Mike and Lindsey’s Edward Durell Stone “House of Good Taste”

Their first report on their new Retro Renovation journey

mid-century-entrywayHOGT-graphicMike and Lindsey — known here as the careful caretakers of two vintage pink bathrooms — have started a new Retro Renovation adventure: The couple recently closed on their new home, a 1964 mid-century modern adapted from a famous “House of Good Taste” design by architect Edward Durell Stone for the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The house needs some TLC, and Mike asked us if we’d like for him to document this new, labor-of-love project. Heck to the yeah, we said! Here’s his first report on this jewel of a house… some historical photos we dug up… and their epic restoration plans ahead. 

The House of Good Taste Digital ID: psnypl_mss_1168. New York Public Library
The House of Good Taste Digital ID: psnypl_mss_1172. New York Public Library
The House of Good Taste. Inter... Digital ID: psnypl_mss_1171. New York Public Library
The House of Good Taste Digital ID: psnypl_mss_1173. New York Public Library

Images above: From the New York Public Library’s Digital Collection

Mike-&-LindseyWe asked Mike and Lindsey to share the story of how they decided to become the new custodians of this special home.

Mike wrote:

Shortly after moving into our current 1950’s ranch four years ago, we became enamored with everything mid-century. While we love our current home, it’s definitely more mid-century “modest” than mid-century “modern”, and previous renovations done by various different owners removed most of its original character (except the two pink bathrooms of course). We decided that one day we wanted to renovate and restore a authentic mid-century modern home.

mid-century-living-room-brickLooking for this “dream” home became a sort of hobby and obsession of ours. We didn’t have any real NEED to move, but thought if just the “right” house came along, we might take the plunge. Owning a special mid-century home soon became a “bucket list item” for us to hopefully fulfill one day. In the meantime, we continued to love our current house, always in the midst of one project or another, while keeping our eyes out for the “one.”

House-of-good-taste-living-roomWe would go to open houses and search the MLS, and every once in awhile, something would grab our attention only to be eliminated due to location, size, being “updated”, or one of the other million reasons. Again, we did not need to move so we were super picky about our dream mid century home. It seemed nothing met the requirements of our list.

edward durell stone

Photo courtesy OKCmod.com

edward durell stone house

The house while it was on the market. Photo courtesy OKCmod.com

When we saw the post on Okie Mod Squad about “The House of Good Taste possibly coming on the market, we were very interested, but had experienced enough “dead ends” to know not to get our hopes up. We decided to get the contact information and emailed the owner. The owner, who had been there for 25 years and truly knew the value of the home, wanted to make sure the next owners appreciated and would take proper care of it. In our minds, this probably wasn’t the one, the location was a little suburban for us, but what could it hurt to look right?

[Editor’s Note: The Okie Mod Squad article by Lynne Rostochil provides lots more great into about this history of this exact house — take a look! Thank you, too, Lynne, for giving us permission to feature some of your photos!]

mid-century-skylight

house-of-good-taste-retro

Note, Mike told us this brick is NOT painted: “The stone on the interior has not been painted. We believe it might be concrete that was poured into forms. The is white, and I think that is what makes it look like to could have been painted.”

Long story short, we were wrong. This was very much “the one.”  It checked almost every item on our “dream home” list.  While the location wasn’t a complete slam dunk, the fact that the house backs up to a private park quickly canceled out any location reservations we had.The house was not technically on the market yet, so we knew we had a chance to snatch it up before others caught wind.

mid-century-kitchenWe took a deep breath, took the plunge and recently closed on our new home. We are now the proud owners of a “The House of Good Taste”.

The house has been cared for and protected the last 25 years, but it’s in need of a little Retro Renovation love! So we are diving in with both feet and have a complete renovation planned over the next few months. We are excited to share the entire process with the Retro Renovation family…. who knows, there might be some original terrazzo floors hiding under all of that carpet?

kitchen-before mid-century-bedroom bedroom-windows-midcenturyThanks, Mike and Lindsey, for offering to bring us along for your Retro Renovation journey.  This is the kind of vicarious pleasure we adore!

Read all of Mike and Lindsey’s stories about their Edward Durell Stone House of Good Taste

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Comments

  1. Rudy says

    Talk about an inviting blank canvas! I love the vibe of that house and I’m only looking at pics! I bet it just “feels” like a time machine as much as anything can. Enjoy every second of making it yours!

  2. Sheila S says

    Wow! I can’t wait to see how Mike and Lindsey approach this amazing home. I think I’d be paralyzed and afraid to harm such a treasure. I feel a little like that with my own home which is not nearly so noteworthy. I hope they will share their thought process, plans and the results!

