20 time capsule house living rooms — mid-century fun & fabulous flavors galore

Kitchen and bathrooms often get top billing when we ogle time capsule houses here on the blog. So today, let’s return to our archive of nearly 100 time capsules houses and admire 20 of our favorite living rooms. There’s an incredible selection here — proving yet again, there are lots of ways to retro. Above: 1962  Minnesota house, photo courtesy Ben Colvin of Spacecrafting and agents Tom and Henry Edelstein.

1. (Above) The living room in this 1960s “Storybook Ranch” time capsule has it all: wood paneling, amazing picture window, stone fountain wall, decorative iron railing and a vaulted ceiling (lead photo). The house also has a gothic sitting room with loads of style, including red shaggy carpet and a fireplace with a crest of arms.

2. (Above) The gigantic round living room in this 1957 time capsule home has a central round stone fireplace and decorative concrete block room dividers.

mid century living room

Photo courtesy realtors at Hewitt & Habgood.

3. (Above) The living room in this 1950 time capsule in Dallas is white on white — complete with white carpet, white brick fireplace and planter, white pinch pleat draperies and a glowing crystal chandelier.

4. (Above) Timeless appeal of the mid century living room in this 1951 Portland house is evident — the icing on this cake — soffits that  could be hiding lighting or curtains around the perimeter of the room.

mid century living room

Photo courtesy of photographer Annie M. and realtor Donna Fleetwood.

5. (Above) This 1960 time capsule living room has a double sided stone fireplace complete with built-in shelving — and two formal seating areas. 

6. (Above) This 1957 Minnesota time capsule living room has a stunning wood paneled ceiling, Shoji screen doors and chinoiserie lighting.


Photo courtesy of agents Tom and Henry Edelstein.

7. (Above) A personal favorite — the bold mid century light red living room in a 1962 time capsule in Mendota Heights, Minnesota — has a definite wow factor. 


Photo courtesy of photographer and listing agent Karla Spiegelberg.

8. (Above) The high ceilings, giant brick fireplace and planter wall, exposed beams and specialty angled window treatment make this 1960 time capsule home feel grand.

9. (Above) The living room in this single-owner 1956 split-level ranch is stunning — that fireplace, those hanging lights, that sofa — and yes, even a wallpaper mural in the adjacent dining room.


Photo courtesy of realtor Linda Grotenstein.

10. (Above) The bright and cheery living room in this William Pahlmann designed 1962 time capsule home mixes vintage, modern and exotic pieces to create an eclectic and livable look.


Photo courtesy of Realtor and photographer Jeffrey Hogue.

11. (Above) This groovy 1978 living room in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania is bright and sunny, from the yellow drapes to the gorgeous plaid carpet.


Photos courtesy of agent Diana Gonzalez and real estate marketing firm CirclePix and photographer Matthew Wingate.

12. (Above) The living room in this impeccable 1972 time capsule in San Antonio, Texas hosts a grand fireplace wall and beautiful beamed ceilings.


Photo courtesy of Realtor Tim Burrough and photographer Nic Simmons from Surroundplan.

13. (Above) Ever wondered how vintage living rooms look down under? Check out this 1960 midcentury modest home in Mooloolaba, Australia.


Photos courtesy of realtor Jacob Smith and photographer Mike McCaw from Spacecrafting.

14. (Above) Could there be a more breathtaking midcentury modern living room than the one in this stunning 1961 time capsule home just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, built by architect John Polivka?


Photo courtesy of Broker Jeri Schmidt and VHT Photography.

15. (Above) In this 1952 Evanston, Illinois time capsule living room, the furniture takes a backseat to the luscious terra cotta floors, floor to ceiling windows and beamed ceiling.


Photo courtesy of Realtor Ed Murchison and Shoot2Sell Photography.

16. (Above) There is a mathematical symmetry found in the decor of this 1967 Fort Worth, Texas home — built by the family that owned A. Brandt Ranch Oak Furniture.

17. (Above) This magical 1954 Los Angeles time capsule living room — in an amazing home — was built by architect Albert P. and artist Gloria Martin.

18. (Above) Don’t forget the 1980s — this green and white Shorewood, Minnesota time capsule home living room — and the rest of the home — has been impeccably decorated.

19. (Above) This 1959 time capsule living room in Kettering, Ohio has some great features including a fabulous stone fireplace and contrasting black stone wall, warm wood paneling and a built-in sofa.

20.  (Above) And last not but not least, an amazing 1960 storybook ranch house living room.

