Finding a MCM Home In Northern Virginia, where to look?

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September 3, 2021

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Ready to jump into the market? If you’re looking to jump into the real estate market and want a house with some design inspiration, consider a Mid-Century Modern (MCM) Home. Stick with a native to the area and I’ll tell you where to find a MCM in NOVA. You see more Traditional Colonial homes, Cape Cods, Ranch, Craftsman and the Modern Farmhouse around here BUT if you have an eye for MCM there are a few hidden gem neighborhoods that are known for this unique style home.

Hollin Hills in Alexandria VA is one of the best known areas. A little more about this unique community …

Just ten miles south of Washington DC, past the stately brick buildings of Alexandria, Virginia, sits one of the most remarkable communities in America.

Nestled into a rolling, park-like setting, more than 450 mid-century modern houses seem to float weightlessly in a canopy of trees. There are no traditional suburban houses here, and few fences or barriers of any kind. Instead, the houses — with walls of glass and clean, geometric lines — perch lightly and naturally in the wooded hillsides, as if they were part of the landscape itself.

Hollin Hills is the place to buy a MCM Home!

The place is Hollin Hills — one of the most beautifully-designed and well-preserved modernist communities in the United States. Built between 1946 and 1971, it was the brainchild of developer Robert Davenport and architect Charles Goodman, visionaries who wanted to bring a bold new approach to housing in America — and who believed that modern architecture could foster both community and, as Goodman put it, “the flowering of the individual.“we need more offbeat personalities, more people strong enough to stand unafraid and be themselves”

Davenport and Goodman turned these wooded hills into an “architectural laboratory,” creating a community both strikingly modern and utterly natural. Pared to an elegant simplicity, the houses have wide expanses of floor-to-ceiling windows to erase the line between indoors and outdoors, while the light-filled “open-plan” interiors create a sense of freedom and space.

And the architecture’s integration into the steep terrain remains particularly striking. The houses don’t try to dominate the landscape — they embrace it. Rather than being laid out on a bulldozed grid, the streets follow the natural flow of the hills, with the houses set at unique angles to enhance views into the trees. Fences are rare, and each property flows freely into the next, tying the community together into a green and park-like whole.

Now, seven decades after its founding, Hollin Hills remains a masterpiece of modern architecture. The winner of numerous design awards, it’s had a lasting impact on postwar American housing and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But it’s also a vibrant, living community of creative people in almost every field, from architects and writers to lawyers and physicians, drawn by the beauty of the architecture and the imaginative freedom it seems to represent.

Is it the modernist utopia its founders dreamed of? Maybe not quite. But as the architecture critic Michael Sorkin once put it, “Hollin Hills is one of the truly happy experiments in modernity … the kind of community so many modernists dreamed of, a beautiful place of social activism, love of nature, and potluck picnics.” READ MORE on the Hollin Hills website.

You can read more about the history of Mid-Century Modern Design with HGTV, but we’ll give you all of our favorite reasons to buy one locally!

Why do I love Mid-Century Modern Homes?

The designs are all about light, open space and a connection with nature. In most MCM homes you’ll find a ton of windows and sliding glass doors. And we’re talking BIG windows, on every wall, with lots of views into your yard. You’ll also find a lot of open spaces, rooms are not often divided up and seperated out, instead they tumble into eachother. Another common feature is a focus on geometry. You’ll see a ton of right angles, sharp lines; dramatic planes that go throughout the home. Essentially, you’ll be walking into a space meant to appreciate the light and views of the outside world, all the while feeling that you’re living inside of a designers head.

Best places to look for + buy a Mid-Century Modern (MCM) Home?

Holmes Run Acres located right in Falls Church has 350 homes in its community. Holmes Run Acres real estate features wood beamed cathedral ceilings, large brick wall fireplaces and walls of glass. It’s part of The National Register of Historic Places-designated-neighborhood.

Hollin Hills, just South of Old Town Alexandria has over 400 homes in the MCM style. This neighborhood has been recognized as one of the groundbreaking modernist suburban communities to be developed post-World War II.

Pine Spring in Falls Church. The 121-home community in Falls Church, Virginia, was built by the Luria brothers, who also developed most of nearby Holmes Run Acres. Pine Spring real estate features wood beamed cathedral ceilings, large brick wall fireplaces and walls of glass.

Truro is in a beautiful wooded community of nearly 400 contemporary homes in Annandale. The community’s parklands are owned and maintained by the Truro Homeowners Association and contain paved trails, a creek and several playgrounds.

Wessynton, located nine miles south of Old Town Alexandria, is a wooded community of 156 contemporary homes. The neighborhood features waterways that lead to the Potomac through neighboring Little Hunting Creek as well as a swimming pool, clubhouse and a playground for children.

I’ve lived in Northern Virginia my whole life, so I know the area in and out, and finding you the best home is a serious passion of mine. So, whether I’ve inspired you, or you’re looking for something else – I’m always here for you! You can shoot me an email at realestate@stylishpatina.com and check out my dedicated Real Estate IG Page over at @stylishpatinarealestate for more tips + news! When you choose to work with me, you get a Full-Service experience. I’ll take care of all the details – you just get to enjoy the search! So get ready for a painless, wonderful and exciting time!

Search Home in Virginia with Kelly Thompson, Stylish Patina Real Estate

Follow along on Instagram @stylishpatina

kelly millspaugh thompson

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For those of you that are new to Stylish Patina, I just wanted to say hello. I am a mom of four a wife and lover of business, marketing and all things HOME related.

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