Sweetheart 1955 mid century modest time capsule in Minneapolis

mid century modest ranch houseTour-a-Time-CapsuleYou know what’s so sweet about this time capsule: It demonstrates just how a little mid century modest house that looks sort of … innocuous, albeit sweet… on the outside, can contain so many well-maintained delights on the inside. Could it be that even more so than the owners of lavish mid century modern homes, the owners of unpretentious mid century modest homes poured so much love and care into their beloved little castles? Let’s look inside and be delighted.


Minnesota realtor Tim Kindem has been a fan of Retro Renovation for years — so when he had the chance to list this 1955 retro ranch home in South Minneapolis — he made sure to let us know. Pam and I both immediately drawn to the room above, each recognizing pieces from our own vintage collections.


Yup, that light is the same wagon wheel light Pam has in her office — and that retro freestanding cone fireplace looks just like mine. Thanks to some great photos of the property, courtesy of photographer Christopher Rhode from Obeo, we can see all the original features in this home. Plus, it’s clear there were updates in the 1970s — delicious, too!

We’re hoping whoever becomes the new owner loves the vintage style of the house as much as we do.

From the listing:

Price: $309,900
Square footage: 2,292
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3

The Mid-Century Modern Palace Of Your Dreams Has Come True!
The Mid-Century Modern palace of your dreams has come true! 2 brick, wood-burning fireplaces, & an orange, free-standing cone fireplace in 3 season porch. Giant lower level rec room. Bedrooms with built-ins. Stairs to garage storage. So much space. So much more. Be amazed!

retro-pink-bathroomOh yeah — take a look at this pretty pink tiled bathroom with a flower power decals on the toilet. The vanity is super cute, and the pink and oak combo is the same thing I’ve got going on in my retro pink bathroom remodel. Those two little doors set into the wall have me wishing for more available wall space to add some in my bathroom. My guess is the top one is for storage and the bottom is a laundry chute.

mid-century-aqua-bathroomThe house also has a blue/aqua vintage bathroom with what appears to be terrazzo flooring — or a terrazzo-like linoleum. Interestingly, the sink seems to be the same one as in the pink bathroom, only this time is is set in a laminate counter instead of tile. It is also fun to note how they painted the trim to match the bathroom.

vintage-basement-barretro-rec-roomMore cool vintage details await in the lower level rec room: a game room/bar area with a fun checked floor, and do I spy a fireplace on the back wall?

Mega thanks to realtor Tim Kindem from Keller Williams for letting us feature this property and Photographer Christopher Rhode from Obeo for giving us permission to share his great photos of the property here with all of you.

Still more to see in our slideshow:

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. Scott says

    I guess until seeing this I had equated Modest with compactness, probably because of my more to the dinky side square footage of 944. Maybe I have a Very Modest. 🙂

    I sure hope the new owners appreciate those beautiful bathroom sinks!

    • pam kueber says

      I am the one who called this a MC Modest — I was thinking it was 1100 s.f. on each floor (that is, full basement). It is really 2300 s.f. on the first floor, yes, that is larger than my definition of MC Modest, which I will now arbitrarily define as topping out at … how about 1,400 s.f.?

      I am still not clear on this house though. Is it 1100 up and down, with a couple of bedrooms in the basement. Or what.

      • Katie says

        I don’t think that square footage is a defining factor for MCModest. To me, MCM is about modest materials, and design that focuses on practicality and livability, rather than style or swank. I may be biased, since most of the houses in my neighborhood are between 1500 and 2000 square feet, but most of them were owned by people who raised 6 or more kids in those houses.

          • Scott says

            Me three.

            Modern or Modest is definitely more about the style than the size. I’m just so happy Pam even figured all this out as knowing what my house is (a Modest) has made life so much easier. I was really stuck on exterior details but once I started comparing similar vintage houses everything started falling into place very quickly.

