Impeccable 1972 time capsule house in San Antonio — 33 photos

1971 time capsule houseSnaps to reader Deanna, who tipped me off this this house — our first time capsule of 2014. This 1972 contemporary style home is in San Antonio, Texas. It has been with the original owners since they built it — and it appears to have been impeccably maintained… clearly, it was carefully decorated, totally beloved. Deanna wrote, “This house looks like it hasn’t been touched since it was built in 1971. I love everything about it!” Me, too! This house needs an appreciative buyer, fast! Mega thanks to listing agent Diana Gonzalez and real estate marketing firm CirclePix and photographer Matthew Wingate for permission to feature the photos. Let’s take a look. 

1970s time capsule house

From the listing:

Park-like setting in Castle Hills! Enjoy large covered patio with mature trees in this one story 3 bedrooms/2 bathrooms home on 0.43 acres with a flex room that has a full bath that can be used an a study/office, mother in law suite or a maid’s quarters. Oversized family room with fireplace is great for family gatherings and a separate formal living allows for privacy. Close to the Medical Center, airport and shopping. Listing price is #335,000.

1970s kitchen

Above: The kitchen has laminate-covered cabinets in a bleached out wood grain — so far in all my years of blogging, I haven’t seen many (any?) quite like this. Notice the radius edge — that is a fancy touch. We get to see Brady Bunch bittersweet orange laminate counter tops…

vintage sub zero refrigerator… I spy a vintage Sub-Zero refrigerator…

Hardwick Starline oven… I cropped the original Hardwick Starline oven from Matthew Wingate’s lovely photo. Note, he told me he stitched together vertical shots to create the wide panoramas, that’s why you’re seeing the little alignment mis-match in this photo and in some of the other photos. Beautiful graphics on the Starline. AND: I love the placement of this bar sink — brilliant if you have the space for it!

1970s-time-capsule-house-19… The pantry wall of the kitchen…

home intercom vintage… Yes: An intercom!

quilted diamond backsplash… And above: Note the quilted diamond satin-finish stainless steel rangetop backsplash — nicely done, esspecially in that it is repeated in the drainboard sink, the island top, and the exhaust fan. I think that stainless steel range/oven backsplashes  can be tricky to pull off successfully. You don’t want them to “scream.” This one seems to work because, overall, the kitchen is low-chroma, that is: Not a  lot of strong colors — the tonality of all the features is about the same.

laminate wall panelsThis house makes extensive use of laminate. It makes me wonder if the original owners were friends of Ralph Wilson, head of Wilsonart and creator of the Ralph & Sunny Wilson house o’ laminate in Temple, Texas. Matthew told me that the walls of this great room/living room are all laminate. Look at the wall on the right side of the photo — that is laminate inset and edged in radiating rectangles…

1971 time capsule house… now look to the left to see the other side of the wall: In the center of the radiating rectangles is a mirror, also edged. To the right and left of the fireplace, these are triptychs of tall narrow mirrors — again, brilliant design!

terrazzo floorsAll the floors in this space and into the kitchen — look to be terrazzo to me.

door screensAbove: Heading back to the front of the house… I suspect that the purpose of these iron filigree screens is purely decorative.

mid century front door1970s-front-door-1To be sure, the front door is fabulous. The escutcheon (the piece behind the doorknob) appears to be original Schlage. There is a stash of NOS for sale on ebay right now, if you want to get yee get yee:

*affiliate link
painted grasscloth wallpaperAbove: This sitting room is beautiful. I would say that’s hand-painted grasscloth along the back wall — lovely!

1970s denLooking at this room from the vantage of the grasscloth wall…

swag light 1970s… Matthew’s favorite feature was the swag light that looks like a fountain (I guess) and seems to have been designed right into its own bricked nook. While setting up photo permissions, I had just the best time talking to photographer Matthew Wingate about this house. Of course, he is highly visual — like us — so it sounds like he really enjoyed discovering, then photographing, the very special touches throughout this house. I am going to guess that the family selling the house also will be so happy to have these wonderful memories of their home. I’m so grateful to both Diana and Matthew for permission to archive these images here — wonderful design inspiration.

And fingers crossed: That it finds an appreciative buyer(s), who won’t change too much. This is exceptional example of beautiful early 1970s interior design and craftsmanship.

Link love:

Be sure to check out the slide show — more photos — rendered big! — including of the bathrooms, more of the bedrooms, and the exterior. Tips to using the slide show: Click on any image, it will enlarge… use the arrows below the photo to move forward or back… you can start or stop at any image.

