Better Homes & Gardens ‘1958 Idea House of the Year’ by Omer Mithun

1958 midcentury idea housetime capsuleBack in the day, actual house plans were widely promoted in the nation’s largest shelter magazines. Today: A time capsule house for sale that was originally featured in Better Homes & Gardens as one of Six Idea Homes of the Year for 1958. And yes, it’s quite a beauty — inside and out!

This beautiful home — a 1960 time capsule home listed for sale in Keene, Texas is fresh on the market from our Retro Realtor friend Ed Murchison. And look at that price: Just $95,000.

We love this one: Despite its modest size, this home lives large — boasting floor-to-ceiling picture windows in the living room that look out over a huge patio — creating a feeling of spaciousness and a blurred line between indoors and out. And, the interior finishes — they look so well made, like they were built just yesterday!

better-homes-and-gardens-idea-homes-of-the-year2Ed actually had the 1958 Better Homes & Gardens magazine cover to share with us. This house for sale is the model directly under the magazine’s masthead.

From the property listing:

  • Price: $95,000
  • Year built: 1960
  • Square footage: 1,466
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 2

A rare opportunity to own a 1958 Idea Home of the Year!!!  Built in 1960 from Omer Mithun plans, as presented in the 1958, September issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  This gem of a little house packs lots of architectural interest into its smart, compact design.  Set on a large lot, the home opens out to a generous patio and side yard…a perfect place for entertaining.  Step through the front door and into the living room featuring vaulted ceilings exposed beams, cozy fireplace and a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows affording views out to the patio and lawn.  The kitchen retains the original cabinets with a cool floating upper storage cabinet.  The dining room,  just off the kitchen also features a wall of sliding glass providing easy access for outdoor dining.  There is spacious master bedroom with its own bath plus two additional bedrooms and a second bath.  The carport has been conveyed to a game room or would make a perfect home office.  What a great piece of Mid-century Modern history in the quiet, small town of Keene which is a quick 45 minute drive from Fort Worth thanks to the new Chisholm Trail Parkway.

1958 midcentury idea house

This particular model Idea Home was the smallest one of the bunch at 1,218 sq. ft., but you’d never know it because of the smart layout, handy storage and the large windows, which help to let in the outdoors — and loads of light. In addition, prior owners of the home converted the carport into a finished living space, adding 248 sq. ft. to the home.

1958 midcentury idea houseYou can see how large the living area feels because of the wall of windows as soon as you enter the home.

1958 midcentury idea houseIn a warm climate like Texas, I bet a nice large patio like this would see a lot of use almost year round.

1958 midcentury idea house1958 midcentury idea houseThe home is full of lovely midcentury design elements — like the exposed beams that pass through the clerestory windows in the main living room — wow! And how about that gorgeous fireplace!

1958 midcentury idea houseThe home’s kitchen and dining area is also very open, light and bright. Notice the supersized picture window over the sink. Don’t you just love those floating, sliding door cabinets? And the wood used in the cabinets themselves — gorgeous, still today. 

1958 midcentury idea houseThe tall pony wall (should we call a “tall pony wall” a “horse wall”?) between the kitchen and dining area is nice — anyone working in the kitchen can hear and see what’s going on in the dining room, but when the family sits down to dinner, they don’t have to see the mess made from cooking.

Note, it looks like this house got some decorating updates in the 1980s — the window treatments all have telltale shades of peachy-mauve. Even so, we’d be tempted to keep them a long long time — like the rest of this house, they appear high quality — very expensive to replicate today. If they are goodies: Love the curtains you get!

1958 midcentury idea house

bathroom floor
Wilson House pink bathroom — see our complete story here

Of course, there’s even a pink bathroom! This laminate really reminds of the pink laminate used in The Wilson House. Considering Wilsonart was based in Texas, we bet it’s the same.

Mega thanks to Realtor Ed Murchison for sharing this property with us and for Shoot2Sell Photography for giving us permission to feature these photos.

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  1. Love this house! I’ve heard that real estate is shifting back to smaller houses and I hope that’s true. I also hope that movement helps preserve beauties like this for a long, long time.

    1. CarolK says:


      From what I read in the shelter magazines, there may, indeed, be a trend toward the smaller house. I know that Newell Turner, editor-in-chief of House Beautiful has had an editor’s letter within the past year or so decrying the trend towards larger homes and pointing out that the average house was 1000 square feet smaller in the recent past. HB has also had many articles featuring small apartments and houses, including one feature on tiny houses.

  2. Carole says:

    What a fabulous house! I’ve always wanted a wall of windows like that, with sliding doors that open to the outside. Wonderful.

      1. Mary Elizabeth says:

        Yep, our 1959 ranch surprised us when we started pulling up carpeting. The living room had only a subfloor and must have always been carpeted. All the other rooms of the house had different colors of glitter linoleum, which the family had at various times covered with tile and carpet. But the living room with wall-to-wall carpeting was really cutting edge for the time, I think.

        I know two of the people who grew up in the house. I will have to ask them what color the first carpet was and whether they were ever allowed in the living room with shoes and food. I’ll bet not!

