18 midcentury modern vacation homes — including a “Homarina” and a Japanese-style tea house

Homarina - a vacation house set right over the waterSnaps to Sarah for spotting this 1960s catalog of vacation houses promoting the use of Douglas Fir Plywood. It includes some pretty snappy — and in their way, hilarious — designs. “Novelty” vacation home ideas — my favorite is the Japanese tea house… but the Homarina, set right over the water… Home + Marina, get it?… is pretty great, too. Did anyone really build these, I wonder?

Vacation home for boatersHere’s another vacation home for boaters — designed for the Johnson Motors Family Boating Bureau.” It has only 275 s.f. of livable space. This makes me remember growing up in Southern California in the 1960s. My dad loved to fish, and took us fishing up at Big Bear Lake quite often. Our pickup truck had a camper shell. I think that was much more part of the lifestyle — cheap, cheerful, outdoor vacations were much more the norm. I haven’t been seriously camping in 20 years, alas. I really used to like it…

Midcentury modern tea houseInterior of midcentury modern tea houseThe two images above are both from the “tea house”. The interior is so modern, all George Nelson-like. Inside, almost all these designs have Malm style fireplaces.



Vacation bunkhouseThe two photos above: The awesome “Ranch Rambler” — with its row of small sleeping nooks all in a row, separated from the main living area by a deck. What a great concept — when you are on vacation at the lake, you don’t need big bedrooms… yet, it’s nice for everyone to have their own space. Alas, where is the kitchen?

Inside outside fireplaceNotice the inside/outside fireplace. These cowboy/cowgirl images seem kind of silly… archaic today… But I guess back in the day, out west was still, well, *Western.*

1960 vacation house

Simple yet stylish.

A frame cottageYou get your A-Frame cottages, of course. Did anyone ever have one of these? They seem pretty practical to me.

A Frame cabinThis A-frame cabin is pretty snappy, too.


Vacation house that you can expand as you have more moneyAnd this is terrific — a design for a cabin that you can expand over time. It starts as a “luxury campsite” and as you can afford it, you can expand it to include livable indoor space that ultimately presents like this:

Three stage beach cabin

So clever, those designers in the 1950s and 1960s. There is so much media these days about stylish “modern” small houses — the designs have been here for us all along!

See all 18 designs in the 1960 brochure via the MBJ Collection in the Building Technology Heritage Library . Thanks, Sarah!

  1. Bert Meadows says:

    Thank you so much, I’ll reach out to them hope they still have original plans.

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