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By Joy Opp

When many people think of mid-century modern homes, California comes to mind. After all, this style is also referred to as California contemporary. However, beautiful mid-century and modern homes are scattered throughout the United States. One such location is Wheat Ridge, where unique examples of this style are peppered across the city.

Mid-century modern design emphasizes structures with large windows, open floorplans and a connection to the indoor/outdoor experience. Many mid-century houses utilized groundbreaking post and beam design that eliminated bulky support walls in favor of walls made of glass. Additionally, sturdy brick construction and low roof lines are typical of the more modest mid-century homes. 

Not only is architecture a striking feature of the mid-century modern homes of Wheat Ridge, but the style and furnishings are also stand-out features that need to be noted. Furniture is kept simple and airy with clean lines and geometric shapes. Heywood Wakefield, Isamu Noguchi, and Charles and Ray Eames are just a couple of the trend-setting furniture designers of the time, and their designs still sell for top-dollar in vintage stores and are recreated by the Herman Miller company. 

Development was in full swing in Wheat Ridge in the ’50s and ’60s, and as a result, the city is an unexpected treasure trove of mid-century modern residential architecture. The best part about the search for these treasures is they aren’t always easy to find – architects and builders were commissioned by homeowners leaving the homes sprinkled throughout the community.

For a few hours on Sept. 30, several homes will be open for you to walk through for stunning examples of mid-century and modern architecture and design.

On this tour, which takes place every other year, homes are specially selected to give the viewers a real appreciation for modern and mid-century style. The 2015 event drew more than 350 participants, and this year ticket sales are capped at 400. Proceeds from the event go to benefit Localworks, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the city of Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community.

In addition to coordinating the home tour, Localworks is raffling off an iconic Eames Chair valued at $4,500. Tickets are $25 each, and those interested in the raffle do not have to attend the tour to participate. The winner of this splendid chair will take home a special piece of the past that their family can cherish for generations.

Tickets for the tour are available for $30 in advance and for $35 on the day of the event. Tickets for the tour and raffle tickets for the Eames chair can be purchased at

Joy Opp is a Localworks board member and a Realtor with Live Urban Real Estate.