One of my most favorite things to do is to read interior design magazines, blogs, and books. After sleep, it’s my favorite stress management tool. When I am overwhelmed with all I have to do, I can be found standing at my kitchen counter in front of my laptop, scrolling through blog after blog of dazzling light-filled spaces, stunning homes, and unusual buildings. On Instagram, I follow interior designers, museums, and artists so my downtime is filled with beauty. When the work-a-day life is too much, I dream about a new career as an interior design. I hoard Elle Décor, House Beautiful, Domino, and other shelter magazines in my guest bathroom, stacking them up in a tall pile that threatens to break the countertop on which they rest. When my husband once innocently suggested I recycle the ones I “didn’t need anymore,” I looked at him, aghast. Having never forgiven myself for getting rid of the original Domino magazines, I hold on to these new ones like they are solid gold.
Interior design books are a new addition to my collection. Not only do they fuel my wishful thinking, but they are gorgeously published, perfect for displaying in color-coordinated piles in my living room and den. The newest addition to my library arrived at Christmas, a gift from my husband (and a gift I gave my brother for the same holiday, our family’s twist on The Gift of Magi). The book is Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape, written by Peter McMahon and Christine Cipriani.
The book first piqued my interest because of its focus on two things I love: Cape Cod, the place where my husband grew up and where we were married, and midcentury design. For the past four years, I have lived with my family in a home designed in 1959 and built in 1960, at the height of midcentury movement. (For a quick primer on midcentury modern design, see this summary.) I have long gravitated to this period and was looking forward to exploring Cape Cod Modern to expand my knowledge and to find inspiration as we prepare for renovations to our home.
It’s a fabulous book. Stunningly photographed and rich in history, the book captures a time of artistic expression that is not especially well known. Consulting archives from libraries, universities, the Cape Cod Modern House Trust, and other sources, McMahon and Cipriani uncover never before seen stories, personal photographs, and information about the rich midcentury architectural legacy of the outer Cape, with a focus on Wellfleet and Truro.
In a fortuitous stroke of luck, I was able to attend a lecture about the book given by the authors last week. Sponsored by the Friends of Modern Architecture in Lincoln, the talk was held on a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Lincoln Public Library and had a great turnout. Everyone present had a real appreciation of modern architecture, with enthusiastic support for the book and its goal of capturing a special time in the field of architecture and design.
What I love best about design and architecture is that they speak to more than just pretty spaces. They capture the philosophy and asethetic of a time and place. They tell the story of people who may no longer be with us, giving us a window into our shared past. And they inspire and encourage new ways of thinking and living.
My homework now that I have read the book is to take one of the modern home tours sponsored by the Cape Cod Modern House Trust; it’s on my 2015 bucket list!
If you’re interested in architecture, Cape Cod, or midcentury modern design, I encourage to check out Cape Cod Modern: Midcentury Architecture and Community on the Outer Cape.
Disclosure: I love this book and just wanted you to know about it! This post does have an affiliate link; learn more here.