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  1. Diane from PA says

    Hard to believe this was constructed in ’72–so many of the features are from earlier eras- although they did have it built to their liking—kudos–what a treasure.

  2. Joan says

    I know that lamp. When I was a teenager they were for sale in many upscale department stores. It is a type of oil that makes droplets that run down the supporting rods. Very attractive.

    • Patty says

      My aunt had one of those lamps. It was one of those things you either loved or hated. No one in the family called dibs on it when she died.

    • Ann B says

      I remember seeing these lamps… they were quite the rage at the time. Can’t remember quite how they worked. Somehow, the oil got back to the top again.
      I’m wondering…is that brick nook a continuation of something outside? Seeing the patio made me wonder.

    • Chris says

      When I was a kid, there was no Target or anyplace like it. If you wanted a lamp, you had to go to a lighting specialty store. The place nearest us had some of these lamps and I LOVED THEM WITH ALL MY HEART! There’s a part of me that still sort of appreciates the fabulous-ness and wants one to this day!!!!! LOVE!

  3. Christa C says

    Just a note on the water or rain lamp from the last picture. It is a “Shower lite” generically called rain lamps…made by a subsidiary of same company that made Lava lites, in Chicago . There were a couple versions of figures…and it has a reservoir at the bottom that has a clear oil in it. The oil is pumped up and in drops runs down a plastic string. They were big in the 70’s and part of the 80’s . Fun stuff!

    • Anastasia says

      We had a macrame Christmas tree with bubbling oil lamps on them. Old, weird, but cool part of growing up. That sucker lasted well into the 90’s. Have to ask my mom what happened to that tree………I suspect the answer is a hurricane.

    • Charlotte says

      We had one of those lamps in the late ’70s or early ’80s. I loved that thing.

      I also like the little area for sitting and talking on the phone. There’s something you won’t see in new construction!

    • Mollye says

      Yes the rain lamp also came in a standing alone version – big and small. I still see these sometimes in Atlanta in antique stores.

  4. Robin, NV says

    Pam – you mentioned the intercom but not the pencil sharpener next to it. :)

    What an amazing house. My appreciation for 70s decor continues to grow. It just goes to show that quality craftmanship and materials always stand the test of time. That kitchen is just amazing. The swing doors in the bathroom sent me back in time to 1976 – we had swing doors in our bathroom too (albeit louvered ones).

    • pam kueber says

      “Saloon doors”.

      We had them in our 1912 house — leading from the kitchen to the dining room. Not sure if they were original, or added later. They were a pain. As I recall, we kept them propped open 100% of the time. Cool, though!

      • Robin, NV says

        Our house, built in 1975, had saloon doors between the kitchen and the dining room. As a kid, I thought they were so cool.

      • Janice says

        Our 1954 ranch also had these swinging doors in the master bathroom separating the vanity area from the toilet/shower area. Although my grandkids thought it was the most thing ever to go through and under the doors, we removed them. The doors really closed off the bathroom and Pam is right, they’re kind of a pain to maneuver around

        Absolutely lovely house inside and out! That house not offered a ton of storage, it was upscale style all the way! Thanks for sharing!

      • Jay says

        Have them as well in my dining entry to kitchen. I suspect they were installed in the 70s, curved area at top has open area with little spindles, lower half is inset panels. I too keep them propped open but can’t bring myself to remove them.

  5. Jan Schochet says

    Those cabinets are clearly Merillat’s Northport. I know this because I have the Northport oak and almond laminate ones original to 1988, and am trying to figure out how to make them look less almond (more white–I might be able to change out the doors with new oak/white ones).

    These ones look wonderful though! (hmmm. maybe ?)

    Here’s the link to this cabinet:

    • pam kueber says

      Nice, but I don’t think so — looks to me like the cabinets in the time capsule house have a real radius edge — a postformed edge — the laminate wraps ’round in a circle like quarter-round. But yes, same idea.

      • lynda says

        I agree, Pam. I would bet they are custom cabinets. The oak color seems to be a little blondish, or limed. In 1972 there were just not that many stock cabinets to be purchased. Amazing they are in such good shape without chips. It would be interesting to know about the family. I think an architect or designer was involved in most aspects of this house.

  6. John says

    How gorgeous this house is! It must have been a blast to live in. From the pictures it has such a warm vibe to it. Love it. Perfect place to have a 70s party!! AND looks like it would be perfect for a movie set. I really think the people who choose movie locations should read this blog to utilize these time capsule houses.

