It takes someone special to love a mid-century modern home with its unique angles, walls of glass and clean lines.
“People either get it or not,” said Eldon Daetweiler, owner and broker of Fresno Modern Real Estate in Fresno, which specializes in architecturally unique homes.
Mid-century modern homes were built from the 1940s to 1960s and some even later to incorporate modern design into city suburbs. The custom, contemporary houses are sprinkled throughout Fresno with maybe 15 in the Fig Garden area, Daetweiler said.
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The 2,746-square-foot Rialto Avenue home with circular driveway was designed by Fresno architect Walter Wagner for his own home, although he named it the Smith Residence for anonymity, Daetweiler said. Wagner was known for designing the Internal Revenue Center building in southeast Fresno, the Fresno County Courthouse and the circular garage at the corner of Inyo and Van Ness avenues, both in downtown Fresno.
The house was built by Fresno company Taylor-Wheeler, headed by Orville R. Taylor and Dennis Wheeler, which was known for its attention to detail and craftsmanship.
“You couldn’t build a house like this today” because of the material cost, the wood, and the architectural code, Daetweiler said. “It’s more of a piece of art.”
Carved wooden posts on a concrete block and a front door with a square-shaped doorknob welcome guests into the house, which looks modest in size and scale from the tree-lined street. But step inside and it’s like walking into church sanctuary with a steep ceiling, skylights letting in the plentiful Valley sunshine and floor to ceiling windows giving a full view of the pool and backyard.
The house has an open floor concept with wood beams on the ceiling, a couple ceiling fans and a tall fireplace with copper head that the current owners discovered under black paint, Daetweiler said. Next to the fireplace is an indoor planter with lush green plants growing.
The owners removed a wall that separated the living area from the kitchen but kept an original screen that can slide out and separate the rooms for privacy. The remodeled kitchen has sleek modern cabinets with a tile backsplash and children’s table incorporated into the counter. The owners kept the 1950s-era warming drawer.
“It looks like a robot,” Daetweiler said.
One of the three bedrooms is located off the living room, but it’s more of a study than a sleeping area. The master bedroom and the third bedroom are located on the other side of the house, which is accessible through a hallway with large windows covered in plantation shutters.
The bathroom and the master bath have doors that lead to a small private patio at the front of the house. The owners had planned to extend the house toward Rialto Avenue as their family grew, but ended up moving to another house instead, Daetweiler said.
A large pool and spa take up much of the backyard, but there is a wooden swing set for children, a horseshoe pit, an outdoor kitchen and covered patio with gas fireplace.
Mid-century modern homes are like “driving a classic car,” Daetweiler said. “You put up with the idiosyncrasies of coolness for the creature comforts.”
Address: 750 E. Rialto Ave., Fresno
Size: 2,746 square feet
Details: Mid-century modern architecture with open floor plan, soaring ceiling with wood detail, copper hood on fireplace, spacious kitchen with children’s table connected to counter, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and landscaped backyard with pool, spa, swing set, horseshoe pit, outdoor kitchen and covered patio with gas fireplace.