A 1950 American Dream House

Copyright 1950 National Plan Service, Inc.These illustrations from the National Plan Service, Inc., copyright 1950, courtesy Indiana Coal & Lumber company are idealistic – picture perfect – to be sure. Even so, they all include great little ideas to scrutinize and consider replicating in our own little jewel box 40s 50s and 60s ranches, colonials, capes, splits and contemporaries.

Some tips from this model:

  • Color scheme – I personally am a huge fan of gold as a paint color for ranch homes.
  • Cupola – a great great addition to a postwar ranch, cape or colonial
  • Lots of cool ironwork – connected to lighting
  • Note the mix of horizontal and vertical wood, stone, and fretwork above the picture window
  • The glass block wondow near the little pine tree, and the window on the green mudroom door are delightful
  • Ooooh, and look at the planter with horizontal, minimalistic trellis.


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  1. white_chevy says


    Do you have the floor plans to go with these houses? I always enjoy seeing the way that these houses were designed inside.

  2. sumacsue says

    There’s that mix of colonial and modern again. Look at those exterior light fixtures! Cute house, but I hate how the curtain is pulled back in that picture window. Looks like they just moved in and hung up a big sheet!

  3. Elizabeth Mary says

    Interesting, especially because I was living in Indiana in the 50’s although we did not have a ranch house. I am intriqued by the treatment of the big picture window — while it has the 3 main windows I am used to seeing, it also has the wood trim across those windows making it 9 panes of glass rather than the 3 usually seen.

    As for the oddly hung drape —- maybe they were not used to so much light streaming in and so came up with that “solution”. Personally, I can’t have too much daylight streaming in.

  4. Maureen Kelly says

    Pam, I have a 1028 single family with one entire side of the kitchen packed with white steel Youngstown by Mullins cabs up and down, porcelain double drainboard, double sink. The gas stove is a40,s Caloric, roasting oven, backing over, warmer, broiler and another rack. It also has one of the famed pink bathrooms. I have no choice but to sell the house for a long list of reasons.

    However people looking at it or coming to open houses, all want to ditch this beautiful stuff in favor something new…
    that leaves me with the problem of how to market this so someome who loves it like I do, will be tempted to buy it.

    It is located on Long Island near the Teddy Roosevelt summer home in a small village called Locust Valley, 11560. This is an area of horse farms and multimillion dollar homes…that is except my small colonial only around tops 500,000 mostly low due this economy… where do I do to find interesed folk, OHJ doesn’t have any RE sales listing…. what can you suggest.

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Maureen, sorry it’s taken me a while to answer this question. I don’t think that there is an easy answer. Nowadays, some realtors are specializing in vintage properties, including mid-century. I would recommend doing local market research to determine whether there are any such agents – they would be magnets for like-minded buyers and sellers. Unfortunately, though, if the underlying real estate is so valuable that the whole place is going McMansion, I don’t know how to fight that — except by continuing to expose the virtues of existing properties and their features. Good luck.

    • Shari D says

      Oh dear. And here we are seven years later. I just found and read this page above, about the National Plan Service home, courtesy of Indiana Coal and Lumber Co., and then this letter which made me sigh and say “oh no!” when I read what had been happening. I can’t help but wonder how it all came out?
      Was the house marketed properly by a skilled, vintage-knowledgable Real Estate agent to a vintage home seeking family, who has been living in, maintaining and enjoying all its mid-mod features?
      Or, did it go the way of so many, and become victim to the “ripper outers” who simply must destroy every vestige of charm such a home possesses in favor of what the nearest Big Box store has to offer in the way of ugly cabinets, stainless steel, granite, and greige paint all over everything? Does anybody know?

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