It started with cocktail parties.
“So we could see each other’s homes,” explains Terri Sadler, an early member of what became known as the Okie Mod Squad.
Then, the small group created a Facebook page about all things mid-century modern and opened it to the public. “And that’s when it exploded,” says Sadler, who is also the marketing director for Fitzsimmons Architects in Oklahoma City.
The Okie Mod Squad is mostly an online group, with more than 8,500 followers, and members share a love of architecture, design and fashion from the late 1930s to the early 1970s.
“It started for me with fashion,” says Dawn Harth, who came up with the name for the group. “I’ve always loved 1960s styles. People on Halloween would ask to borrow things from my wardrobe for their costumes.”
Harth knew she had found her perfect home when she first laid eyes on the 1962 architect-designed ranch style house her family purchased in 2008.
“When you buy a house like this, you find other people who like this style, and we all stalk each other,” she says with a laugh. After they moved into the house in northwest Oklahoma City, Harth says, they noticed fingerprints on the windows where people had been looking inside while it was for sale.
Joe Jeldy, owner of ReModernOK in Oklahoma City, helps people fill their homes with mid-century décor from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
“I inherited a lot of antique furniture, turn-of-the-century stuff,” he says. “I woke up one day and said to myself that I appreciate the antiques, but it’s not my style. My daughter says it was my mid-life crisis.”
Jeldy sought out mid-century modern pieces at estate sales, thrift stores and anywhere else he could find them. As his business grew, he started buying out entire estates and working with European importers. His hottest sellers are credenzas, dining room sets, lamps and barware.
“I fell in love with the lines and the design and the history of this style,” he says. “My customer base is the millennials to the older customers who grew up in this era.”
Melissa Hunt, executive director of the Oklahoma City Foundation for Architecture, says the big event of the year is Oklahoma Modernism Weekend, which features a swap meet, lecture series, fashion show, home tour and car show. The Okie Mod Squad recently became a committee of the foundation, which will help with fundraising and organizing Modernism Weekend, says Hunt. The name will not change, and the Okie Mod Squad Facebook page and blog will remain the same.
Jeldy says when he was asked to help with Modernism Weekend, he was delighted to encounter “a group of like-minded people, who like to sit around and be nerds and talk about it.”
Mid-century modern architecture is “a contemporary aesthetic, often with lots of glass, and a lot of emphasis on the function,” Hunt says. Quail Creek in Oklahoma City has many such homes, says Hunt, and “there are pockets of them around town.”
Tulsa, Enid and Cushing also have fine examples of mid-century modern buildings, Sadler says.