Larry Akey had loved the north Lexington mid-century house where he now lives since he was a child, when his family would drive by just to look at it.
The house, built in 1959, was certainly enough different from the standard center-hall two-story colonial found on many Lexington streets. This house is very angular, including a triangle jutting up off the long rectangular hall. Next to the front door is a glassed, open area where the homeowner can display artwork.
The house was designed by an Ohio architect and then modified by Lexington electrical contractor C.C. Lee. The Lexington Herald published a story about the house, owned by C.C. and his wife Chris, in April, 1961. The couple had trouble finding furniture for the home, Chris Lee said, and had to bring in pieces from Florida.
"I guess you might say we stayed young because we were always looking for something different," said C.C. Lee, 91. C.C. and Chris, 88, who now live in Nicholasville, met Akey after they stopped by their former home.
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"We've been married 67 years," Chris Lee said. "We've moved 62 times."
Four years after building their mid-century modern home, the Lees moved to a farm on Cleveland Road.
Akey, a former nurse-anesthetist and owner of several Subway restaurants, bought the house in 2006. A few years later he decided to decorate his home in its original mid-century modern style.
Mid-century modern style features clean and sometimes severe lines, starburst shapes that suggest the nuclear age, chrome and Lucite, lamps with rocky bottoms and shades like something out of The Jetsons, colors in earth tones and turquoise.
"This stuff was poo-pooed forever," he said. "Both coasts suddenly decided this was the 'in' thing. ... I've always liked this stuff. When I was growing up we had friends that were all over this." Akey has an online store on Etsy, Atomic Conniption, that's full of mid-century furniture and accessories.
Akey has traveled around the country searching for and picking up pieces for his house, which he describes as "extremely harsh. The lines are very severe." If you saw similar décor on Mad Men before that show slid into the '70s, it's probably mid-century modern.
Akey's formal living room downstairs has a turquoise Kroehler Naugahyde sectional couch from 1958; nearby is a towering 11½-foot ear sculpture found in a Bath County antique store that is more recent, but it goes with the décor. A Carl Thore burnished metal pendant lamp came from Sweden. A "Sputnik" starburst chandelier hangs over the room. A pair of black triangular chairs complete the '60s feel.
Upstairs, at the top of a "floating staircase" — in which the stairs have one side open so that they appear to be "floating" or unsupported — is a family room and kitchen with a giant fireplace. A circular work surface and table once had a functional rotating mechanism.
A bedroom has flooring of brightly colored Congoleum tiles mixed with neutral and birch furnishings. There's also a black leather Le Corbusier lounge chair, shaped like a cube.
One window without window coverings features a nude female wooden sculpture by Florida's Gert Olsen.
The starburst symbols so popular in mid-century modern, particularly for clocks, represented the dawning of the atomic age, Akey said.
"It was all about the space race and the future," he said.