Fab features in 11 time capsule houses — bowling alleys, bunkers, beauty shops & more

basement beauty parlor retroBunkers and ballrooms and bowling alleys and more! Pam asked me to go through all the time capsule homes in our archive to find the quirkiest, coolest, amazingest features. Above: The basement beauty parlor in a Pennsylvania time capsule house. Don’t you just want to curl up and dye here!

retro basement bar2. The first two photos are from a 1956 time capsule with two unique features that we adore: a basement beauty parlor and a fantastic custom bar area with all sorts of amazing vintage touches.


Photos and listing courtesy of realtor Theresa Robinson.

2. A bowling alley in the basement of this marvelous Michigan 1962 time capsule house.


Photo courtesy of photographer and realtor Uncle Jack LeVine.

3. Nine vintage Moe ceiling lights in a row in this 1966 Rat Pack time capsule in Las Vegas.

round fireplace

Photo courtesy of TK Images Real Estate Photography and listing agent Robert Searcy.

4. This mid century time capsule has several unique features in the living room and entryway: a round stone fireplace, decorative concrete block wall divider (inside) and that neat-o dropped, angled ceiling over the entryway.


Photo courtesy of photographer Rick Amick from Real Estate Photography & Listing and realtor Shane Register.

5. The brick floored, screened porch with windows all the way up to the tall, angled roof line was we’d spend all of our time, in this 1957 time capsule in Wilmington, NC.

6. The green shag carpeted spiral staircase in this 1974 groovy time capsule home in Norfolk, Virginia is not only groovy  marvelous — there’s another one in the house, too.


Photo courtesy of photographer and realtor Diana Monteith.

7. Don’t we all wish we had a knight in a suit of armor guarding the back door to our fabulous 1970s ski chalet?


Photo courtesy of Matti from Mixed Media and realtor Kay Agney.

8. This 1950 time capsule in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan has an entryway filled with gorgeous vintage tile and a working fountain. (The house also was rumured to have a secret tunnel from the basement to another house nearby.)


Photo courtesy of photographer Evan Godwin from Chateau Shooters and realtor Malyn Powers.

9. This aqua and grey mid century mod privacy fence — in this spectacular 1970s Mediterranean decor time capsule home — is certainly a work of art.


Photos courtesy of photographer and realtor Mony Ty.

10. This Dean Gustavson-desgiend 1957 mid century modern house in Salt Lake City has a private observatory and underground bunker — not a standard feature for most mid century homes.


Photo courtesy of reader Michelle.

11. This mid century home in Minnesota has a glitzy silver ballroom — making it an excellent house for hosting parties.

Readers — does your home have a unique bonus feature?


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  1. JKaye says

    That basement beauty parlor reminds me of a similar home beauty parlor where I got my first (and only) shag haircut, in 1971, before starting sophomore year of high school. My hair looked just like Carol Brady’s. The only good thing I can say about that is, at least my hair didn’t look like Alice’s.

  2. midmichigan says

    Great compellation! I loved the bowling alley house and showed my wife when you first posted it. We don’t live too far from it and I tried to convince her that it would be a great investment as a second home and we could use it on weekends for parties and such (man-cave?). No dice. That idea was shot down in flames and I’ve been directed to finish our basement first before any thoughts of second homes. Sheesh.

    • MsKittyMuses says

      My husband and I live in Louisville, and I still had the “second home” thought! If only we had enough money so I could collect houses like I do dishes and chairs!

  3. MsKittyMuses says

    Oh. My. God.

    I hadn’t seen the bowling alley house before! I would do bad, bad things to be able to live in that house! Holy pudding, that is seriously close to being my absolute dream house! I would never want to leave the downstairs! Unless it was to enjoy my fabulous porch with built in bbq.

    Be still, I’m so in love right now.

  4. Robin, NV says

    Of all the wacky things to have in your house, I’d definitely go with a bowling alley. That’d be way better than a Wii! A silver ballroom would also be great (that picture gives me pre-winter shivers, though). But the one photo that makes me the most envious is the privacy wall. Mine is just plain old brick, I’d love for it to have a little mid mod flair.

    • pam kueber says

      Yes, I really *need* a bowling alley now. There is an old bowling alley in the next town that is closed. Maybe I need to buy it and convert the commercial area to be our house???

      • Robin, NV says

        I’ve always loved the idea of living in a commercial building. A bowling alley would offer lots of space and built-in entertainment. You may even be fortunate enough to get one with cool Googie architecture. On the down side, they tend to be in not so good parts of town and they’d probably cost a lot to heat and cool. Our local bowling alley is for sale. It’s a dressed-up Quonset hut from WWII, which sounds kind of cool but apparently the building has a lot of issues. It’s perpetually “under new management” and/or for sale.

  5. Paula Webb says

    I too loved the bowling alley house. I wonder who bought it? It would be cool to see a follow up on some of these homes that were for sale. Of course, if they were heavily remodeled it would break our collective hearts.

    • Katie says

      Those houses probably belonged to people who rented out the basements as apartments. My in-laws lived in an apartment like that when they were first married, this was in the early ’60s.

  6. tammyCA says

    In the ’60s I used to go with my mom to a neighbor’s house with her own beauty parlor..set up in the breezeway. I love all old beauty parlors.

  7. says

    I’d love to live in house NO.4. It has interesting elements I like, especially the stone fireplace and the angled ceiling. It’s very elegant, overall.

  8. Tigger says

    That shag spiral staircase and all the wood reminds me of the cabin we used to rent in the 70’s and 80’s at Tahoe. We loved that spiral staircase, my parents were always worried that we would kill ourselves on it- especially when we walked up the outside.

  9. says

    The Dean Gustavson ’57 in Salt Lake City is fascinating. The ’74 with the spiral staircase pics look real retro – like they were actually taken back then. I guess places that classic can only come out looking one way – totally cool!

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