If you’ve got a thing for mid-century interiors, you’ll love Handcrafted Modern by Leslie Williamson.
No interiors are more celebrated than mid-century ones. To document these treasures, what else would you do than visiting the homes of mid-century architects and interior designers? That’s what author and photographer Leslie Williamson did and she did an excellent job at documenting creative homes as they were lived in by their designers. Handcrafted Modern is a beautiful collection of fascinating homes by 14 of America’s most beloved mid-century designers offering a nice mix of the overall picture of a room and personal objects and details.
We loved Wharton Esherick’s home and studio in the mountains near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, from the organic hand carved staircase to the iconic furniture. Absolutely stunning is Russel Wright’s home in Garrison, New York, a prototype of what he called modern living, where large stones are used for walls, stairs and floors. We are head over heels with the Eames House, also known as case Study House No.8, most definitely a modern icon. This impressive home is filled with books and a shows a nice collection of tribal and native art and textiles.
We talked to Leslie Williamson about her book and upcoming projects.
Leslie: I think if you feel a passion to do something and you listen to that voice in yourself, it can only lead to good things. The success of HCModern has been on many different levels and for that I am thrilled. So for me, it has worked. But I think it depends on what kind of success you are talking about.
Leslie: I am always asked this question and I never have an answer! There isn't one that sticks out in my head as the absolute favorite, because I love them all. I tend to be most attracted to the homes with a lot of light and openness, but I think you have to take the house as a whole, including the location. So whereas I love the Aalto House, Helsinki is not for me… In my mind I would cobble together different aspects of a bunch of the houses to make my ideal. But honestly, I don't want to own a house. Slightly ironic I guess…
Leslie: The model of this new book is the same as the previous book. I approached it as a continuation of the project begun in HCModern - looking at the homes and studios of Mid-Twentieth Century architects and designers. But Europe is so different from the US, and the houses are very, very different in my mind. So the feel of this book will be different from the first. I find it equally interesting, though. It is like HCModern is the younger punk brother and this new book is more the older brother that is graduating from college.
The NYT People Watching column actually grew out of what I was doing already. I tend to find people whose work I like or who are doing something that I think is unusual, and I go and just meet up with them and photograph their space and we become friends. It was never a big plan of my doing a book or a website or anything, I just love people who are passionate and doing what they love. So it was great to be able to share these people with a wider audience through the NYTimes. And I keep shooting more…Can't stop myself! It is too fun!
Text: Magali Elali
Video: Bart Kiggen
You can support Leslie on making her new book on kickstarter
Marble: Ivonne meubelen
Coffee mug: Kringloopwinkel
Flowers: yellow lillies
Rings: Forever 21
Nail polish: Only You
He exchanges cuttings with friends and saves plants that people abandon on the street. Say hello to Wilbert and his amazing city garden.