MODERN CLASSICAL

The modern classical house combines a stripped-down approach to classical detail with the glamorous, urban appeal of art deco and French Moderne.  Popular in Europe and America in the early 20th century, such houses are found in both residential neighborhoods and resorts like Miami Beach and the French Riviera.  Also called Greco-Moderne, these dwellings have stucco or white-painted brick facades featuring classical symmetry and streamlined details such as undecorated pilasters and engaged columns in low relief. Dating from the early days of air conditioning, these houses very rarely have porches but may include glassed sunrooms in the rear.

 

Unlike contemporaneous Colonial revival homes, modern classical dwellings are sleek and stylish.  They are glamorous places designed for posh parties and well-appointed leisure. Exterior ornamentation often includes a thin band representing the cornice, round windows, or balconies with slim French doors outlined by narrow moldings. Interiors reflect this reductive approach to detail with coved or geometric cast-plaster cornices and moldings that are pencil thin or not present at all.  Sleek materials like honed stone and polished hardwood cover the floors.  The spare ornamentation and spacious proportions of rooms that often open to balconies or terraces invite elegant decor, whether early mid-century or contemporary in style.  Living rooms might feature tautly upholstered furniture in silk or velvet or leather and chrome and even family rooms are comfortably chic.

 

The classical modern house is a sophisticated place intended for relaxing in serious style.