    • pam kueber says

      I just found this house on the mls. I didn’t number crunch everything but I think the s.f. includes the basement space, the porch and two bedrooms tucked on the second floor.

      • Barbara West says

        I think you’re right.As a Realtor for almost 40 ys I was struggling to imagine WHERE all this “space” was.If this is on mls…someone should be notifying the listing agent that this is incorrect and NOT the sq footage that any appraiser will be using.Main floor space is what is used…the additional is put into OTHER spots.These kinds of mistakes are the things that law suits are made of!

  2. Pam from Madeira says

    Love, love, love this house! Although it looks so quaint from the outside, it seems like there are a whole lot of rooms. The bathroooms are to die for!!!! And the built in furniture, especially that desk!

  3. says

    What a darling house! Reminds me, too, of my childhood where I saw tons of homes like that. The only thing missing in the basement is a shuffle board built into the floor!

    I agree with some others about the new building expectations of granite and stainless. I’m so over that!! Stainless, isn’t. Period! It’s mostly awful. Give me white appliances over stainless. And granite?? Ugh!! I can’t tell you how many times my husband has “lost” a pill or supplement tablet on that stupid, busy, too dark countertop,, and didn’t even know it! You can’t see messes on it to clean them up, either. Dumb! Oh, and now I’ve read that granite, especially the Brazilian kind, off-gases radon! We’ve got Brazilian granite! :\

    We are looking for a MCM house in Largo, FL so we can move from the current flood zone of the barrier island we currently inhabit. Anyone know of anything wonderful in Largo??

    Robin 🙂

  4. Kim Campbell says

    I so love the pink and green in the rumpus room! And those amazing cabinets in the bathroom. Especially the pink one. *swoon* worthy to me!!

  5. Andreas Jordahl Rhude says

    Must love the free standing metal orange fireplace. My parents have one in their house in the third floor living room. House built between 1970 and 1973 and we moved in late summer 1973 (actually some thing never did get finished and are still unfinished today!). My dad designed and we built it. Four story A-frame.

  6. Allison Hallstrom says

    Very cute house. I love the barstools and the bathroom sinks. Is it possible to find sinks like these anymore?

  7. Joel says

    Thanks for the link to the Everlast Epoxy Floor…. that is it… people should take a look at it as it mentions “do it yourselfers” and it would very much be in period for a renovation…. IF you add some gold glitter to the epoxy. That is totally required. Look at the gallery and imagine some of these in a retro renovation- http://www.everlastepoxy.com/project-gallery.html

    Also, I am almost positive that the original cabinets in the kitchen would have been built in place and would have matched the varnished birch vanity in the pink bath. I have flipped several of these era homes and the base cabinets would not be what we are used to now, there would have been a toe kick built out of 2X4″, then a 24″ deep sheet of plywood laid on top, a cleat would have been nailed around the wall, and a second sheet of 24″ deep plywood hung on that to make a fixed shelf and the front framing of 1 X 2 dimensional lumber nailed directly to the shelving and the formica covered countertop added supported by the front frame and another cleat nailed around directly to the wall. Doors and drawer fronts would have been made out of birch or oak plywood with a rounded over routed edge that showed the layers of the plywood unashamedly and covered in clear/amber varnish. It is an easy and inexpensive way to make period appropriate cabinets and they fit the space exactly. I am also almost certain the glass sliding door cabinet is original to the house and has simply been painted to match the (horrid) “every condo built in the early 80’s” laminate and oak cabinets.

    • Jenny says

      Joel, what you wrote is interesting to me, because I love that style of cabinet. Is it really an easy and inexpensive way to build cabinets? Because I need new cabinets in my (old) kitchen, and I can’t find anyone around here (Michigan) who is willing to take on such a remodel. Just want it to look original to the house; that’s all I’m asking! (I hired a local carpenter to build a period-appropriate vanity for the bathroom, and he seemed to have no clue. Ended up with a very attractive but NOT period-appropriate vanity. (Wah!)

