This Charles E King’s Mid-Century House is a Declaration of Love

Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Exterior_Rear

Graphic designer Matt and his wife Misty are the proud owners of a mid-century home in South St. Louis. Matt and Misty, an interior architect, have spent many years as enthusiastic collectors of mid-century modern furniture. So, the search for the ideal home was a careful one.

As Matt emphasised, St. Louis has a pretty strong history of mid-century modern house-building, with quite a few architects having practised architectural modernism here. Even so, it took the couple quite some time to secure their home, requiring a rather dogged refusal to accept some realtors claims that what they wanted “couldn’t be found”.

Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Living Room
Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Playroom
Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Living Room
Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Living Room

In the end, it was through an acquaintance of Matt’s older sister that they finally got the lead they were looking for, a mid-century home designed by a noted regional modernist architect: Charles E King. Since then, Matt says, “it’s been a lot of fun putting the furniture pieces in the proper context”.

Asking Matt where his enthusiasm for the style originally came from, he cited the usual “gateway drug”, the work of Charles and Ray Eames. When he began to learn about their particular approach, he “got inspired on many levels”, but, he felt at the time “the most tangible way to celebrate it was by owning some of their pieces”.

Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Dining
Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis -

He expressed a particular nostalgia for “the hunt” for mid-century pieces which consumed him in the earlier years of his passion. As he told us: “I still remember my first ‘find’ even though at the time I didn’t know it was a “find”. I found this floor lamp that I really liked at a garage sale and took it home. Later I saw the lamp featured in an ad in Wallpaper magazine and thought I should research it to find out what it was. Turns out it was a Laurel floor lamp and we still have it.”

Since those halcyon days, he and his wife have, for the most part, given up hunting. After all, Matt said, “you have to be crazy dedicated and like standing in line when it’s cold and dark to maybe be the first one at a sale.” But with a genuine mid-century home, their enthusiasm for the style remains as strong as ever.

Matt Bell mid-century house in St. Louis - Exterior_day
Photos by Matt Bell

Indeed, asking Matt whether he and his wife had encountered any problems since living in the house, he expressed just one: “finding the budget big enough to match the size of our ambitions for the home!” With their background as designers, the details aren’t much of an issue.

What they’re interested in is not and not creating an atomic time capsule but tastefully updating the home. Do you live in a mid-century or modernist-inspired contemporary house and want to be featured on MidCenturyHome? Contact us: