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James and Robi’s 1949 ranch house with 1964 St. Charles kitchen cabinets

1949 ranch houseRetro Renovation readers James and RobiJames and Robi recently became the third owners of this 7,400 s.f. (woah!) ranch home near Fort Worth, Texas. As you would imagine, this was built by some folks with some dough re mi — it includes an indoor pool and a fabulous 1964 St. Charles steel kitchen has all the bells and whistles. Moreover, the kitchen is interesting, because we can see what vintage metal kitchen cabinets look like when they are finished with granite countertops — which were added by the previous owners. Robi writes:

Hi Pam,
I have been enjoying the Retro Renovation site and am so happy to know that there are others who love and appreciate their postwar homes. I was extremely fortunate to purchase my dream home a few months ago, and want to share some photos. The short version of a long story: The house was built in 1949 in a small college town an hour southwest of Fort Worth, Texas. The second owner purchased it in 1954, and cared for it meticulously for 50 years. The original owners’ son bought it five years ago, but decided to downsize. Now it belongs to my partner, two cats, and me, and it’s home!
.1964 blue metal kitchen cabinets
I write back right away and ask James to tell me his “Retro Renovation Story.” He replies:

My partner, Robi, and I were living in Fort Worth, in a nice early-1990s home in a great neighborhood.  We both thought of it as our permanent home, and I was content to spend the rest of my days there.  Several years ago, through mutual friends, we met Jim and Cissy, of Stephenville, Texas.  They soon came to be our friends, too.  We had admired their huge (7400 square foot) 1949 home and Robi’s half-serious comment to Cissy was, “If you ever want to sell this house,  let us know.” This surprised me, because I have always liked older houses, but Robi prefers new ones.  Go figure.

Through fate … the house became available this past spring, and Jim sent us a note.  After much deliberation, we took the plunge and bought it, giving us a one-hour drive to work in the city, but we knew we’d have to make some sacrifices.  This much said, a little history on the house.

1960s indoor pool in texas ranch houseJim’s dad owned the feed mill in Stephenville, a town of about 15,000, and an important dairy and agricultural center in North Texas. His wife, Kathryn, wanted a stylish new home to reflect their standing in the community, and hired a noted local builder.  They lived in the house for about four years, then for reasons not entirely clear (too big?) sold it to another family, who owned it for the next 50 years.  They added the pool room around 1963, hiring the original builder and his crew to construct it.  I am lucky to have several snapshots of the room and pool being built. Over the years, they meticulously cared for the house and yard.  Jim and Cissy bought the house in 2005 from the estate.

built in spice rack in 1960s st. charles kitchen cabinetsHe and Cissy redecorated a bit and made some changes, which might be cringe-inducing for dedicated midcentury-ists, including new bathrooms and updated the kitchen with the granite countertops you see in the pictures.  Fortunately, we don’t mind the updates, and they left a lot of the good vintage details intact, including the magnificent circa 1964 St. Charles kitchen cabinets, Vent-a-hood, laundry room, and pool room.  There are two vintage NuTone doorbells and a working NuTone Heata-venta-light.  The house retains its original woodwork and moldings, and has a great, comfortable mid century feel.

1960s kitchenaid dishwasherThe Hobart KitchenAid dishwasher was rescued (by me, the finder and fixer of things) from our local Habitat for Humanity store and restored, so it works as good as new, plus the house is home to our mostly mid-century traditional furniture and accessories and my vintage appliance collection.

Thanks again for letting me share the house on your site!  Stephenville has some other cool mid-century homes, including a terrific 1961 era Eichler-style on an estate-sized lot.  The original owner died this year and I’m not sure what the family has planned, but I went to the estate sale and it’s a wonderful, untouched example of uninhibited sixties modern!   I will keep an eye on it and if it comes up for sale, send some pictures.

Thank you for hosting this fabulous site, which is interesting, educational, and always inspiring!
Sincerely,
James
To view slide show, click on the first thumbnail, the image will enlarge, and you can move forward or back via the arrows below each image. You can start the slide show anywhere…
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Thank you so much for sending all these photos, Robi, and for sharing your story. What’s particularly interesting about your kitchen, is that, if you showed it to folks who weren’t into retro or mid century, I bet they’d think it was a modern “today” kitchen – what with those granite countertops and marble (?) backsplash and floor tiles. No question, those St. Charles cabinets have staying power. I recently saw my first set of vintage St. Charles cabinets “live” at the Re-Store in Springfield. Woah, those cabinets are honkin’ heavy — heavier than my Genevas, even. I am now a first-hand believer that St. Charles’ were top-of-the-line among steel kitchen cabinets. That said: I am pretty sure my Genevas will last forever, too.
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Congratulation on your and Robi’s new/old home — it’s a lucky house!

  1. Oh. My. Goodness! That kitchen is so amazing, I can forgive the granite. The cupboards make me so jealous, and the collection of small appliances is sublime, from the Farberware electric frying pan, the Presto (I think) electric pressure cooker, Sunbeam egg poacher, Sunbeam electric pot, Waring blender, to the Braun Citromatic juicer. These people know good stuff when they see it.

    It strikes me just a tad funny that the ad shown to me on the page is for new kitchen cupboards. Sorry! Not after looking at these ones!

  2. Sara in WA says:

    This is everything I dream of. I am truly envious and wish you many happy years in this truly uniquely amazing home!!

  3. Michelle says:

    So, silly question…but I have the same cabinets and the same spice rack!! We just finished installing them and I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the short shelves behind the pull out spice rack to hook in. Can you help

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