“For a while people were just tearing them down, but people are seeking them out now — they’re the anti-McMansion,” says Ellen Hilburg, co-founder of the real estate resource Mid Century Modern Hudson Valley. “For some people, it’s a nostalgia factor. But Millennials are discovering them, too. It’s an aesthetic that appeals to people who are aware and environmentally conscious.”
There are a number of pieces of this story that suggest preferences for modernist homes are tied to particular traits of the homeowner or observer:
1. A higher social class.
2. Higher levels of education.
3. Rejection of consumerism and the implied materialism and conformity that goes with it.
4. An interest in the “cool” factor of a home.
5. Living in a community – such as a wealthy, middle to upper-class suburb – where modernist homes are present and accepted.
Putting these categories together, there may indeed be a slice of Americans who prefer modernist homes. But, this also sounds like a taste connected to cultural capital, to invoke Bourdieu. In other words, expressing a preference for modernist design is connected to social class and education that not all Americans have access to.