      2. Definitely – it’s hard to think about it, but at that time carpeting was considered a luxury and hard flooring was “standard.” Interesting how that has flipped nowadays.

        Even in my house, it was built by my grandparents with all hard surfaces (oak floors, tile) and they almost immediately (within a year or two) put wall-to-wall carpeting over a lot of it. (really nice wool carpeting, at that.) We’ve since returned it all to the wood flooring with smaller area rugs.

        1. ineffablespace says:

          People of my parent’s generation, those who would’ve built during this time, probably associated bare wood floors with being poor and the depression.

          They also probably associated them with hands and knees waxing and upkeep. The house they build had unfinished flooring meant to be carpeted throughout most of the house. It wasn’t the subfloor, but it wasn’t meant to be seen either.

          One of the famous designers of the period, Billy Baldwin or Dorothy Dresser or somebody like that said their ideal flooring material was vinyl, and their favorite pattern was large scale checkerboard.

            1. Karin says:

              I will never forget the sight of my late mother on her knees, waxing floors with special pads made for the chore, and the honeylike smell of the floorwax. Later, my dad got her a really cool looking floor polisher, which I still have. I once read that Martha Stewart prefers to have her floors waxed. My mother must have hated the chore even with a floor polisher, because my parents got turquoise wall to wall carpeting, covering up some gorgeous oak floors. I can’t really fault them, because winter here in Toronto is bone chilling and seems to last forever.

      3. Donn Reese says:

        We have wall-to-wall carpet in our 1961 Storybook Ranch except for a storage closet where there is brown/tan VCT type tile. As I have done work around the house I’ve had occasion to pull back corners of the carpet and see the same tile everywhere so it appears the entire house was originally done that way. The carpet is not from the 1960s so I don’t know when the oringal owners first carpeted.

  3. Hautie says:

    There is a home here in McKinney (Texas) that I drive by weekly. That is so similar to this one. And it is in wonderful condition. They were smaller homes. Yet they never feel like it. When you have so much natural light coming in, it makes every room seem so big.

    I also hope that whomever purchases it… loves it and does not turned it into another home packed full of granite, tile and hand scrap wood floors. 🙂

    Geez. I am so tired of seeing those three things.

  4. Barbara says:

    If I could unload my house here in CA, I’d buy that house in a heartbeat. My only question – is the room with the green carpet in what used to be the carport? Is the second bath there?

    1. Ed Murchison says:

      No, the room with the green carpet is the third bedroom. We did not photograph the room that used to be the carport. It was used as a studio by the owner. It is sheetrock and is heated and cool. Would make a great home office or art studio.

  5. lynda says:

    I am always amazed how some houses seem to stay so pristine after years of people living in them. Some lucky buyer will benefit from years and years of tidy housekeeping by previous owners. Very fun house to see!

  6. Susie Q. says:

    My neighbor in Nashville has the mirror image of this exact same house. It was featured on the “hometown” page of Atomic Ranch magazine several years ago. I love driving by, wondering what he’s done to the place. 🙂 It does look small from the street, but it’s so pretty at night.

  7. Donn Reese says:

    I have a collection of vintage magazines including several with floor plan ideas and in fact have this very magazine on my shelf. I’m a floor plan fiend and enjoy looking through the many designs from the 1930s-1960s. Looking through the articles in the magazines that feature homes actually built I have often wondered what became of them in the intervening years. Usually there is not nearly enough information in the magazine to determine where they were built so this is a great opportunity. I’ve often thought it would be great to take original floor plans and designs found in the old magazines, make a few obvious tweaks for some of today’s needs (extra bathroom, upsize the bedrooms a bit) and build a retro-vintage neighborhood.

    1. Ed Murchison says:

      Cool…I am so glad you have the original magazine. The homeowner kept a copy all these years. While I was at the house showing it today, we discovered a typed note posted in the mechanical closet by the original owner explaining that this house was an Idea Home of the Year in 1958 and featured in Better Homes and Gardens. They even noted the year the carport was enclosed etc. They realized this was a special house and it is as if they knew that one day a potential new owner would be standing there reading the history of the house. It was obviously important to them that the history of the house not be lost.

    2. Marguerite says:

      I too love looking at floor plans. So much so that I even have a book of TV show “homes” from the 50s and 60s…( personal favorite…Samantha and Darrin’s Bewitched house!) House plans always facinated me-all style and sizes. Count me in when you start building that retro neighborhood. Isn’t it funny how today’s houses are really just boxes without any real design features. Seems like even the time capsule neighborhoods have gone the way of home “improvement” and lost their original style and character. My own home was built in 1958 from a plan featured in Family Circle. Plenty of knotty pine in 1200 sq. ft. which actually led me to Pam’s site!

    3. peggaann says:

      someone else in thes comments asked if we could see the other floor plans featured in the magazine. can you help us out with that?

    4. Nina462 says:

      I have the same collection…old magazines with floor plans! As mentioned below, I have this magazine from 1958….my copy is in very, very good condition with wonderful color photos.

      When I moved into my 65 ranch, I found the floor plans tucked in the office closet! Someday I hope to have them framed –

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