  3. Robin, NV says

    Wow!! That house is going to be SO much fun work on. So many cool features that are just crying to be highlighted. Love the brickwork throughout.

    Those cabinets in the kitchen reminded me of a set I saw recently. A house around the corner from me is being renovated and they pulled an entire set of those center pull cabinets out of the kitchen. They were dark brown wood and looked to be in good shape. I hope they found a good home an didn’t end up at the dump.

  4. Jacki says

    What an awesome project. I can’t wait to see the progress as the house is redone. The house is so original it will be interesting to see if there really is Terrazzo under the carpets, but if there isn’t there is always Fritztile. It is just as beautiful as the poured Terrazzo.

  5. Lisa says

    Still in the picky, dream house search phase. Well-described. Congrats. You definitely found a beauty. And, very much looking forward to updates.

  6. Jay says

    What a find – an MCM house with a pedigree. Mr. Stone had a long productive career spanning from 30s to the 70s with some notable commissions. I have to agree, as fun as a 6ft radius fountain sounds, it was probably more of an attraction suited for the World’s fair. However I think a small water and plant installation underthe skylight would be great to emphasize the central atrium feeling.
    We RR fans will happily go along for the ride and travel down the road of renovation with you folks. Good Luck!

  7. Roundhouse Sarah says

    A fellow roundhouse owner I know had ‘geodesica’ and the date of construction professionally etched into their driveway. I think this would be awesome if you did something similar because ‘The house of good taste’ is the best name ever for a home!
    Congrats! Can’t wait to see the progress!

  8. MikeD says

    Thank you Pam and Kate for bringing our project to your readers

    We are documenting everything very thoroughly and it is something we hope everyone really enjoys. Most of these updates will be a bit behind where we are actually at with the house, so I am having to force myself to keep my lips shut on some of the progress that has already taken place

  9. Robin, NV says

    I just read through the OKC Mod Squad article on The House of Good Taste. I had to laugh at the description of being a mid mod “helicopter mom.” I’m the same way! In my little rural town there are very few nice mid mods so when I spy one, I keep an eye on it to make sure it’s being treated well. There’s a nice mid mod for sale right now that has bittersweet laminate in the kitchen AND a pink bathroom AND a groovy curved fireplace – I’m biting my nails waiting to see what will happen to it. :D

  10. Sarah Madden Schildknecht says

    Congrats on the new home!!! It is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see how the space transforms! Making the switch from my current mid-modest 1958 split level to a true mid modern rambler is on my bucket list. Best of luck!

  11. Lisa Compo says

    Congratulations on finding “The One”, and thank you so much for sharing it with us. I can’t wait to follow along on your Retro Renovation journey. Not that I want it to happen….but maybe you will run into a “Design Dilemma” and we can all submit a suggestion or two. ;) Is all of the brickwork on the inside a natural white or has it been painted? Just wondering.

    Thanks again, also to Pam and Kate for featuring your story. I look forward to seeing your progress and wish you the best of luck as you move along with restorations. I am excited to see the next set of pictures already.

    • MikeD says

      Lisa, thank you for your kind words

      The stone on the interior has not been painted. We believe it might be concrete that was poured into forms. The is white, and I think that is what makes it look like to could have been painted

  12. Mary Elizabeth says

    Really exciting news for serious retro restoration fans such as yourselves!

    OK, I hate to admit it. But I was at the ’64-’65 World’s Fair during my teenage years and saw the original house. My family weren’t big fans (we were living in and restoring a Victorian house then), but I got kind of dreamy eyed, especially over the kitchen and the central atrium with the skylight.

    One thing: I don’t remember everything being white, but maybe the decor was brighter than that shown in the staged house. It really needs some color pops somewhere, IMHO.

    Congratulations! We can’t wait to see the reports.

  13. Florett says

    I am just THRILLED with this project, and your publishing of it! thank yo so much. The house is quite beautiful, and the sellers must be delighted you found it…

  14. Joe Felice says

    I will enjoy following this reno. There is simply too-much potential for serious beauty here! Not sure if money is an object, but I think the entire kitchen has to go. (And we didn’t get to see the bathrooms.) I wish all that beautiful Miami brick inside had not been painted. The carpet needs to go, as do the slatted window coverings and the painted interior doors. All those surface-mounted, track spotlights will be gone, of course. I envision concealed lighting in that “cove” at the top of the walls–oh, so beautiful, especially if that space is painted a slightly-different color from the walls themselves. How often will we get updates? I for one, would like to follow as this goes along, rather than just a “before” and “after.” (And, by the way, what is that “cove” at the top of the walls called, architecturally speaking?)

