15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes that will Kill Your Children

The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.

Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).


We can be reasonably certain that none of these children reached adulthood.

As a public service, Projectophile is alerting its readers to the dangers posed by key elements of mid-century modern residential design.


I love open, flowing space as much as the next modern girl. But I know it would only be a matter of minutes before my kid flings himself off one of these deadly ledges…


Red arrows show the direction of travel of children’s bodies


What four-year-old can resist that hidden nook?

ledge4-read arrow

That’s going to require at least ten stitches.


Where are all the children? Probably under that ledge, unconscious.

Someone needs to call protective services on this place, because this stylish modern mother is too absorbed in her reading to notice that all her children have fallen into the living room garden:



First of all, make sure your kid wears her helmet when she inevitably climbs up, and then falls of of, this rock formation in your dream living room.


Be sure to check those crevices for rabid bats.

 As soon as you turn around to fetch the marshmallows, Junior is going to stumble right into that open fireplace (and stumble out with some third-degree burns).  And watch out for that mysterious little nook on the right!

fireplacew-arrow2The use of indoor reflecting pools creates a calm and deadly space in your modern dream home:

blackandwhitepoolofdeathChildren in mid-century modern homes are advised to wear flotation devices at all times. This glamorous couple has no idea what danger lurks in that strangely-placed reflective pool.

indoor reflecting pool white circle1

“Darling, why is it suddenly so quiet in there?”

And for goodness sake, don’t send your kids trick-or-treating near this Mid-Century Modern fortress:



Nothing is more un-modern than an unsightly railing on your stairs. To add extra danger to your mid-century staircase, twist the stairs into a dramatic 180-degree turn, or simply make the angle of the stairs extra steep.


deathstairs3(Hey, aren’t these just a bunch of IKEA Lack shelves nailed to a wall?)


These extra-dangerous stairs lead right to the ceiling, guaranteeing a concussion for your curious child.

These soaring, multi-story bannisters add a touch of safety, but you know my kid would totally get her head stuck in between them. Keep a crowbar handy to pry her free…

deathstairs6The mid-century dream house below comes with its own on-site medical team, in the very likely event that your children will either drown, fall, slip on those mossy stairs, or impale themselves on a rock.


Or maybe that’s dried blood I see on those stairs?

If you care about your children’s safety, perhaps you’ll want to settle down in a late Georgian colonial revival.


659 thoughts on “15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes that will Kill Your Children

  1. Those 180 degrees turn stairs; are very common in the Netherlands. Due to lack of space we have often resort to this type of stairs. Sometimes the lack of space leaves no other solution. A pond in a home, certainly if you have small children, not common sense. Outside the home. Due to a lot of rivers, lakes, canals etc. in the Netherlands everywhere, most children learn to swim at a very young age. Many of these houses in those pictures offer dangerous situations however a danger free house/environment is whishful thinking.

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    • True?
      I think being overprotective and ‘preventing all hurt’ is way more dangerous. I grew up in a house with open fire, don’t remember ever being dumb enough to put my hands in there. The well meaning parents preventing children from doing ‘anything’ could well be a contributory factor in various mass shooting/suicides over the last 30+yrs? Knowing the difference between right and wrong the ‘hard way’ may be a difficult lesson but definitely worthwhile.

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      • um mm…. okay first of all all its saying is that if you put these kinds of things in a house were children live they could accidentally fall through the stairs and die from hitting their heads. because lets face if a kid falls through those micro stairs that you knew were unsafe but still put their means you basically hurt your child. point blank it is not the kids fault it has stupid parents that don’t care about its safety and toddlers don’t need their freedom their literal babies that need to be looked after now i under stand the teen scenario but the parent would feel terrible if they killed their own kid. Its just a matter of fact no matter what you want if you want to have houses like this. Fine you do you but do not let the child get hurt because of a dumb ass parents decision. also my parents are protective and my house is safe and i don’t want to commit suicide of become a serial killer so i think my parents did a pretty bang up job protecting me and that is literally the job of a parent TO PROTECT THEIR KID. So YOU may be suicidal but i’m not because that has nothing to do with parents you make your own choices as you get older and finally understand FACTS.


  6. This is brilliant. I’m very interested in architecture and in fact my family had stairs not too far off in design from the second last one (it had a slide-y banister as well for extra fun instead of those long bars) which as children we would often swing from and I still think those stairs are cool, even if potentially dangerous! Great post : )


  7. So… remind me again, why would a kid jump off a roof? Are some people’s kids really that dumb? I mean, if they’re under 2, you could just keep them out of said dangerous areas. I don’t see these as much of a problem. Stairs without railings are probably more deadly for the elderly than kids.

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  8. Reblogged this on sorysworld and commented:
    I came across this post and I cannot stop laughing. I personally do not have children, so worrying about safety would probably come in last place if I ever decided to buy a house. I do love open spaces and modern architecture though. Some, if not all, of the design aspect show on this article are of my liking, but know I am questioning how ready I actually am to become a parent.