  8. Amy in Sacramento, CA says

    Wow — $309K for 2292sf? Kinda pricey in that climate. LOVE the bathrooms, though! I hope the right buyer finds this house. It is always upsetting when I go through a period/time capsule house, only to find a “sold” sign followed by a full dumpster outside of it months later. 🙁 Can’t more people love a house for what it is?! Like your motto, Pam: “Love the House You’re In!” 😉

    • Jenny says

      There was a fabulous mid-60s house for sale in the campus area of our town, that went for a song because it was “in need of TLC.” I mean, way less than 100k. It was adorable and quirky, with cedar siding and a recessed doorway. The existing door was one of those six-panel wood-grained steel doors. It was a house in need of a Crestview door if you know what I mean.

      Drove by it recently and the owners had hung a new door on it. Yay! A Home Depot special; more fake wood, but Victorian in style, with oval etched glass. Boo. So completely and diametrically opposed to what the house wanted. Still, I’m relieved the house itself didn’t get torn down, but what will people who hang a Victorian door on a MCM house do next? They’re sure not going to honor its integrity.

  9. Toni says

    Why do people buy a house and then destroy everything about it? Why not just buy a house that’s what you want? It can’t be entirely about money. It’s not cheaper to tear it apart and rebuild it than it is to just buy what you like in the first place.

  10. Nancy says

    I live about 5 minutes from this house. I’ll have to see if there is an open house. It’s near a great park and elementary school. I hope it sells to someone who will appreciate its retro charm.

  11. nina462 says

    Minneapolis & the surrounding suburbs are full of MCM houses. I lived there for 15 years & had a MCM townhouse. Somewhere in my stack of retro stuff, I have pamphlet about making your MCM home your own by changing the floor plans. I must look that up and send to you.

    And yes, please get a show on TV! I’d love to watch 🙂 and please do an episode on keeping original windows – just having them repaired & not replaced! I even have the perfect contact person for that (he teaches how to repair windows here in Kazoo.) That is the one bad mistake I made on my current MCM house.

    • Shari D. says

      I used to drive past this home several times a week when we lived in Indianapolis. It’s just as pretty and well-cared-for now a I recall it being 20 years ago. The photos of the inside are pretty spectacular in some ways. There are 3 fireplaces, 2 of which (family room and basement) are wood burning and made of Indiana Limestone, the other in the living room is gas. If you’ve never seen it (or think you haven’t) you must go look. (It’s been used in major construction projects of now-historic buildings of national importance since the late 1800’s.) The hardwood floors in this house absolutely gleam such that I have never seen – they look like they are covered in inches of reflective ice! The woodwork is beautiful, as are the all original kitchen cabinets. The rooms are quite large – for instance, the Master Bedroom is 18X14 and the next smaller bedroom is only one foot smaller in each direction. There are no pictures of the bathrooms, which I had been looking forward to seeing! There is a breakfast room (11X15) off the 12X12 kitchen that looks like its walls are done in 12″X12″ floor tile! It’s almost as big as my whole eat-in-kitchen! The basement has one of the wood burning limestone fireplaces – the kind that go floor to ceiling for a whole wall – right beside a lovely wet bar! The laundry room in the basement is painted all white, well-lit, looks dry and tidy as can be, like the rest of the house. Oh – it’s currently pending, and the price on the listing is $149,900, and the semi-annual taxes for 2013 were $979! It’s on a double size corner lot as well. Oy such a deal!
      Too bad I have no intentions of ever moving back to Indianapolis, particularly the East side (although this neighborhood has always been ok, being populated with very similar homes.)

  12. Esmeralda says

    What are the names of those sinks! I absolutely love them. I have one in my master bath and am desperately searching for one for my hall bath.

    • pam kueber says

      Those are vintage tile-in sinks. I think they are Crane. The only way to get them now: Vintage. Try places like deabath.com [an advertiser]

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