A tall brick fireplace was the star of this model midcentury living room

Tall brick fireplace model midcentury living room (1966)
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One of the most beautiful features of this home was the tall brick fireplace that sat beneath the living room’s high cathedral ceilings.

This mid-century model home in Downer’s Grove, Illinois, was decorated by the team at Better Homes & Gardens magazine back in 1966.

The fireplace column emphasized the ceiling’s height and partially screened the dining-study area behind. Beyond were the family-dining room and kitchen, which could be closed off with sliding doors.

With lots of floor space and two uncluttered walls, the living room furniture arrangement was meant to be flexible. The conversation area had plenty of seating, but it was compact enough for intimate groups.

Unlike many homes that were built in the sixties, this house has maintained much of its original character.

Based on the original magazine article, we looked up the address, and were able to see how this same living room — in particular, the high ceilings and tall brick fireplace — looked when it was sold in 2021.

2021 midcentury modern fireplace and living room 1960s-gigapixel
This living room in 2021 – Photo from MLS via Zillow

More from 1966: This soaring, open cathedral ceiling was not a costly decorating stunt — it was an engineering feature that provided more value and beauty for the construction dollar.

ALSO SEE: Don’t miss this dramatic retro living room with a high curved wood ceiling

The roof-ceiling system, called a “folded plate,” was made of 2×8-inch rafters and carefully nailed sheets of 3/8-inch plywood, instead of the posts and beams used on most roofs.

It was so sturdy that the only supports required for the 26-foot span were posts at each corner of the room. Traditional construction would have needed more supports, limiting the glass area at the rear of the house.

Tall brick fireplace model midcentury living room (1966)
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