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74 midcentury modern houses in Salt Lake City – driving tour with Mony Ty

midcentury modern salt lake city


Midcentury modern houses galore in Salt Lake City… Serene, uncongested neighborhoods that read, to me, like the Southern California utopia of the 1960s:  Oh my gosh, who knew? I was recently in Salt Lake City for a blogging conference and arrived a day early to take up real estate agent Mony Ty’s gracious offer of a driving tour of Salt Lake City’s midcentury modern neighborhoods. Ten years ago, Mony began specializing in midcentury modern real estate. You will recall, we first “met” him, when he gave me permission to feature his photos of Dean Gustavson’s 1957 time capsule house with a private observatory. During our afternoon together I learned that, today, Mony has curated a rolodex (remember those?) of about 1,000 notable examples of midcentury modern houses in Salt Lake City. And his standards are tougher than mine — I am betting that if you include all the cute midcentury modests and kitschy moderns, we are talking, what?, 10,000 fantastic midcentury houses, all cloistered in very drivable neighborhoods. Mony and I drove around for about four hours on a cold, kind of cloudy January day (great for taking photos). The mid mod houses went on and on and one — just like the cold clear beautiful mountain desert sky.

My overall impression: Amazement. I was born and raised in Southern California in the 1960s — Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista, it hardly got any better. And to me, 40 years later, these Salt Lake City neighborhoods — and their overall easy, expansive feel — remind me of those early Southern California days, before SoCal became overrun with freeways, endless subdivisions and smog. These eminently “collectible” midcentury houses in SLC also seem to be way way cheaper. And they are Gorgeous.

Mony drove me through three Salt Lake City neighborhoods built in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It was house after house after house after house of beautiful, generally unremuddled midcentury loveliness, modern and “modest” alike.

notice the roofline!

Every style and detail you could possible imagine — international, MCM, prairie Frank Lloyd Wright, colonial, cape, storybook ranch, Cliff May ranch, flat roof, butterfly roof, ski jump roof… on and on it goes it terms of ideas and inspiration straight from the way-back-midcentury-time-machine. I jumped online to see if I could read about this seemingly rapid-fire build up of gorgeous midcentury modern homes in Salt Lake Cities in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s — but I could find no articles. I’d love to include a link here, if someone can find one. I am so curious: Why so many gorgeous examples?

I’ll say it again: The midcentury houses went on and on — just like the cold clear beautiful mountain desert sky. I took 300 photos. 81 presented today –>

Above #5.

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Above: #20. Note: This is the same house as #4 photo — note the amazing ski jump roofline in photo #4. In this photo, you can see the clerestory window design supporting that roofline. Must be amazing to see inside.

Above: #21. Same house as #4 and #20. Love the mix of materials.

Above: #22.

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Above: #26. Roy Lichtenstein style garage door mural.

Above: #26: House built right into a rock.

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Midcentury modern Salt Lake City

Above: #64.

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 Above: #81.

Now wasn’t that fun?

SUPER MEGA THANKS to Mony Ty, Salt Lake City midcentury modern real estate agent extraordinaire, for graciously taking me on this amazing tour. I have to admit, I kept thinking he would say, “I have to get back to work now, Pam” but no, we just kept driving.

Now that I have incited all readers to immediately move to Salt Lake City, please be sure to buy from Mony. Here is his real estate homepage. And, while you’re on his site, be sure to check out his listings.

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  1. Christine Walker says:

    It is too bad that while you were here, you were not made aware of a Mid Century Modern neighborhood in West Valley City; Westshire Research Homes, located between 2400-2700 West and 3900-4100 South. Architect Ron Molen; his designs, all unique in their own way can be identified through out the Salt Lake Valley and some completely preserved. Look him up, you will be glad you did. Maybe it’s time for another visit. I too am a Realtor and I know I can get you inside these homes for a real look.

  2. I love Westshire! Ron Molen also did a neighborhood in Cottonwood Heights (just north of Bengal Blvd and East of 3500 E) called Sherwood Hills. I love the sense of community and homeowner pride he has created with both neighborhoods.

  3. Lynda Peterson says:

    I grew up in this exact neighborhood. It wasn’t so bourgeois in the 80s. It was a great neighborhood for rentals. We still had the original appliances that didn’t work very well. My mom put souvenir coffee mugs up in the windows near the roofline. It was a nice neighborhood and I learned to drive a standard really well because it had speed bumps and deep dips.

  4. mitch boehm says:

    Really enjoying all this discussion about MCM homes in SLC and Mr. Molen and, specifically, the Sherwood Hills neighborhood. My mother and father, bless them, bought a Molen-designed A-frame for our family in the summer of 1980, and I spent five wonderful years in it while attending the U of U. I left for LA in ’85 (a job I couldn’t pass up) but today, 35 years later, I’m back in this lovely house, which I’ve just finished restoring and (slightly) remodeling. It’s been a labor of love, and if course I’m always looking for more info on Sherwood Hills and Molen’s work. Anyway, thanks!

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