Modern v. Contemporary Design

Dated: 01/29/2019

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‘Modern’ and ‘contemporary’ aren’t the same thing?


NEW YORK – Jan. 28, 2019 – Buyers may say they want a "modern" or a "contemporary" home, but those two words aren't interchangeable. So, what do they really mean?

Modern and contemporary styles share many of the same traits, but they're two distinct styles – and they often get confused, according to an article by Marvin Windows and Doors that sets out to clarify the two styles.

Contemporary tends to refer to architecture of today and, as such, it's constantly evolving. It could contain a mix of aesthetics, including traditional and even modern architecture. Contemporary homes are often characterized by asymmetrical shapes, mixed materials, open spaces, energy efficiency, curves or sweeping lines, abundant natural light and a combination of indoor-outdoor spaces that blurs the line where the indoor space ends and the outdoor space begins.

Modern, on the other hand, tends to center on straight lines and limited details. That's the big difference from contemporary styles, which use curves and sweeping lines. Modern uses sharper, very sparse lines.

"Modern design is a more honest look at what a building is – load-bearing columns, beams that transfer the weight, and not putting things in for decoration," says Rebecca Comeaux, an associate at Lake/Flato Architects in San Antonio. "It's still beautiful, but there's kind of a level of honesty and simplicity in the design."

Modern design is marked by rectangular exteriors with flat roofs; clean, straight lines with limited detail; open floor plans; changes in elevation, like split-level spaces; monochromatic color palettes; and spaces that have minimal decoration.

Source: "Modern vs. Contemporary: Do You Know the Difference?" BUILDER (2019)

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Mel J. Biondi

Born on the north side of Chicago and raised in Colorado, Mel started his career in hospitality at a very young age. Working alongside his family in their Colorado Springs restaurant, Mel was not only....

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