Forever plaid: A 1978 Pennsylvania time capsule house

pinch pleat drapesTour-a-Time-CapsuleOur realtor friend Jeffrey Hogue is at it again — sharing his photos of yet another awe-inducing retro time capsule listing with the appreciative Retro Renovation tribe. This time, the home is a warm and inviting 1978 ranch in the forest, located in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania. This groovy time capsule is filled to the brim with cozy wood paneling, vintage wallpaper, pinch pleat draperies and yes — even a fantastic plaid wall-to-wall carpeting. (See our stories about where to find plaid carpet today, here.)  Let’s take a look at this woodsy, retro retreat, shall we?


retro-plaid-carpetFrom the listing:

  • Price: $239,900
  • Square feet: 2,282
  • Year built: 1978
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2.5

Country rancher on private lot located in Maidencreek Township, Berks County, PA. Total square footage listed includes 782 square feet of living space in finished walkout basement. More features coming soon. Until then, enjoy the great home photos.

  • 2 Full Baths & 1 Powder Room
  • 36 x 8 Wood Deck
  • Concrete Patio
  • 24 x 24 Detached Two-Car Garage
  • 15.9 x 28.0 Basement Garage/Workshop
  • 39.7 x 21.10 Three-Car Garage With Openers
  • 2,282 Square Feet of Living Space. Includes 782 sq ft in finished basement. Home hand measured.

retro-wood-panelled-kitchenThe kitchen is loaded with modern country charm. Durable-looking plank wood cabinets (plank style cabinet doors are one of Pam’s favorites — a pretty timeless style, she says), along with a wood paneled soffit, a range hood with decorative scalloping, and exposed beams really make this kitchen special. With a layout that must be fabulous for cooking and entertaining, how could you not love this space?

vintage-flower-wallpaperTo complement all of the wood tones, the homeowners added a flowery vintage wallpaper in warm orange, gold and green. Ah, the 70s! Check out that built-in desk and storage area, very handy.

retro-wall-muralHey, a wallpaper mural hiding behind the bed in this bedroom! The tropical island subject matter of the mural is likely a welcome visual vacation during dreary winter days.

mid-century-ranch-exteriorThe home’s garage doors are treated with the same siding as the house, only used on a diagonal. This siding treatment really helps the doors to blend in with the home’s exterior instead of taking too much attention away from the entry — a smart design feature for a home with six garages.

Mega thanks to realtor Jeffrey Hogue for again sending us such a splendid set of photos from this amazing time capsule home in Shoemakersville, PA.

Tips to view slide show: Click on first image… it will enlarge and you can also read my captions… move forward or back via arrows below the photo… you can start or stop at any image:

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  1. lynda says

    Although this house is very 70’s on the outside, I think the interior does not look like a typical late 70’s interior. I would say the original owners had old fashioned taste. Their taste was specific, and they did a nice job with their design choices. House looks like it is in great shape.

    • Tut says

      Actually, it looks very typical to me. Not everyone could or wanted to do the stereotypical “spacey” ’70s style with smoked hemispherical lamp shades and plastic furniture. Many people over a certain age were more comfortable simply updating their traditional style with ’70s colors and designs. Also, “antique” made a comeback during the ’70s, hence all the stained glass lamps and wood.

      I could totally have that plaid carpet. It doesn’t look goofy or ugly at all – it just works.

      • Robin, NV says

        I agree with Tut. This looks very typical of the 70s homes I knew as a kid. It looks a lot like the house my parents built in 1975. Also, keep in mind this is a woodsy retreat.

        Pam – I was thinking you should do a wallpaper uploader. I found a couple of family photos with nice wallpaper in the background. The blue, green, and white plaid wallpaper in my brother’s room c. 1975 was pretty wild! My grandma had a cute brown and orange striped/floral wallpaper in her kitchen.

    • says

      I’m gonna agree with Tut and Robin. As a kid in the ’80s, the majority of my friends who had houses decorated in the ’70s looked just like this. In fact, my grandparents’ (now my) house, nicknamed ‘The Brady Ponderosa’, which was begun in ’71 and finished completely in ’77, looked very much like this…until I moved in and replaced a the massive Mediterranean and Colonial furnishings with more sleek, early-mid ’60s fare to slightly feminize what was a very masculine, heavy look. It’s now beginning to look very ‘high end’ mid ’60s! I’ve left one room stuck in the ’70s however…my mushroom and owl laundry/utility room….brown and cream ‘flower power/starburst/snowflake’ carpet and all!

    • Sandy says

      I graduated high school in 1978 and no one I knew had wallpaper remotely like this. If it was popular in 1978 it was somewhere other than my area of the midwest. The loud wallpaper looks more late 60’s/early 70’s — think of the set decor for Bewitched.

      • pam kueber says

        The house was built in 1978, so I would hypothesize: The decor was totally contemporary — the “latest and greatest”, most likely.

        • Dan T says

          I think it’s a mix, actually — as you’d expect. The *house* is very much late ’70s — my mother redecorated our house around the same time, and a lot of it (the big flower print in the kitchen, the plaid, the stained glass lamp, and so on) is spot on for 1978.

          The *furniture*, on the other hand, seems a bit older in many cases — things like the Danish coffee table, or the heavy Mediterranean bookcases in the den. That makes sense, really; people who build nice houses don’t tend to throw everything away when they move in.

          The exception is in the bedrooms, where things seem later to me — they all look very ’80s to me, despite some older furniture in a couple of them. I live in terror of the ’80s coming back…

          • Dan T says

            Also, that orange sofa set may well be the exact one we had in our living room — albeit in a different fabric. If so, it’s Henredon.

  2. Kelly Wittenauer says

    That carpet has the same colors & appears to be the same type & vintage as what was in the 70s time capsule we have for sale. Ours was a speckled pattern rather than the plaid. An indoor/outdoor type that wears like iron. We had to replace it, as the decades had turned the foam backing to dust that mounded into lumps underneath. I saved a piece and stretched over a frame like canvas – it’s now art on the living room wall.

  3. Keith says

    As someone who grew up in Pennsylvania in the 1970s, yes, this was high style 1970s decor. My friends all had Colonial or Mediterranean/Medieval decor…not a molded-white-plastic-and-shag-rug room in site. My bedroom was a dusky squash orange with plaid carpet and pinch-pleated drapes on high, short windows, accented with “antiqued” brown woodwork. Girls’ bedrooms at the time tended towards what I call the Holly Hobby Doll look…a cross between Victoriana and Little House on the Prairie.

    Think about the contrast between the Brady Bunch living room (mod) and the Partridge Family living room (eclectic traditional). The 70s had a lot going on at once…not unlike the present!

    • Robin, NV says

      Oh goodness – Holly Hobby! My mom had my bedroom almost completely decorated in Holly Hobby, even though I was a tomboy and wanted something less frilly. Sheesh, remember the tomboy thing? It was huge in the 70s.

  4. says

    I love the light fixture above the dining room table! This home is very similar in style to my in-laws home, which is a ranch built in 1977. The kitchen cabinets are similar as are some other features.
    Our 1951 ranch had that same plaid carpet (different color) on the basement floor when we purchased our home in 2010. We could not afford to change it, so I learned to like it. Sadly, we had a sewer backup last spring which required it all to be torn out. The insurance company was amazed that ANYONE would put such expensive carpeting in a basement. It was top of the line in it’s day :-)

  5. Keith says

    I should add that my parents’ bedroom had French provincial furniture and a red/white/blue theme. The basement rec room was colonial crossed with wild-west saloon in a barn red paneling. The dining room was wallpapered in white and green lattice with white furniture, and the living room was all about sculptured olive carpet, celery crushed velvet French provincial furniture, and gold plastic wall decor. The kitchen featured psychedelic yellow, orange and green gingham daisy wallpaper, a glowing fluorescent ceiling, and antiqued gold cabinets with gold-flecked white Formica and avocado appliances. And our house was one of the more tasteful ones around. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • Jenny says

      Thank *you* for the trip down memory lane! Your parents’ red, white and blue French provincial bedroom sounds amazing.

