Famous Mid-Century Homes

| Filed under: Architecture

There are so many things I love about mid-century architecture beyond the clean lines and simple elegance. Whether it's a celebrity house or a filming location, I love to think about what a house was like 60 years ago. It's like a living time capsule. There's also the unique decisions that architects used to make. Like a home with a swimming pool running through the middle of the living room. Or a house that looks like a flying saucer sitting on top of a concrete post.

Being in quarantine for the past few weeks, I've found myself going through all the links and images I've saved over the years. It's oddly relaxing, and I've been able to distract myself enough by going through and organizing them. It's also given me a few ideas for new posts like this one. These are much easier to put together than my logo posts, so I'm hoping to get more up soon.

Frank Lloyd Wright Houses You Can Rent

  • Cornwell House

    Frank Lloyd Wright

    This is the only Wright home in Hawaii. Based on plans from 1954, it was built in 1995 on a 3-acre estate. The construction was overseen by Taliesin Associated Architects, which was founded by Wright.

    View on Vrbo

  • Schwartz House

    Frank Lloyd Wright

    Also known as The Still Bend House, this residence is a pristine time capsule. It was built in 1938 for Life Magazine's "Dream House" competition and is about a mile from Lake Michigan.

    View on Airbnb

Graphic Designers

  • Eames House

    Charles and Ray Eames

    Ray and Charles Eames moved into their house/studio in 1949 and lived there until their deaths (Charles in 1978 and Ray in 1988). It has remained relatively untouched since.

    View on Eames Foundation

  • Rand House

    Paul Rand and Ann Binkley

    Paul Rand designed this house with his then-wife Ann Binkley, who studied architecture under Mies van der Rohe. The Rand House and the Eames House both have a wonderfully cozy, lived-in feel to them.

    View on Sotheby's

Movies (Action/Crime)

  • Diamonds Are Forever

    John Lautner

    Sean Connery was thrown into the swimming pool of this house by two scantily clad bodyguards in the 1971 Bond film. The 9,000 square foot home was recently on the market for $8 million.

    View on Dezeen

  • The Incredibles 2


    Production designer Ralph Eggleston based his design for the 20,000 square foot Parr home on numerous Palm Springs residences and the Sunnylands Estate in Rancho Mirage, CA.

    View on Architectural Digest

  • L.A. Confidential

    Richard Neutra

    Vienna-born architect Richard Neutra was my first real exposure to mid-century architecture, and this house and the Kaufmann House are still two of my favorites.

    View on Dwell

  • Lethal Weapon 2

    John Lautner

    One of my all-time favorite action movie scenes is when Mel Gibson ripped this house out of the side of a mountain with his GMC one-ton dually. Don't worry; it was all special effects.

    View on Wallpaper

Movies (Comedy)

Movies (Science Fiction)

  • Blade Runner

    Frank Lloyd Wright

    Wright's iconic masterpiece, The Ennis House, has been in numerous films, most famously as the home of Rick Deckard. The temple-like mansion recently sold for $24 million after undergoing an extensive renovation.

    View on Dwell

  • Sleeper

    Charles Deaton

    If you've ever driven along 1-70 West from Denver, you may have noticed the Sculptured House perched high atop a mountaintop. Deaton also designed several sports stadiums in the early 70s.

    View on Knoll

Palm Springs Celebrity Homes

  • Bob Hope

    John Lautner

    The design of Hope's 23,000 square foot residence, which recently sold for $13 million, was inspired by the shape of a volcano. The current owner is grocery mogul Ronald Burkle, who formerly owned the Ennis and Elrod Houses.

    View on Curbed

  • Steve McQueen

    Hugh Kaptur

    The 60s are alive and well in the King of Cool's humble abode, complete with a floating staircase and rumpus room. He lived here with his then-wife, actress Ali MacGraw.

    View on Dwell

  • Elvis Presley

    William Krisel

    Elvis only briefly lived in this hideaway, dubbed "The House of Tomorrow." He leased it after his marriage to Priscilla in 1967, and it made an appearance in the film Blue Hawaii. It's currently open to the public for tours.

    View on Dwell

  • Frank Sinatra

    E. Stewart Williams

    Sinatra's Twin Palms Estate still retains its Hollywood charm, including his original stereo system in the living room. Sinatra built this house after making his first million with MGM, and it is currently available to rent.

    View on Luxury Retreats

Sports Stars

  • Wilt Chamberlain

    David Tenneson Rich

    Chamberlain was the NBA's first big earner and built the ultimate bachelor pad, dubbed "Ursa Major," after becoming a Laker. The triangular-shaped home was recently on the market for $18.9 million.

    View on MidCentury Architecture

  • Willie Mays

    Al Maisin

    The San Francisco house of "The Say Hey Kid" is relatively unspectacular, but seeing the original photos from 1963 with the shag carpet, plush drapery, and gold fixtures is truly a sight to behold.

    View on MidCentury Architecture


  • Beck House

    Philip Johnson

    It looks more like a banquet hall than a residence, but that's Dallas for you. The home is said to be a Texas-sized version of Johnson's Glass House Pavilion in Connecticut. It was recently listed for $19.5 million.

    View on 10210straitlane.com

  • Maceo House

    E. Stewart Williams

    Sam Maceo was an infamous Galveston crime boss in the 1930s, controlling the club and casino scene on the island. The architect for his Palm Springs style estate also designed Frank Sinatra's Twin Palms.

    View on Realtor.com


  • Chemosphere

    John Lautner

    Once dubbed "The most modern house in the world," this saucer-shaped home rests on a single 5-foot wide column. It's been in many movies and was briefly the home of Delorean-driving Troy McClure in the Simpsons.

    View on MCM Daily

  • Mushroom House

    Dale Naegle

    Bell's Pavillion is a guest house built in 1965 on the secluded Black's Beach outside of San Diego. To get there from the main house, you have to ride a 300-foot tramway down the side of a cliff.

    View on Abandoned Playgrounds