A 1950s time capsule ranch home in Lexington, Kentucky


All over America small, sweet homes like this have been lovingly tended by the families that built them after the war, and have lived in them ever since. During my recent trip to Kentucky, Sumac Sue took me and my sister on a tour of her Gardenside neighborhood in Lexington, Kentucky…and the highlight had to be this amazing time capsule, Mr. Bartlett’s circa-1959 colonial-ranch house.

19 photos in all


There was so much to see in a mere 1000 sq. ft.  I hardly know where to start. We talk so much about Nutone exhaust fans, how about this model from Mercury. It’s showing its age – just like me!


This home had two bathrooms,  one full bath in the hall, and a second half-bath in the master bedroom, and I loved them both. The tile im the half bath is lightly speckled, and look at the bullnose: It has a “top heavy” profile different from the standard bullnose you usually see. I like it! The wallpaper is wonderful and complements the tile beautifully in terms of both color(s) and scale.

50s-resilient flooring

Here’s the floor in the half-bath above, some variety of resilient sheet flooring.

All of the following photos enlarge – just click on ’em:

Related posts from Lexington / Kentucky:

Cindy’s pink bathroom
Amy’s aqua bathroom
Road trip to the home of the Dishmaster

  1. Deb says:


    Does anyone know if that type of linoleum contains asbestos? I am about to renovate my kitchen and the floor is covered with that same type of vintage linoleum. I am aware that I could also send a piece to get tested but just thought I’d ask.

    Thanks! 😉

    1. pam kueber says:

      Deb, you are asking the right questions: Yes, our vintage houses and their many layers of materials can contain vintage nastiness such as asbestos, lead, etc. I am not expert — To get the correct answer, you need to get with your own properly licensed professional to assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions. The EPA Website on Asbestos — https://www.epa.gov/asbestos — calls out some of the identified concerns with flooring — and it’s not just the tiles you need to be wary of. Start by taking a look at the website, and get with your own professionals to assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions.

  2. Miri says:

    That exact embossed linoleum is used in my grandparent’s/mother’s home. I’ve loved it my whole life and it’s very resilient. I’ve always wanted some and would describe it to people as linoleum and they’d think I was crazy. No one could ever imagine what I was talking about and kept telling me I was wrong — that there was no way what I was describing was linoleum. I’d end up dropping the subject because I never wanted to tell them they were wrong. My grandparents built that house. They knew what it was. I would still love to have some. Amazing stuff.

  3. Gloria Ferreira says:

    Hi, Do you still keep in contact with Mr. Bartlett? I am doing a photography project on the 1950’s and I live in Lexington, Ky. I would love to be able to get some pics inside the house.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.


  4. sumacsue says:

    Thanks for this lovely feature on a lovely gentleman’s home. Not only is Mr. Bartlett’s home a wonderful reflection on the past, but, Mr. Bartlett is too. He is a wonderful neighbor, doing the sorts of things people did in the old days — growing enough tomatoes for everyone on the street, sharing garden plants and seeds, and even taking the garbage out for two older women on the street (even though he is well into his 80s). It’s people like Mr. Bartlett who make our neighborhoods, and not just the houses.

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