The Mid Century Home with Atrium model in La Crescenta’s Pinecrest development is super cool- and tragically misunderstood. I’ve seen them used as oversized shoe rooms, kid toy storage rooms and dead plant graveyards.
We are huge fans of all things Mid Century Homes and I thought I would kick off Mid Century DIGGS with some inspiration and explanation for this underutilized feature of the popular Webb Wiley design.
Joseph Eichler was the first to design an interior atrium as part of his original design. The goal was to provide light without adding windows or reducing privacy. All living was focused on the back, with the front reserved for bedrooms and parking. The atrium helped solve the problem of getting from the front to the back in an attractive and dramatic way.
With that idea in mind, let’s take a look at Mid Century atrium homes that have sold in the Pinecrest development in recent years.
The atrium opens to the living room (straight ahead) and the family room. Some styles are covered with a lattice “roof” and others are completely open.
One of the most challenging aspects of the mid century atrium home is our unfamiliarity with the space. We have a hard time deciding if it is a private interior space or a public exterior space. Most people want the atrium to serve in a specific, functional space – a dining area or play area, for example.
The best use of the Pinecrest atrium is as an extension of the home’s front landscape. Think lush, potted plants, tinkling fountains and lovely places to sit, read or simply be. I do not have photos of this idea, but I will share one as soon as I can find it.
Other Mid Century homes with atriums might have a smaller interior atrium suitable for an interior garden or artist’s nook. Still others might have an atrium off a master suite – a perfect spot for a soaking tub.
I’ve pulled a number of decorating and use ideas for a mid century atrium on my DIGGS Mid Century Atrium Pinterest Board and if I see any great local examples you can bet I’ll add them!