HMH Architecture + Interiors bridged the past with the present in this ‘new century modern’ house in Boulder.
THE FEATURES THAT MADE MID-CENTURY MODERN DESIGN SO PERFECT IN ITS HEYDAY—SIMPLICITY, NATURAL MATERIALS, OPEN INTERIOR FLOOR PLANS, AND FUNCTIONALITY—STILL RESONATE TODAY. BUT EVEN PERFECTION CAN BE IMPROVED ON, AND THAT’S WHAT HMH ARCHITECTURE + INTERIORS SET OUT TO DO WITH THIS BOULDER HOME.
The firm has even given the design a new name: new century modern. “It bridges past and present, with simple volumes and a restrained palette of stone, stucco, and wood,” says Cherie Goff, principal at HMH, who was the project architect on the home, working alongside interior designer Leah Civiok. “At the street, with its flat roofs, clerestory windows, and asymmetrical front façade, the home takes its cues from the mid-century modern houses in the neighborhood.”
Of course, mid-century homes were smaller than homes designed today. But in both cases, the emphasis is on a floor plan that works with the way people live. Rather than tucking away a small kitchen, for example, the new century modern style uses it as the home’s anchor, sandwiched between the living and dining room.
Though the house is decidedly 21st-century (for example, it’s quite efficient, with good insulation, fewer thermal breaks at the exterior walls, and PV panels), it follows a number of time-honored principles of modern architecture: an emphasis on rectilinear forms with well-defined planes and clean lines; low, horizontal roof lines; floor-to-ceiling windows that connect to nature and let in natural light; open floor plans in the kitchen, dining room, and living room; and minimal trim and ornamentation.
But this new style also takes advantage of different floor heights and ceiling planes. “Some areas—like the music room—have lower ceilings and clerestory windows, to create a cozy inward space,” says Goff.