Troy Winterrowd’s small town Midwest upbringing may have laid the foundation for his interest in all things modern. He hails from Columbus, Indiana, a city about half the size of Asheville. But Columbus is very big architecturally speaking — a modern design hotspot — with a collection of over 60 structures designed by the likes of I.M. Pei, Eliel Saarinen, Richard Meier, Harry Weese and other prominent architects.
Winterrowd left Columbus to study architecture, and moved on to work for creative firms such as Walt Disney Imagineering, Hallmark Cards and Sony Retail Development. He later ran his own modern art gallery in Astoria, Oregon. But it was in Asheville, a city better known for its Art Deco and Craftsman styles, where he chose to launch his blog, Modern Asheville (modernasheville.com) in 2008.
A reverent ode to modernism in the mountains, the blog is randomly experiential — one day readers may see a post about an inspiring all-Asheville-artist exhibit he spied while traveling, or a birthday tribute to Marcel Breuer, who designed the beautiful Weizenblatt House in Asheville’s own Lakeview Park.
While many posts are real estate-oriented, often showcasing new modern listings, the site also features modern-related events, local architects, builders, retailers, designers, fine artists, details on mod-centric American cities, and even a section on modern food and drink.
Winterrowd shared with Carolina Home + Garden his take on modern in the mountains.
At some point, everything has been modern. Mid-century modern is one classification with a distinct style and can be restricted to a period much like Craftsman or Victorian. Modern is generally defined by expansive glass to create a stronger relationship with exterior spaces, open floor plans that were often multi-leveled and shallow pitched roofs. I think Modernism on its own is generally related to the clean lines of the International or Bauhaus movements, which began in the early to mid-20th century, but for me surpasses any period, still influencing designers today.
Why contemporary styles work with our mountain environment…
It’s actually quite a natural combination, because Modern’s organic elements are stunning when paired with our beautiful regional sites. Here in Western North Carolina, our geography encourages an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. Plenty of people moved here for it!
Favorite Modern WNC architectural interpretation…
A post and beam with natural stone floors and wood ceilings that steps back and opens up to its natural surroundings. It’s been popular locally from mid-century through today, and a more earthy, organic Modernism that’s appropriate to our region.
On the durability of good design…
I just toured local architect Bert King’s home, which he designed and had lived in since the 1950s. It was inspiring to see that the original walnut kitchen cabinets are still in place, function well and are aesthetically beautiful and appropriate for the home. In a sense, they’re timeless, like all good design.
For more information visit modernasheville.com.