    My poor children would be known at the ER if I get to buy a house before having them. For the sake of my imaginary future children lets home I keep renting.


  9. You’ve made your point simply and powerfully. These houses were built by people with more dollars than sense. These are architectural follies by definition. Architects and their clients, people with too much money, have drifted away from the very definition and meaning of shelter.


    • I disagree. I believe they were experimenting, trying to clarify and solve a modern dilemma arising from the over-development of shelter. Shelter probably started as a cave, offering some protection from extreme weather & enemies. As we gradually developed our idea of dwellings, we would adjust to each new stage and eventually would want more. Our buildings now are more safe than ever & protect us from so much more. However, somewhere along the way they began to stifle & cut humans off from the real world, where we once evolved and were meant to live. Now, along with our cities, we are totally cut off from nature & that world. We can now live in our own perfect, controlled micro-climate, retreating from nature, where we cannot even hear, smell or see it. That has brought us to an age where the stress of living is much higher and the new generation of children suffer from “nature deficit disorder”. As usual when offered extreme choices, a balance seeking the best of both views, is often the preferred path. The writer’s funny but extreme view offers a more negative, controlling and stressful lifestyle. Nature is so much more relaxing and fulfilling.


  10. When I was a kid I jumped off the roof of a 3 story Victorian, dove off a cliff into a quarry and climbed back up the cliff. No hard hat, no life vest, no ropes. Protect your kid into incompetence


  11. As an architect friend of mine wryly commented once: “Form swallows function.” In other words, it’s all about design, the people – old and young alike – occupying the architect’s creation be damned!


  12. I little known fact is that the 50s Modern style was a subtle effort to ensure only the fittest members of the human species survived. One might even go so far as to call these houses urban jungles wherein alertness, cunning acrobatic skill, and shear luck determined who made it to adulthood and who became food for the hydrangeas.


    • Hilarious , I’ve always wondered why anyone, young, old , with or without children would tolerate a staircase without safety rails, but hey” looks good don’t it! Just remember” glass, glass and more glass. Nowadays you can baricade anything with solid plate glass instead of unsightly railings . All you need are deep pockets and stock in windex.


  13. i think there are too many people in the world to begin with. also, anyone cool enough to have an awesome house like this is either too smart to bring anyone in to this world or their children are also smart enough to respect and enjoy beautiful architecture.


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  15. I’m in my 50’s and grew up in MCM homes and didn’t kill myself. Of course my parents made sure I understood why open fireplaces and stairs can be dangerous. Hell I used to climb on the roof and jump off just for fun, never got hurt, learned how to land & tumble. Relax, teach your kinds about safety and let them have some experiences.


  16. This is pretty funny. But realistically, some of these designs might not be the best places to let your kids run around. But back then, things in general seemed to be more oriented toward grown-ups. That gives me an idea for a new blog post! Stay tuned…


  17. Most of those designs can be made safe with polycarb panel railings… or thick tempered safety glass railings. But I prefer the ‘smoked glass’ look without the breakability of actual glass.


  18. I was eight months pregnant in a design class and the instructor was discussing the finer elements of Mid Century Modern. Maybe it was hormones, but i could not figure out where the energy was going to come from to convince the the dogs, cat and toddler not to pee on the plants. How do you keep a Labrador out of an indoor pond? Or the cat from eating all your fish that your child added to the pond? Stairs with out handrails prior to coffee is and emergency room visit.
    I lost one of my children when he crawled into a kitchen cupboard, scaled a door frame, and climbed to the top of a linen closet. That was in an 844 square foot townhouse. I was in a pure panic when he started sleep walking!
    How could anyone ever get a decent night of sleep in a place like those?
    I don’t even want to know what the insurance coverage is on one of those houses considering the inquisition I went through for our regular, boring, contractor grade, house.
    Thank you for pointing out the obvious which I did not have the guts to do in design school. Especially after making a comment that the Lascaux cave paintings resembled a football strategy. Liberal art colleges are actually not that liberal.


  19. Learning by burning is my motto. The kids will be fine. They’re more likely to get shot at school then break an arm at home falling off the stairs.


  20. How about the electrical outlet next to the reflecting pond before the GFCI was invented. Kids wouldn’t have to suffer a slow death from drowning but be instantly killed by electrocution.


  21. I’m rather a late comer in stumbling on this article. It not only made my day but the comment section was the living end. Grew up up in a MCM home until my late 30’s WITH stair railings but with the steep almost 45 degree angles. My father jokingly told us that the house was designed as a mortally wounding obstacle course to harden us with a guaranteed future in assassin and espionage skills. And OF COURSE it was burglar proof. If robbers survived the experience they would be easily identifiable by the authorities from the bruises, hemorrhages and contusions.

    I salute the author, who must be related to the late great Don Rickles.


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