      My parents’ house was more late 60s, 100% Danish modern, but I have fond memories of many of my friends’ houses, which were more like your parents’ house.

  6. Bev Thompson says

    Pam, Could you ask Jeffrey to describe the material used for the ceiling in the vaulted great room? I like it much better than my textured popcorn ceiling. Thanks!

  7. Chutti says

    Oh, the Holly Hobby bedroom……….yep there’s memories there, for sure.

    Did anyone notice the white and pink dresser in the second to last pix? We had the full bedroom set of those. The pink stripe is actually a little flexible wood slat which can be popped out and switched to other colors. I believe there was pink, blue, yellow and red. The dressers and headboards all had them.

    There may still be a couple of those in Mom’s house yet. I used to love changing them around.

  8. says

    IDK if there is an official name for this sort of decor. Properly we could call it something like 1970s Neo Colonial. I’ve nicknamed it “Cheers Style.” Looks like the set of Cheers. In this case, Cheers meets Partridge Family.

  9. Jay says

    WAH! Where’s the avocado green? I like how eveyone is relating to the interiors. It’s obvious that If I want a large cool house, 50s – 70s; I have to move to the PA hinterlands and away from Phila. The $ buys more house and ground.

  10. hannah says

    PAM!!! OMG!! That’s the EXACT same kitchen table set my parents (and many others, I’m sure) had from 1965-ish until the last time I saw it at my dads house for his funeral. That would be 2001. THAT, is what I keep looking for on CL for our kitchen. Even though ‘early american’ is not my bag….it’s what I think would go with the house.

    LOVE THE plaid carpet!!!!!

  11. Trouble says

    I feel 10 again. Wow. Yes, this is typical of the furnishings I was around. Traditional with the then-modern palette. I appreciate this house.

  12. gsciencechick says

    No one has mentioned the SIX-car garage! Wow. I would be in heaven. Yes, me, not DH.

    Love the family room with the orange couches and den especially.

    My family had the colonial/early American dining furniture, and sorry, I am still not a fan of this style.

  13. Catherine says

    I think this house is just lovely. 70s is not really my style, but I do really like this house. I even like the plaid carpeting and matching drapes! The color scheme is very cohesive and the decor thoughtfully planned. Someone put a lot of care into building this home for their family. I think the family that purchases this home will enjoy living there!

  14. ToddC says

    This is a great house – some may say that this is not mid century but the home plan likely is. Think about it, in 1978 the plan for that house likely would have been developed in a house plan book in the 1960’s or 1970’s. Just like if you were building a house today, the plany may be a late 1990’s or early 2000’s plan.

    The front of the house has a great, slow slung late 60’s ranch and it’s a style that endured in the east and northeast well into the late 70’s and 80’s. Sure, some of the pieces are based in more mid century design (that mural in the bedroom is very 50’s and 60’s to me) but the colors in this house are very 70’s.

    Also notice that the garage looks like it may have been expanded from an original two car…. the driveway was expanded to the right of what looks like the downspout for the gutter. You can see the original curve to the drive leading to the two car garage.

    I bet the floorplan is very “executive home” and was higher end for 1978 with a living room, family room… liklely a first floor laundry etc.

  15. says

    HOLY CRAP! This is in my county! I’m so used to seeing west coast properties featured on here it blew my mind to see one close to home! Very cool find and LOVE the plaid carpet!

  16. Richard says

    My family TOTALLY had the groovy wallpaper going on in full force during the 1970s and into the early 80s. And it was shiny, silver reflective mylar, baby! Foyers, Kitchens and Bathrooms…even the bathroom ceiling: totally super! This place looks more like the family’s decor choices swayed to the “traditional” side (rather than chic contemporary late 70s), but very true to the period nonetheless! Priceless.

  17. John says

    LLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE the plaid carpet! LOVE unfortunatley it will probably be the first thing to go. unfortunate… because I do love it so.

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