Mid Century Modern Architecture in Pasadena by residential architect James V. Coane & Associates


The house is on a very quiet cul de sac in an old Pasadena neighborhood.
When I first met the clients on site to discuss the design of their home, their description of what they wanted to me was very simple. They clearly stated “Jim, we want a house that will allow us to feel very comfortable inviting Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin over for cigars and drinks.” To which I replied, “I got it, this meeting is done!”

Of course, there were a few more details that needed to be discussed, but that initial description was pretty much the guiding force of this project.

As a lifelong Angeleno, I have always admired the Mid-Century Modern residential architects such as Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, Raphael Soriano, and Craig Ellwood. Craig was actually a professor of mine near the end of his life. The Neutra and Soriano archives I studied intensely at my college as a student.

So, this Mid Century Modern Architecture home was a dream project for me!


Blurring the Distinction Between Interior and Exterior

We made sure to design fewer interior walls and include large amounts of glass which was all articulated in a classic courtyard plan. We made an emphasis on using simple materials, in a beautifully creative way. The making of this house is a continuation of the classic Mid Century Modern vocabulary which was established by the Case Study Houses and the work of residential architects like Neutra, Schindler, Soriano, and Ellwood in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

The plan of the home is very open and inviting. The living room and dining room are one continuous space, only separated from the family room and kitchen by a freestanding two-sided fireplace. An exterior covered balcony on the roof of the living room provide a place to be in the shade and view the entire property from above. Inside the home, materials used were flush walnut cabinetry, glass tiles, venetian plaster, wood and marble floors, exposed concrete, and satin nickel fixtures which help provide a cool and calming feel on the interior.



Interior design modern classics

The interior furnishings is as important to maintain the Mid Century Modern look seen in the architecture. Such pieces like Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s Barcelona chairs and daybed, the Noguchi coffee table, Hans Wegner’s Hoop Chair, bullet planters, Saarinen tables, the Eames Lounge chair and ottoman, and the Arco floor lamp all help to complete the Mid Century Modern theme. While also some more current furnishings and accessories make this a house of our time.


Mid Century Modern Pool House

The pool house is designed as a continuation of the main house. It can be completely opened up and turned into a cabana on a beautiful California day. A negative edge pool is the focal point of the yard from the children’s bedroom wing while the remainder of the yard is minimally landscaped with simple plantings and a large grass area for badminton.