In the past five years, Leslie Williamson, a San Francisco photographer, traveled throughout the country to see how 14 midcentury designers, architects, artists, and craftsmen designed and decorated their own homes. The result is Handcrafted Modern: At Home With Mid-Century Designers (Rizzoli), an incredibly intimate peek into the daily lives of architects, woodworkers, and furniture collectors, whose homes seem to be perpetually heaped with just the right amount of clutter.
From Eva Zeisel’s crafty outpost to Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus house, the designers use their homes to exercise the mediums that they work in, with their experimental pieces prominently displayed throughout the house. Perhaps the most notable talent for each of the creatives is their keen ability to mix and match: Folk art collections share square feet with modern furniture, clean lines provide a backdrop for freeform abstract art. We also get to see their workspaces, either desks stacked with inspiration, or entire workshops with the walls ringed with tools.
No matter how grandiose or elegant the buildings and accessories that these designers were busy creating for the public, it seems like these designers were content to live comfortably and sensibly in their own private lives. Williamson’s photos show evidence of real people living creatively in real homes.