It’s déjà vu all over again! Remember the empty 1880’s farmhouse we recently looked at? Well… this ranch house was built a stone’s throw away by its former inhabitants — quite a change of pace! Unfortunately, both houses have extensive termite damage and the new owners want to clear the site for their new home. As with the last house, I did not have lots of time to take photos… they were very hurried and I did not capture all that I wanted to. Unlike the last house, this one is distinctly twentieth-century. While not particularly innovative or unique, the house nicely captures the spirit of the mid-50’s — recalling a pace of life which has all but disappeared.

While the house had been updated seemingly every decade since its construction, many original features remained — even some carpeting! Among the numerous updates were a kitchen straight out of the 70’s, some carpet and wallpaper from the 80’s and an addition from the 90’s. The original front door appears to have been replaced in the 90’s as well. The house was occupied until recently and the seller left some items behind. Let’s explore!

In my haste, I only took two photos of the exterior. The house is sprawling and surrounded by vast prairie.

The living room is dominated by a massive stone fireplace with three built-in features… the shelves to the right are the first.

The second built-in — log storage — can be seen around the corner at left. The door leads to the back porch, making it easy to replenish the wood supply. Mahogany box beams help to add interest to an otherwise uninspiring ceiling.

No, this isn’t the third built-in… but the masonry does wrap around to the entry hall and terminate in that must-have accoutrement of all refined mid-century houses… the planter!

The planter screens the dining room from the entry. This wall is directly behind the fireplace. To the right can be seen the edge of the third built-in…

It’s a barbeque! Just in case it’s raining outside, I guess…

Looking like something out of a 1970’s decorating book, the kitchen features a luminous bulkhead and orange formica countertops.

The raised panels of the cabinet doors feature a softly embossed pattern.

The tile backsplash strengthens the subtle Neo-Mediterranean vibe.

A hold-out from the original kitchen, the table of this 1950’s banquette was given some wood-grained plastic laminate as an update. The picture windows offer a view of the expansive prairie.

The main bathroom features blue fixtures and a built-in niche for soap.

Self-portrait with toothpaste splatters! The vanity front is made of wood-grained Formica and subtly angled. The knobs have insets (well, half of them) of the same Formica.


The very cool lighting above is reflected in the mirror.

In the master bedroom, more built-ins provide ample storage.


On each side of the vanity are back-lit fiberglass panels embedded with butterflies.


The office was paneled in mahogany with flush seams at the joints.


A second bath is entirely tiled. Shifting the grid of the tile creates a “wainscot” below while making the upper half of the wall more interesting.


The medicine cabinet displays some very late art moderne styling.

Soon I’ll be posting a few photos from our salvage mission of the 1880’s farmhouse. You can skip that post if you don’t like to see such graphic images… I don’t like it, either, but taking a place apart can offer insight as to how things were built at the time.

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