    • MikeD says

      Joe

      We will be doing multiple installments on this project, somewhere between 5-8 I would guess?, not just a before and after.

      It is not a “money is no object” situation, but I can tell you that we feel its a once in a life time sort of thing, so we will be doing it full on and not cutting corners. To give you a hint, this is a big enough project that we are keeping our current home during the renovations because the place will not be livable.

    • pam kueber says

      Joe, the brick is not painted. In a previous comment Mike explained:

      The stone on the interior has not been painted. We believe it might be concrete that was poured into forms. The is white, and I think that is what makes it look like to could have been painted

      I am going to add this to the story.

      • Joe Felice says

        I did see that after I posted. Thanks for clarifying. In that case, maybe painting the mortar between the bricks a slightly-different color would be the solution. Not anything drastic, but just-enough variation to show off the brick. It is so beautiful. A friend had her 1964 ranch clad in that, in a light rose shade. That was probably the most-popular color back then.

    • pam kueber says

      “Tray” – tray ceiling or tray lighting – something like that, I am not sure which is more correct.

      • Joe Felice says

        It does look like a tray. Thanks. But on HGTV, what they call a “tray ceiling” is always up higher, in the center of the room/ceiling. It appears to be a step-down sort of arrangement. Anyway, what I had in mind was what these owners currently have in the living room. You can do a lot with lighting, as we all know, and maybe even a soft pastel shade would be attractive, just so it’s not so glaring.

        • Jukesgrrl says

          Whether or not the “trays” appears to be stepped up or down, they still a tray ceiling. Here’s a link that explains in more detail.
          http://info.stantonhomes.com/bid/77723/Types-of-Ceilings-Guide-to-Common-Ceiling-Styles

          As that article does, some decorators insist the spelling of this architectural detail is “trey ceiling” rather than T-R-A-Y. I was curious and researched; I can find no significant support for that from a linguistic perspective. The Merriam-Webster dictionary uses “tray” with no variations listed. The etymology of the word “tray,” flat pieces of wood (from the word “tree”), certainly appears to apply here. The Oxford English Dictionary’s only definitions for the word “trey” are meanings related to the number “three.” So I suppose if there are three trays, the ceiling might be referred to as a “trey” ceiling, otherwise, I’d stick to “tray.”

  15. Sam R says

    The complete exterior of my 1954 house in SW Missouri, and large portions of the street-visible elevations of the 15 or so other houses in the neighborhood built by the same person in the following years, are made of that “concrete made to look like Roman/Carthage stone” material. Mine is kind of a light khaki color, but some of the other houses have more unusual tints such as pink and green. Your “stone” looks to be from the same molds as mine.

    Rather interestingly, both the main floor and basement fireplace facings are real cut stone, and the basement level stone features heavy fossil inclusions.

  16. Paige says

    I will eagerly be following the updates on this home, we are in the process of purchasing a home in NC, the majority of the 4000 sq ft home is terrazzo flooring, which is one of our favorite features!
    I will be very interested in seeing the process for restoring the flooring as it will be something we too will need to do.
    We lucked out, only a small section of our flooring was carpeted.

    • Mike and Lindsey says

      when we get to the installment on the floors, we will give a outline of the step by step process on the terrazzo

  17. Annette says

    I’m excited to see the terrazzo reno.
    I have a ’62 home in Florida with terrazzo floors, also previously covered with carpet . . . such a sin.
    FYI – I used a Dremel wheel to cut the nails (from the carpet slats) flush with the floor.
    I’ve also tried a few different solvents & a razor scrapper to strip the glue, most of it lifted, but the glue left a stain.
    Then I was told to be careful with solvents & terrazzo, and I was to only use white vinegar to clean the floor.

    I’m exceited for you . . . the house is in good hands.

    • says

      Annette, any other helpful hints you could offer about your terrazzo experience would be deeply appreciated.
      Our terrazzo has carpet glue & had tack strips pulled out, which left damage.
      Our home was built in 1958 & I don’t think the terrazzo has ever been cleaned, seriously.
      I will only be cleaning sections at a time, to make sure I’m being as thorough as possible.

  18. Amy says

    I’m jumping backward to the start on this. What a wonderful name for this wonder-ful home! Why don’t they have such homes – now – models – designed by real visionary architects? All we have is builder groups offering the same 3 models – with “upgrades” that used to be standard! No imagination. Just facade and pretentiousness. And profit for the builder. No fashion-forward these days, like these homes!

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