1959 time capsule house in New Zealand — never lived in!

Jordanna over on our Facebook page spotted this incredible story — the third time capsule house we’ve seen that was never lived in. The first one was a 1955 bungalow in St. Louis, (second story about the Retro Renovation reader tour here)… while the second one was a gorgeous 1962 house also in the Midwest… now this one is in New Zealand — and it includes some retro styling cues and names that I’ve never seen before: An interesting bathroom layout… a “Mercer Maid” stainless steel drainboard sink — which I believe the New Zealanders are calling a “kitchen bench” … and the Neeco electric range top. I also love the built-in valances in the living room and the hand-made parquet flooring — yum.  Exotic foreign retro! The newspaper that featured this story — The Bay of Plenty Times — I want to live alongside “the Bay of Plenty”! — could not give me permission to host any of their photos on my site (np, I respect their wishes re: copyright), so jump on over to their story to see lots of delicious photos — and to read why this house was never occupied (look for the link below the photos, to the right-ish). Thank you, Jordanna!


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  1. Josie says

    Yay! (I’m Jordanna by the way – I may post that way from now on but I have been a huge fan forever and quite yappy under the Josie nick!).

    Kiwis and Aussies call all countertops benchtops… or kitchen bench… I assume they do this to confuse foreigners. 😉

  2. John Quirk says


    Great home!! The bathroom shower looks more modern than 1959. They were obviously on the cutting edge. Gives me ideas for my 1959 bathroom restoration.


  3. Katie Cappello says

    Beautiful house to be sure. I love the parquet floors and shower mosaic colors. But it’s a little sad that no one lived in and enjoyed this house.

  4. duki says

    “Nifty” house! Though, I actually like the exterior color. Funny that they think it doesn’t go well with the house. Looks like a great retro color to me. Hmmm?

  5. Allen says

    Pam, I know there was no place to comment on the last post about the sink frames. But Thank You So Much for that story!!!! It was great!!!

    • pam kueber says

      you’re welcome! there was a place to comment — ???? Oh my… I just went to look and see what you mean. Somehow the comments box was turned off. I turned it back on. How strange. THANK YOU!

  6. Just another Pam says

    Kitchen lust….be still my heart. I agree with the other posters, the exterior looks lovely but renters? Oh my.

  7. tammyCA says

    What do they mean the exterior color doesn’t fit? It’s part of this unique time capsule house. Hopefully, the owner makes sure the renters are respectful of the house. They should rent it out to movie/t.v. production for period shows.

  8. J D Log says

    I remember as a kid there was a house that was built and never lived in even years latter it went to ruin latter on I found out the owner builder died and there was a big legal dispute about his estate.
    The house looks great, pity it will just become a renter hope it lasts the distance. Great to see a story from over this side of the world.

  9. TasDevil says

    My mother recently lived in a house which had been partially completed in the late 1950s, then closed up until the late 90s!
    The gentleman who had started it was an Eastern European migrant who travelled to country Victoria,Australia, and began building the home for his fiancee, who was to follow him. She never did, having taken another lover. When he got news of this he halted construction and eventually, following a number of unfortunate incidents resorted to living exclusively in the home’s corrugated iron garage/shed, when he wasn’t living a hermit’s life on his bicycle!

    So when the lonely gent died out on his bicycle in the middle of nowhere it came up for government auction, and was visually in a pretty sorry state. While it was complete to a bit beyond lockup stage, all the wooden window and door frames, bargeboards and trim were very much worse the wear for 40+ years unpainted. As such not many arrived for the auction, and it sold for a song. What most didn’t realise was that the interior was also as new. Finished but unpainted gyprock walls, board floors waiting for carpets, boxed original light/electrical fittings, complete period kitchen and bathroom. The new owner gave it a quick once over but as both time and money were in short supply all they really did was choose sympathetic paint colours, carpet three rooms, replace the worst dry-rotted wood exterior parts and rent it out.

    Unfortunately as often happens a lot of the fixtures aged very quickly once in use. Quite often it seems some things age 50 years in a matter of months when they’ve sat that long, but most of the original kitchen, bath and fittings were still in great condition as of a couple of years ago.

  10. Jaden says

    I had a look around as this house in my area in New Zealand came up for sale about three years ago, was quite amazing for having being lived in but unrenovated – http://www.nz.open2view.com/properties/202789 The owners had lived for years and taken good care of the place.

    As for the name Te Puke, it’s not puke as sick or spewing up, it’s said more like pook-ee said fast. Maori vowel sounds are different, for instance “wh” is pronounced as “f”.

  11. Kathy says

    Perhaps you can ask again for permission to post the pictures. I could find it in a search for “The house where time stood still” but could not access the article or the pictures on their website.

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