1938 time capsule Tudor — 17 photos — original owners lived here at least 72 years!

1940 tudor time capsule house in portland oregon

1960s kitchen in 1940 time capsule house
Yes, some fab updating! But lots of circa-1940 original, too.

Oh my glorious time capsule. An absolute charmer of a house:  a 1938 Romantic Revival Tudor…  in Portland, Oregon… a Hansel and Gretel time capsule house… for sale… from the first owner… who moved in 1939 or 1940. That’s, like, when we first met Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Yes, a house holding the memories of just one family for more than 70 years. And, as we often see with these time capsule houses — this one is in impeccable-looking shape. The floors are gorgeous. The woodwork, plaster, fireplaces, lighting, bathroom — all preserved. Yes, there was some redecorating in the late 1960s or early 1970s, and maybe those kitchen cabinets aren’t original, but oh my, flower power wallpaper included, this is a sweetheart of a house. Over-the-rainbow super thanks to listing agent Thomas Cale of John L. Scott Real Estate, and to photographer Seth at 360PDX.com for sending me these photos and giving me permission to show and archive photos of this beautiful house here. Photos? There are 15 more, so start scrolling!

1940 living room with coved ceiling and original hardwood floorsAccording to agent Thomas Cale, it seems that construction on this house started in 1938, but the house was not likely finished for a year or two. That puts just one family in the house for at least 72 years. Wow!

art tileAbove: Art tile piece at the top of the fireplace. Here’s the story Thomas got from another agent: Back in the day, each mason doing fireplaces like these had his own “signature tile” to crown his work. This peacock (?) would have been used solely by one craftsman, and the other craftsmen would have respected his exclusive use of it. This looks to me like classic art tile. Bungalow Bill, what do you think of this claim? And what about this tile?

Prompt a.m. update: Bungalow Bill (a faithful reader! Thank you, Bill!) immediately responded with info on this tile:

The tile was made by the Batchelder Tile Co of Los Angeles (1909-1932). A single tile could have been purchased or an entire pre-planned surround, which I suspect this was. I don’t know about a signature tile for a tile setter, I suppose that may be more likely in more grand installations.

The house reads more 1920?s to me. The niches in the rooms, with the exception of above the fireplace, could have been used for a telephone.

I dig that mint green band of tiles against the pink in the tub.

Here’s another story Thomas conveyed: The nook above the fireplace, and another similar nook in the hallway between the upstairs bedrooms, were installed specifically to hold religious figurines. Prayers would be said to them.

dining room with original lighting fixturesAccording to the listing, the house includes three bedrooms, one bathroom (yes: pink), hardwood floors, a finished basement with fireplace, wet bar, and utility room. As you will also see in the photos, there are some seriously scrumptious architectural details — coved tray ceilings (am I use the correct term?), arts and crafts fireplace, original lighting, and even a lovely original rug. The listing says the home is “just blocks to Portland’s Alberta Art district and only minutes to downtown.” The house just came on the market this week, the listing price is $365,000.

vintage kitchen portland oregonleaded glass in the wall cabinet doorsThomas believes that the wall cabinet doors — the ones with the leaded glass — are original to the house. Or the doors are. But he believes the original cabinets were replaced with these, in the 1970s or so.

kitchen with 1970s renovation

fabulous vintage wallpaperAm I crazy in love with this kitchen nook, with the wild flooring reaching up to the wild wallpaper, with gold valances batting their eyelashes?? You bet I am. Thomas said that 20 people came through the house the first day it was on the market (Tuesday). He said about half of them liked — or even loved — the wallpaper. He was surprised. I told him: Don’t be, vintage wallpaper is “in”!

pink bathroom in 1940 time capsule houseOf course there is a pink bathroom. Would there ever be a doubt. Remember: There were pink bathrooms before Mamie Eisenhower. Just not as many as after, because there was not much home construction during the Depression years. Thomas says that when this house was built, it was all farmland across the street.

1940s basementHere’s the time capsule basement. Look at the wallpaper! The floor! The knotty pine wet bar! Reports from the family are: There were some great parties held in this room.

knotty pine basementLook at the width of those knotty pine panels. Oh, Thomas, remember how I told you about my other website, SaveThePinkBathrooms.com? I forgot to tell you about my other other website, KnottyIsNice.com. This house has multiple selling points, here in the Retro Renovation Nation.

1940 basementold sink in basementThe other side of the basement. Dig the old sink. Thomas says it’s made of concrete. Yum.

hardwood floors in upstairs bedroomI think Thomas told me that in the upstairs bedrooms, there had been shag carpet. When they pulled it up, this is what was underneath. This floor has not been refinished. It was pristine. I also like that door, and I’d love to see a close up of the doorknob and escutcheon.

vintage wallpaper in 1940 houseThomas says all the wallpaper in the house is just a single layer. It’s old. These folks did not see a need to change it. Most all the lighting in the house is original, too. )I am not so sure about the lights in the kitchen prep area….)

vintage rugAbove: If I’m understanding Thomas correctly, there is another floor tucked way up top. This rug is original. FANTASTIC!

tudor house romantic revival styleI  would love to see photos of this house with its original roofing. I bet it was all Hansel and Gretel cedar shingles. Thomas has dubbed the house “Tudor” and I think that’s fundamentally right, but I’d also put it into the American Romantic Revival tradition. I didn’t go pull out my field guide, but it was during the 1930s that we saw these sentimental housing styles recreated in homes built across America. What a heartwarming house. We are all keeping our fingers crossed, Thomas, that the new owners love it as much as we do — without making too many changes. This story made me so happy. xoxo, Thomas and Seth!

Link love:

P.S. Portland sure has some beauties. Remember this 1948 Streamline Moderne time capsule stunner we saw last year?

P.S.S. I was up really late writing this. I will fix typos in the morning.

All material as published in this story is copyright RetroRenovation.com 2012.

  1. Elizabeth says:

    oh my god! I TOTALLY stayed here on AirBnB! They added a bathroom & bedroom to the basement & they rent it out on AirBnB! sweetest couple ever! I recognized the place right away.

    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for remembering us and saying such nice things. This home has been such a dream to live in, make our own and share with others through Airbnb.

  2. Kimmeth says:

    wow, in love with this house – okay, honestly the first part of the basement made me scream (and not in a good way) – but that was one of the most lovely pink bathrooms I have ever seen!

  3. Debra Bennett says:

    Hi Pam,

    Great talking to you yesterday. Thanks in advance for your efforts to get us the plans for our new time capsule home. Your site got us so excited about our ‘knotty grotto.’ Thank you so much!

    Debra and John Bennett

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