midcentury living room with high, open-beamed ceilings and large wall of windows
credit: Lauren Moore

16. West Elm Does Midcentury ... and It Works

17. Here's How to Do Midcentury Style

classic midcentury cinder block fireplace with Danish chair and coffee table
credit: Joe Fletcher

Lauren McQuade

Lauren McQuade

Lauren McQuade is a writer, editor based in Los Angeles.