    • Lauryn says

      0.43 acres, Sandra! You missed the period (but you made me go look, because I was ready to pack it all up and move to San Antonio!). :)

    • pam kueber says

      It’s 0.43 acres — I have the period in there — but I guess you are having trouble seeing it. I will add 0. to the story for further clarity

    • Roundhouse Sarah says

      .43 acres! I had to go double check the listing. I was wondering ‘who on earth has 43 acres in San an?!’ That’s normal lot size…

    • Carl says

      Castle Hills is about 10 minutes from the airport, actually. They have large lots, and most of the houses are from the 50s and 60s. San Antonio has a large selection of mid-century houses in original condition. We aren’t quite advanced enough here yet to have a population that appreciates the housing stock. There are some amazing examples of the period for cheap.

  7. Michael says

    “Impeccable” is right! Also “pristine”, “tasteful” and so inviting and “liveable”. Would love to walk through this one…

  8. Lauryn says

    I literally let out a little yell when I saw that intercom! And I am not normally a fan of the 70s, but this house shows that every decade has its fabulousness. This house is just gorgeous … please, please, please let the buyer be someone who appreciates how incredible it is. Thanks, Pam, for giving us more real estate porn to salivate over. Time capsules just might be becoming my favorite aspect of your website!!

  9. Lynne says

    If I remember correctly, those drippy fountain lamps were filled with mineral oil. The oil was pumped thru with a pump similar to that in a fish tank. The oil ran down “dripped” along a clear string. Almost like a very sturdy fishing line. They clogged up a lot and were very difficult to keep clean because dust collected on that mineral oil like a magnate.

  10. Paula Webb says

    I am green with envy over those original window coverings. I have 2 14′ windows I am trying to cover without having to sell a kidney!

    • says

      I hear you on the windows. OUr 70s house had double traverse rods in the living room window. After the drapes literally fell apart I could not afford to have two sets of drapes made. Conjured up my own traverse set but would really love to have pinch-pleat drapes again.

      As for this kitchen and others of its era, including my own, why do they no longer make kitchens with wall ovens and cooktops? I hate the all in one stoves going into today’s kitchens. I love my wall oven. So much easier to use than having to bend over a hot oven and lift out heavy turkeys, etc.

      • Paula Webb says

        I know one issue with wall ovens is that the sizes tend to be all over the place and so replacing them can be difficult sometimes. Our wall oven is from 1957 and every holiday I say a little prayer that this is not the year it give out.

        • Jay says

          Me too! My 57 oven is a mess but still works but how much longer I wonder. Still holds the correct temperature.

  11. Anne-Marie says

    I love this house. I feel so comfortable with 70’s style done right. it is such a happy blend of earthy and modern. This house makes my heart sing. Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  12. RebeccaD says

    Not that I know anything about San Antonio real estate, but I’m guessing the price is going to weed out anyone looking at this house as a “gut job” — and anyone except us retro-freaks is going to see this house as needing major cosmetic rehab, what with all the laminate. That should make it much more likely that the buyer will be someone who appreciates the house (at least I can hope).

  13. Mary Elizabeth says

    What I like best about this kitchen and other midcentury kitchens (besides the orange counters, of course) is the little study/phone nook where you could sit and pay your bills, call up the repair man, etc. The slimline wall phone is great. For today’s living, you could use that nook for a laptop. You can order groceries, pay bills on line, or search for recipes right there in the kitchen, next to the pantry and refrigerator/freezer. But the recipes you’d be searching for would be for foods for your Hawaiian luau or Tiki themed party on the fab covered patio–coconut daiquiris, spam and pineapple skewers, pu-pu platters, etc. OK, so you see I’ve already moved in in my imagination.

  14. JKM says

    What a lovely home! It looks to be in perfect condition and spotlessly clean. Wow! I looked at the google street view online and the neighborhood is very nice, too. My first instinct when looking at the photos, however, was that it was from the early ’60s, not ’70s – mainly because of the intercom. Oh well, fantastic regardless! The homes immediately next-door and across the street are fabulous MCM contemporaries as well. San Antonio is a lovely city, too.

  15. Ann B says

    Pam, are you sure the grass cloth is painted? Maybe my eyesight is worse than I thought but I wondered if it was a metal sculpture of a lotus tree? They were popular back then. The petals were painted sort of a creamy white but the rest was the natural brass maybe with some antiquing in the crevices of the branches. They were so cool.

    • pam kueber says

      hmmmmm…. I am not sure. I will take a closer look at the high-res images that Matthew sent me and report back…

    • pam kueber says

      I cropped the image to provide a better look at the wallpaper — it clearly is painted grass cloth. I think it’s now #12 in the slide show.

