Dean Gustavson 1957 midcentury modern house — with private observatory and underground bunker

Thanks for reader Karen, who spotted this amazing 1957 time capsule house for sale in Holladay, Utah, a suburb of Salt Lake City. The house was built by architect Dean Gustavson for his own family, and he lived there from 1957 until his death in fall 2011.  Okay, we see a lot of midcentury modern houses and many are all gorgeous-like and many have valued provenance, but This One Has a Private Observatory. And, Mony tells me, there is also an Underground Bunker that includes its own ventilation system, etc.

private observatory in backyard of dean gustavson midcentury modern house
A view to the observatory from the bedroom — amazing!

Gustavson’s obituary (excerpt below) explains that in World War II, he flew B-17, B-24, P-51 and P-28 planes. Mony Ty, the listing agent, said this is what led in his strong interest in the night sky.

In 1986, Dean (with the help of his son, Clint) restored a World-War II vintage Stearman Biplane to better-than-museum condition and, well into his 80’s, Dean could be seen flying aerobatics over the skies of Southern Utah. A strong interest in astronomy led him to design and build an observatory in the backyard of his Holladay home where he spent many years peering at, and photographing, planets and deep-space objects.

In addition, Mony says, Gustavson was very concerned about nuclear safety after the near-miss of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961. Hence, the bunker. This is an amazing house. *Lust*.

midcentury-modern-patio-shelterAnd, reader Shannon asks:

Is that a hyperbolic paraboloid roof I see in the backyard?

If you say so, Shannon!

More information and historical resources:

  1. Just another Pam says:

    Love! the house but really wouldn’t want to live anywhere near Salt Lake City.

    Kitchen porn in this video and for ‘some’ reason I always think of our wonderful hostess every time I see it.

  2. pam kueber says:

    Hi Mark, It is an honor to show your father’s gorgeous design on the blog. Thank you for the correction regarding the design credit; I have updated the story accordingly. What wonderful memories you must have — what a gorgeous house — we all hope very very much that the new owners treasure every square inch right down to those vintage GE steel kitchen cabinets! Many thanks!

  3. pam kueber says:

    Well isn’t that music video a perfect little tour through mid mod kitchen history? Thank you, Just another Pam. I’ll post this on the blog soon!

  4. Mony Ty says:

    That is my fear that I am loosing more homes every year. I hope educating people about the home, giving a history of it and show the value of good design will save some. I have over 1000 homes on my mailing list from Provo to Ogden and have been trying to contact the current owners the value to their homes, so that some other agent will not list their home for the value of the land. I also hope that some will start to register their home on the Historic Society to protect it from being torn down.

  5. Dana says:

    Hi, I ran across this story of yours and couldn’t resist responding to say my family and I are the new owners of this fantastic home. We absolutely love it! We tell ourselves this everyday. And yes, we are enjoying and paying tribute to all the details. Especially the GE metal cabinets, we are definitely keeping those and are just looking to have them painted to ensure they stay in good condition. The fun thing is my husband is a contemporary architect himself so this home suits us and we are keeping it in it’s original format. I see several people commenting on the bunker, I will try and get some pictures this Spring and post them. We are wanting to turn the bunker into a 50’s style hangout for the kids. Thanks for the great story, I promise you it is a magnificent home and Dean designed it perfectly, every detail is perfect!

  6. pam kueber says:

    Congratulations, Dana!!!!!!! It is so wonderful the house has ended up in sympathetic hands. We can’t wait to see what you do with it!

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