Mid-Century Midwest Modern

I spent the weekend in Racine, Wisconsin visiting my grandparents’ perfect little mid-century modern ranch house.  Its on the other side of the state so I don’t get over there as often as I’d like any more but I was there last weekend too.  And I’ll be back next weekend.  My reason is a sad one; my grandfather, Arthur J. Hansmann, passed away early Saturday morning.  The whole family has been gathering to help out my grandmother and now to plan a funeral.

Being in the house without him felt so strange.  I found myself seeing it with new eyes.  Its such a time capsule – maybe not quite of 1953 when they moved in but probably of no later than 1960.  When they had to replace the carpet a few years ago, my grandparents carefully sought out what must be the only orange shag left in circulation and snapped it up.

My grandfather was a patent attorney for fifty eight years – he was practicing until just a few weeks ago.  I never really thought about the cross over between that and my architecture until now.  This was his drafting desk.

He patented this breezeway to the garage and built it, and the garage, with his dad so he could turn the original garage into a ballroom dance practice room.

I guess maybe I know more where I get my hands on inclinations from now.

When I was little I used to stare at this wallpaper and imagine myself taking a trip along the road in a coach.  (By the way, the photographs leaning up against the wall are all of George and Laura Bush – deep sigh).  My parents find the whole setup tacky and frumpy but (with the notable exception of those pictures) I love it.  Its the epitome of Mid Century Modern, from the chairs to the curtains to the lamp.  I’ll miss it dreadfully when its no longer a part of our family.

4 responses to “Mid-Century Midwest Modern

  1. Looking at it through your eyes, I realize that it is a perfect time capsule.
    Thanks for the revelation.

    • That’s how the kitchen looked on Saturday – I cleared it off and we all had dinner around it. For the first time since I was about eleven as far as I can recall. It was a very strange feeling.

  2. Pingback: ART HANSMANN: 87 YEARS OF LIFE LIVED SMALL « Digging in the Driftless·

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