      • Ann B says

        The more I look at this house, the more I love it. We’re in the process of rehabbing an early 1960’s era high rise co-op apartment. Can’t afford to put all of it back to original but are doing what we reasonably can. I’ll submit pictures when it’s done. Your site has been very helpful as I decide what to do.

  16. Deanna says

    Hi, I am so glad you featured this home! I want it even more now! I work near Castle Hills and we would love to own a home in that area.

    I’m not sure that I agree that those are mirrors on the side of the fireplace because it looks like decorative items are placed in the bottom of the opening. It’s most obvious on the one on the right (as you face the fireplace).

    What do you think?

    • pam kueber says

      hmmmm…. I will ask the agent. I am pretty sure Matthew told me they were mirrors. Maybe they are mirrored recessed shelves — and we are both right!

    • Barb in Ct says

      Those are mirrored niches. You can see the ceiling fan reflected at the top and the tchotchkes at the bottom.

  17. Scott says

    I’m not a fireplace person but that fireplace with those flanking walls with triple openings is incredible. And a house my size with an intercom would be ridiculous but I’m not going to say I will never have one. Perhaps my favorite element is all-the-clutter-out-of-view pantry.

    And me three, four, eight, love the Venus, goddess of oil lamp, partly because they are so crazy and partly because (i’ll admit it) I have no idea how they work. Everytime I spot a working example at an antique mall I am mesmerized.

  18. says

    That “fountain” is a ’70’s era oil lamp. Those are actually beads of oil dripping down wires around the figurine to give it a fountain effect. There was one at the local Italian restaurant we frequented as a child. I remember being fascinated by it….touched it one time thinking it was water LOL

  19. tammyCA says

    ‘tho the ’70s era isn’t my favorite that house is quite amazing and stylish and I wouldn’t say no to it. I do remember the oil hanging brother had one in his apt. In the ’ to look at but also collected the dust. :)

  20. Pam says

    I grew up in Arizona and we used to go to the Tri-City Mall in Mesa which was built in 1968. It had a huge (35ft) ‘rain fountain’ in the lobby area that was like one of those oil lamps on steroids. It had something like 1,500 strings for the oil to drip down. I could stare at that thing for hours! Sadly the mall was torn down in 1998, and the fountain was probably long gone before that. The memories linger, though!

  21. Nora Stengrim says

    The only thing wrong with this house that I can see is that it’s not in my area with my name on the deed. This is amazing. I love that type of pantry in the kitchen instead of the walk in ones. Also, the built in drawers and storage in the master. And the closets or cupboards down the hallway. Perfect. And the outside patio area. And the curb appeal from the front. And…..

  22. suz b says

    WOW, IF I didn’t have the perfect job in CA and a recently remodeled kitchen with perfectly powder coated St. Charles cabinets and boomerang Formica and wall box, I’d put an offer in on this house. What a gem!

  23. Richard S says

    GROOVYtoDIEfor. Reminds me of the Decker’s house (set) from “Swingtown” just w/o the 70s hyper-mod decor. Very classy home: I would totally buy this house in a heartbeat. Here’s to hoping the new owner doesn’t scrape it; Too much of that going on here in Denver with immaculate time-capsule homes from the 70s. :(

  24. Jay says

    Just seeing this today. Nice house. That kitchen wall with the twin pantries with built in desk is great. What a high tech kitchen setting (for the 70s): a trim line wall phone, intercom/radio and pencil sharpener. I thought it great that the rain lamp was given a prominate setting. Big thing in the 70s, they were available in all sizes as swag fixtures, wall mount and free standing. I remember seeing them in Italian restaurants.

  25. Barb in Ct says

    In my head I’ve had a style I always called “70’s Formal”. THIS house is 70’s Formal exactly what I imagine to be. I love all the details.

    GOTTA love the hanging oil fountain in the Sitting Room.

  26. Eliza says

    maid’s room – it would be like living in the Brady Bunch house!!!! We were watching old episodes last week and I was thinking how much I wanted to live in their house.

  27. Lisa Compo says

    This is a lovely house. Makes me want to move to San Antonio…that and the sub zero weather we have been having here in KY. It’s good to know that there are still time capsules out there.

    I think with all that laminate that home would be pretty easy to keep clean. I hope the new owner keeps it all in tact, but we always do. :)

    For anyone in love with the rain lamps…they are pretty easy to find on Ebay. We restored one for my Mom last year for her birthday. The mineral oil they require to run is no longer made, so we had to come up with just the right mix of mineral oil and car motor oil to get the proper consistency to run at the proper rate down the strings. They are mesmerizing and beautiful to watch. “70’s Formal” for Barb said.

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