1963 time capsule house: “Keep It or Change It?” quiz

1963 vintage kitchenToday we have a 1963 time capsule house for sale in Bowie, Maryland. And we are going to play a new game: “Keep It or Change It?” To start:

Note to afficianados: Those are steel kitchen cabinets with laminated doors – all original.
1963 pink bathroom

1963 blue bathroom

1963 time capsule living room

1963 cape cod house bowie maryland

Thanks to Bill Franklin, the listing agent, and to Jonathan Benya, a buyer’s agent where we first spotted these photos. The house is a great deal for Bowie, check it out on the listing on Jonathan’s website. Thanks, also, to the bundle of readers who sent me this listing — you guys just rock, it’s so much fun to get your tips!


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  1. says

    My parents house is similarly lost in the past. They were hungry children during World War II and, as a result, they never get rid of anything that’s still good. Remodeling is not a concept they understand.

    My mother HATED the wallpaper in their house when they bought it in 1971. The paper is still there. Because “it’s still good.”

    (Deep sigh.)

    • Jeff says


      My mom said the same thing about the blood-orange formica countertops, avocado appliances, and “wood” patterned olefin kitchen carpeting with names of spices and herbs written all over it.

      When it was out of date in about a year after it was installed in 1974, I suggested replacing it (at age nine!) and she said, it was still “good.”

      Until I showed her my friend’s mom’s kitchen down the street which looked like something out of Star Trek, and she was hooked on the remodeling bug from then on!

  2. Joe Felice says

    The wallpaper in the kiten/dining area is Ok & true to the period, but it’s used too much. It should have been used only in the dining room, with something else in the kitchen. Copper backsplash? Diamond-quilt stainless backsplash?

  3. Jim says

    Kitchen: I love chrome and formica but all the furniture needs to go. Try some 50’s blonde wood furniture like Heywood Wakefield or Paul McCobb that will pick up the brown/beige in the wall paper. There are even wood chairs with vinyl aqua seats, although that’s not necessary. I have two – a Thonet chair and some other unknown maker. The verticle blinds on the sliding glass doors need to go also. Something a little more 50’s would be better.

    Pink bathroom: Light weight and light color fabrics will make the bathroom feel less clostrophobic. White was very popular in the 50’s.

    Blue bathroom: Lose the towels and the birds. Try some solid color towels that match the colors in the butterfly.

  4. says

    The majority of each of the rooms is great. Just needs to have some things replaced that look like were put in the following decade (smoke mirror tiles). then just spruce up things that can be “polished” up. This is a fun idea with voting!

  5. Jim says

    The bathrooms could use some vintage/retro chalkware. They have lots of it on Ebay – fish, seahorses, mermaids…

  6. Diane says

    Awesome to see Bowie, MD featured here!! – My parents bought a 3 bdrm colonial in 1965 – I grew up there. My neighbors had the Cape Cods – like the one your guttin/keepin. .. And like all Levitt colonials – we had pink guest bath, blue master bath, and yellow 1/2 bath. We had a pink phone and pink refrigerator, but wood cabinets in the kitch. LOVED our home – in the “C” section… Bowie is made up of streets put in Alphabetical groupings : K section, W section, B, S, O, I, M, V, Y… you get the idea. It was the greatest place to grow up in the 60-70-80s, too bad Kathie Lee (Epstein) Gifford won’t admit that! Glad there are people still out there who are nostalgic – Bowie is filled with a lot of history and loved by those who grew up there! *Oh and the community pools were the best!

    • Jenn says

      Yes the pools still are the best!!!! BBT (the one by the stables) just celebrated 50 years… It was great the dj played music through the years…I have been taking my kids for a few years now and the older ones hang out there with friends, making memories.

  7. says

    I’m so jealous! My parents have a 1970’s home, seeing how it looked back then, with the shag carpeting all dark cabinets, yellow and avocado green appliances, the wallpaper in the bathroom was even more amamzing. I cant even put it into words how much I love the 60’s and 70’s its depressing how when people see a house like that today they want to renovate the hole thing to crappy modern nonsense.My parents unfortunately did the same thing they changed everything around the 90’s when I was little so I dont even remember any of what it looked like before. When I start looking for a house I want to find one that still has the 70’s charm and nothing changed!

  8. Logan says

    Sorry I’m so late to the game (almost two years, no big deal) but I had to share my love of this!

    I just moved to Bowie into a rancher, and I’m so glad to see that some people keep their retro awesomeness! My home was mostly “updated” (I use the term loosely since the previous owners kind of half-a$$ed it- pergo instead of hardwood, blinds that don’t fit, appliances which are newer but were probably the cheapest on the market) but what look to be the original floor 1-inch tiles in the bathrooms and the yellow fixtures in my guest bath (save the toilet) remain.

    I’m so glad others are keeping their retro flair – if my mother had her way, most of it would be gutted, I’m sure! I just want to turn my old and unappreciated yellow bathroom into a great place : )

    Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Mike Twomey says

    I was pleasantly surprised to see the photos and read the variety of comments after recently finding your website on the ‘You Know You’re From Bowie’ facebook page. My parent’s home was purchased for $14,000 in 1963 and was sold after my 96 year old father died, coincidentally and unfortunately this week in 2010.

    Having grown up during the Depression, my parents thought it more cost effective to purchase the washer, dryer and refrigerator separately, saving $500 that did not have to be financed over 30 years. My dad hung the wallpaper in the kitchen and bathrooms as well as painted the mural of Mt Chocorua in the living room after he retired in 1971. The kitchen chairs that came with the metal table originally purchased in 1958, were reupholstered by my mom, to match Levitt and Sons’ aqua colored kitchen cabinets.

    As some of the metal chairs wore out over the years, my parents found it easier to move around in those black office chairs on wheels which were ‘rolled out to the curb’ and quickly picked up from in front of their home on Felter Lane…

    • pam kueber says

      awwww, thank you for letting us know more about this wonderful house, Mike. I LOVE IT and would not have changed a thing! Even more so now, knowing the stories behind some of its interior design features. Please know, we are an appreciative community here on Retro Renovation! We love these time capsule houses — what love and attention went into them!!!!! All the best, Pam

  10. says

    Although I love that wallpaper that is in the pink bathroom, it really doesn’t match it well. I’d be tempted to try to somehow steam it off undamaged for use elsewhere. (Then curtains are a bigger problem, though—definitely against the color matching rules my mother instilled so carefully! ) But then I am actually a huge fan of monochromatic color schemes—just not greige ones!

  11. Dee Fe says

    So my family likes their Levitt’s house. My mother too, did not like the yellow overloaded bathroom…but it worked! I would like to renovate the kitchen of my ORIGINAL 1969 Bowie home. I am not looking to do a full kitchen renovation right now… but looking to do a kitchen “facelift”. I am looking for original cabinets from these homes to replace a few in my home. If you have any original, PLEASE PLEASE do NOT trash! I will happily take a few off your hands. (Let’s bargain) Please email: sable10_99@yahoo.com Thank you!

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