Readers, which one of these time capsule living rooms is tickling your fancy today?


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  1. Robin, NV says

    #6, 8, and 12. I especially love 12. That’s the house that made me think “hmm, maybe the 70s weren’t that bad.”

    What’s with Minnesota anyway? Seems to be a lot of good stuff from there.

  2. virginia says

    Love number 17 — beautiful. And in awe of the gorgeous and huge plaid rug in the PA home.

    So many great floors, ceilings, and fireplaces too.

  3. Andrew says

    I have to say #5 since that was the home I cared for for 5 years and I still love it even though we sold it!

  4. Mary Elizabeth says

    I especially love the ones with the light painted walls and light wood ceilings. To me, that is one of the highlights of MCM architecture.

  5. midmichigan says

    I’m doing construction (again) today and this came at the perfect time to lift my spirits. Looking at the beauty of finished jobs was the thing I needed. Thanks for the post, Kate!

    • Andrew says

      It was…luckily im right down the street and have made friends with the guys who bought the house so I go over and visit from time to time…so weird ringing the door bell though…

  6. Laurie Louise says

    I love #7. I know it says it’s red, but it reads hot pink, and that’s what I’m going to pretend it is. Sometime in the 60s, my Aunt Margaret changed her name to Maggi and redid her living room in hot pink. I’m not talking accents–everything was hot pink. She wore it all the time too for several years. She passed away last month at age 94, and lots of folks wore a touch of pink to her service in her honor.

    • tammyCA says

      Aw, that was sweet of them to wear the pink for your aunt. I bet her hot pink living room in the ’60s was super cool!

      • Laurie Louise says

        Thanks, Tammy. Her living room was super cool! She was raising five kids, including two sets of twins, and had spunk left over for all that hot pink. Amazing energy and spirit!

  7. ineffablespace says

    I think 9 and 10 are the strongest original designs and are time capsules in the most pristine and preserved sense. All of them are great in some ways, but some of them are shadows of their former selves.

    How can we nominate potential time capsules? I look at real estate almost daily and save pictures fairly frequently.

  8. tammyCA says

    I think I’ll go with #7 and #10. But is #7 red or hot pink? ‘cuz I see hot pink on my screen and I love pink, not so much red. ‘Course, I’d also splash in some pineapple yellow…I am obsessed with the combo of hot pink and bright yellow or chartreuse and they would be in my fantasy Hollywood Regency living room.

  9. says

    #12 – I wonder why the sofas in most of these rooms face away from the large windows? Does anyone besides me like looking at the view through all that fabulous glass?

    • Jay says

      Looking out large windows is great for a nice view but typically sofas are placed on the window wall because in many homes it’s the longest unbroken span of wall space that will accomodate it and end tables/lamps as other walls tend to be broken up with a fireplace, built-ins, doors or openings to other rooms.

    • Lizzy says

      If the sofa looks out the windows, it’s turned away from the room and the people in it, not right for the houses big public room. A house like this has other places to look at the veiw, but where people gather the furniture is placed for socializing.

  10. virginia says

    Just wanted to express once more my eternal love for the Alfred P. and Gloria Martin house. I’m always just knocked out by the love, care, and talent that went into making this space. It’s so luxurious in its details and yet so clean and pleasing to the eye. I hope that whoever bought it, if it’s been sold, loves it as much as I do. It really is a work of art.

  11. Joe Felice says

    Red/hot pink number in Minnesota MIGHT just be a little over-the-top. Remember, someone may actually have to live there!

      • Joe Felice says

        It’s not the colors I dislike. In fact, I do like them. It’s just that I think they’re too much for one large room. I would have used the color as as trim & accent to make the place pop. Now remember, I would KILL for a pink bathroom, such as yours! And a turquoise kitchen such as Pam’s! Color is one thing that is very subjective. I put it in the same category as music. And to each his or her own. As long as the homeowner likes it, that’s all that counts. He or she is the one who has to live with it. Each of us decorates to our own tastes. This we know, for sure!

  12. Jacki Olson says

    I dig #12. Just purchased a 1972 rancher time capsule. Original yellow shag carpet. more wood louvers than anyone needs and an amazing bank of kitchen drawers, stretching nearly 15′. Nutone devices everywhere. All working! Oh my, the interesting finds we have had. Like the 3 very-much working rotary phones in the house..(memories of those childhood friends who had all the 9’s and 0’s in their ph.#…shoooooook, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat) Anyway, love the retroreno site. I’m sure I will be logged in a lot, now that we have the “Brady Bunch” house in our life!

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