Welcome to Retro Love Affair, where I blog about architecture, design, art, home decor, fashion, pop culture and more from the 50s through the 70s.
Thank you for stopping by.

Docomomo Tour Day Minneapolis 2013

Docomomo Tour Day Minneapolis 2013

All across the country this past Saturday people were touring (mid-century) modern homes as part of Docomomo Tour Day. The Twin Cities chapter organized a seven-house tour of some of the finest examples of modern architecture this city holds. Most of the homes were built in the 50s and 60s; the exception being a house built in 1981. Not mid-century, of course, but still a site to see. Let's get moving!

Below are the seven homes that were part of the tour. Only three allowed inside photography.

House #1

: Designed by architect Ralph Rapson, built in 1962

The original owner has been in the house since it was built. This stunning home in the University Grove neighborhood was recently sold. With only one owner occupying this house you can expect that the house was well-maintained and it was. We loved the layout, the large windows, the natural light, the clean white palette and how cozy the home felt. Read more about this house



House #2:

Designed by Lisl and Win Close, built in 1955. Interior photos weren't allowed and I didn't take any of the outside either. We could only tour the upstairs. 

House #3

: Designed by Thomas Ellerbe and built in 1959. We guessed this house would be quite wonderful, gauging by the outside. The only anachronistic detail about the outside was the half circle window above the square window (left side, above garage). Once inside, the docent said the half-circle window was part of a kitchen remodel in the early 80s. 

But that was all forgivable once you step inside and wow! — the lights, the brick, the panelling, the planters...

Planters on the inside that look like they should be on the outside. Very Brady Bunch, wouldn't you say? 

Here's a fact for you: the actual Brady Bunch home is located in Studio City, California and built in 1959. 

Coincidence? I think not. :-)

Image courtesy

Middle Class Modern

Gorgeous upper-level living room. Beautiful vaulted ceilings, mod lights and warm panelling.

The bedrooms have original parquet floors. 

Love the wallpaper in this bathroom!

Pink bath with carpet near the vanity.

Let's head downstairs to the basement.

Gorgeous brick with cutouts.

Love, love, LOVE this conversation/fire pit. 

Views to patio and backyard from basement.

Just one more shot of the planter. Oh, it was so difficult to leave this heavenly place...

House #4:

The fourth house of the day was a beautiful sight to behold. It was designed by Brooks Calvin and built in 1951. Everything was just glorious in this home. I especially loved the living room, dining room and den. The kitchen had an IKEA remodel at some point, but it fortunately did not detract from the rest of the house. Wish I could show you photos, but hopefully house #6 will make up for that.

House #5:

And now for something completely different. The fifth house we saw on Saturday was designed by James Stageberg and built in 1981. No pictures were allowed inside. The house screamed "whimsical" on the outside but the outside personality was not indicative of the inside. 30+ years ago the inside was much more colorful and adorned with lots of crazy patterns, as seen in an iPad-like slide show set up for visitors. None of that aesthetic exists today. I actually felt the outside paint colors did a huge injustice to the inside — which was modern, clean and fun to walk through. The current owners have been in the house four weeks. Let's see if the exterior paint colors remain...

Moving on to

House #6

. I was very excited to see this house! Designed by John Polivka and built in 1959 this home is sadly, very close to being a teardown. Several other homes on the same street are for sale. A couple teardowns have already been built. 

Look at those built-ins...

We fell in love with the angular lighting throughout the house...

Let's head upstairs...

Warm paneling everywhere and natural light throughout. I would spend most of my time here reading.

A long deck traversed the outside of the house to give a beautiful view!

The same angled light treatment in one of the bathrooms. The coordinated textures in this room are breathtaking.

Now we head downstairs to the basement...

I love this conversation area. I can see a table pulled up to the seats, making it a

great spot to put together a puzzle on a rainy day.

Handmade paper wall-hanging

Not my choice of textiles on the couch (looks like an update), but I love the whole concept of conversation pit.

 Looking outside from the basement.

Looking at the deck above from the basement.

 Let's head back upstairs and take a peak at the back...

Heaven, I'm in heaven...

This home is currently on the market with a listing price of $849,000. You can see more photos


sans all the people milling about. It would be a

tragedy beyond words

if this masterpiece by

John Polivka

is is torn down. I hope and pray it will be spared and someone who loves mid-century modern will purchase it and give it the love and attention it deserves. Wish we could!

House #7:

 The Richard S. David house. Designed by Philip Johnson and built in 1952. We were not allowed to take interior photos at this house, but if you know anything about Mr. Johnson (the same man who designed our IDS Center in Minneapolis) you can expect it was pretty amazing. It reminded me, just a little, of the Miller House designed by Eero Saarinen. Visit

this link

, scroll down about halfway and you can see a few interior shots. The original owner wanted a museum-quality space to house all his art with living quarters surrounding the "museum". The current owners are also art collectors, with an impressive collection that belongs in that house. A glass-enclosed atrium holds a huge ficus tree and shrubbery. (You can see this in the far right B&W photo at the link.) Bookcases stretched to the ceiling. The coffee table held vintage




magazines from 1954 with articles featuring the home. It was like walking around in a dream...

Below are snapshots of some gorgeous homes spotted in the University Grove area that were not part of the tour. 

Well, that's it. I hope you enjoyed the photos from Tour Day! If you feel inspired please check out the

MN Docomomo website

to learn more about the great work they are doing to preserve our architectural past.

Celebrate The Century Stamps

Celebrate The Century Stamps

Modern Embroidery by Ike Rosen

Modern Embroidery by Ike Rosen