The Thompson Home

A Mid-Century Modern Mission

 

After 20 years of living in their 4,000-square-foot home at the foot of Signal Mountain, Rick and Susie Thompson began looking to downsize. The beautiful craftsman-style home, which was the first home the duo had ever built and designed together, had certainly been a labor of love, but the upkeep that came with the acreage and pool was beginning to take its toll. After purchasing two lots in North Chattanooga from Rick’s business partners, the couple got to work on what would be a yearlong design project that ultimately produced their mid-century modern dream. 

 

By Christina Cannon / Photography by Creative Revolver

 

 

front door of the thompson home looking out onto the front porch

 

 

“I grew up in a ranch-style home,” says Rick. “In the 60s, that was just the prevailing style, and I’ve always liked that linear look.” Rick took what was familiar from his childhood and married it with the mid-century style of one of his biggest inspirations, Frank Lloyd Wright, to create a one-of-a-kind place to call home.

Rick and Susie Thompson

Rick and Susie Thompson

As guests approach the Thompson home, the mid-century modern style can be seen in nearly every detail. Hand-broken bricks in a linear orientation comprise the façade of the home, while a signature three-foot overhang further solidifies the home’s style. 

Several sconces dot the front of the house, and their warm light complements the sandy color of the brick. A rain chain hangs nearby and is something Rick notes was in his plans for the home from day one and is loved for both its ornamental and functional nature. Even the landscaping, with its less-is-more approach, reinforces the mid-century modern style with its low and linear profile. The home’s front door, which isn’t visible from straight on, requires visitors to round the corner to discover its vibrant persimmon color. 

Immediately after stepping inside, it’s an effortless transition from the Thompsons’ foyer to their main living space. A small powder room to the left features a stunning walnut vanity that is outfitted with an asymmetrical vessel sink for an imaginative, albeit streamlined, aesthetic. Pops of brushed gold contribute to the warmth found in the rest of the home and emerge from the hardware, lighting fixture, and rim of the circular mirror. 

The shape of the mirror is repeated in two side tables in the adjacent living room, which effortlessly combines warm and cool tones. Silvers and grays can be found in two modern armchairs, as well as in the area rug, while an energetic cherry entertainment center plays off of a glass-top coffee table and two side tables with wood of the same color.

Nearby is the home’s kitchen and dining room. A small wall featuring artwork and a fireplace provides a sense of separation while still allowing for that open-concept feel.

“I tried to make this area work as one big open room, but I couldn’t get comfortable with it,” explains Rick. “Adding this wall not only helped keep the sound down, but it also gave the spaces their own identity and provided us with a little more privacy. Now, if one of us is in the living room and the other is doing something in the kitchen or dining room, we’re not distracted as much.”

In the kitchen, neutral colors and simple lines reign. The solid wood cabinetry that runs throughout the space features slab doors and drawers that sit flush with their casings. Efficiency is also front and center in this space, and Rick purposefully triangulated major appliances, which allows him and Susie to comfortably coexist when preparing a meal together. 

Quartzite countertops run throughout the room, and their subtle veining plays off of the pale gray walls that compose the main spaces. A rich wooden table just steps away seats four with a modern take on traditional slat-back chairs. Additional place settings are optional and can be easily configured when family or friends come to town, but for now, the setup provides exactly what the Thompsons need.

To the left of the main living space is access to the master suite. The generous four-foot-wide hallway is in proportion with the home’s nine-foot ceilings and works to maintain the balance that is so important for the mid-century modern style. While traveling down the hallway, which is cloaked in rift-sawn white oak hardwood, visitors won’t find crown or shoe molding. In fact, the entire home lacks these elements in order to show off its linear nature and extreme precision. 

Once visitors reach the master, they’ll see a rich cherry bedroom suite that matches other pieces in the home. A piece of artwork that hangs above the bed draws the color upward and was another important element for the Thompsons when designing the house. 

“When you move from one home to another, I think it’s important that you have a little something that ties the places together and speaks to who you are,” says Rick. “That piece was in our master bedroom in our last house, and I knew from early on that it would be in our master here as well. I did that with most of the artwork we own. I made sure I was intentional about knowing where it would go as we designed rooms.”

That intentional nature is also evident in the master bath, which builds a feeling of tranquility through a variety of elements. The gray walls seen throughout the rest of the home turn to a pale blue in this room, and leathered granite countertops provide a nod to nature with their textured finish. 

 

built in makeup vanity in master bathroom

 

A footless, freestanding tub rests underneath a rain window that provides both ample light and privacy. Along the adjacent wall is a large walk-in shower and makeup vanity rounding out the simple but elegant space. 

Regardless of where they are in their house, the Thompsons can take solace in the fact that they have created a home in a style that they adore and that every detail serves a purpose.

 

freestanding bathtub in front of a window in a bathroom with blue gray walls

 

“We’ve always dreamed of living in something with this linear, streamlined mid-century modern style,” says Rick. “We also designed the home to age in place and support our needs as we age, too. The dynamic of living here is very different from our last home, but I don’t think there’s anything we would do differently.”