A house flip story that we love: Ginger restores a St. Louis time capsule to move-in ready condition — ala 1960

retro ranch house
All photos © Reed R. Radcliffe / TripleRPhotography LLC 

Here’s a house flip story that, for once, we love: “I don’t typically rehab anymore,” said Ginger Fawcett, a St. Louis-area realtor and on of the original board members for ModernSTL, “but my father purchased the larger land parcel to subdivide. He didn’t have any interest in the house itself and was going to sell it to a rehabber who wanted to rip out the kitchens and baths. I just couldn’t let that happen.”
Chock-full of pristine original features, the house needed just the right bit of TLC. So, Ginger snapped it up and embarked on a flip, Retro-Renovation-style. She found old school repair guys to repair the stove, installed New Old Stock light fixtures in a few key places, replaced some of the home’s flooring, and gave the fantastic original bathrooms a spit shine. Now, Ginger’s freshly polished midcentury jewel is on the market, in move-in condition awaiting a new owner who appreciates the midcentury flair of the home. We will say it again: All the best stuff is in St. Louis!

retro ranch house

Ginger writes:

Wasn’t sure if this would be of interest to you or not. It’s a mid-century ranch in Crestwood (St. Louis) MO that we just rehabbed but kept and enhanced the original mid-century features including repairing the appliances (they all work now). We replaced a few fixtures with NOS fixtures as the original owners had added ceiling fans over the years. I’m a real estate broker in St. Louis and I oversaw this project myself, as I couldn’t stand the though of original Lumiline lighting and pristine original boomerang counters going in the dump.

I asked Ginger for more details about the home and the repairs that she made, and she replied:

The home was built in 1960, and the land has been owned by the same family (until it was bought this year by the new owner) since the 30’s. The previous farmhouse was torn down in 1959 to make room for a new “state of the art” modern home. At one time they owned all the land around it and operated it as a farm up until the 1980s, when they sold off most of it for a new development behind the property. They still worked the land and sold their produce at the Soulard Market in downtown St. Louis. Rumor has it that they had German POW’s work the land from time to time during WWII in the 40s!

retro door

The “outdoor” bath and office off the back of the house was where workers cleaned up and took breaks. There were two huge old barns on the property for equipment. and they used the kitchen in the basement for canning their produce at the end of the season.

They must have been the neatest people on earth as the home was so clean you could eat off the floors even though nobody has lived there full-time in several years! In addition the original boomerang White Skylark counters, bath/kitchen fixtures, lighting and tile are in nearly perfect condition.

vintage living room

We kept everything that was original or had it repaired by a “old school” repair guys. The stove was the only item not working at all but it was a simple fix (love old appliance guys), so it’s running great now. Both the oven and stove are Suburban brand by the Samuel Stamping and Enamel Company from Chattanooga (bought by Roper in the late 60s).

The floors through much of the home were hardwoods covered in carpet, but under the living room, laundry and under 1980s vinyl in the kitchen was old linoleum that unfortunately could not be saved as it had gotten too brittle and was full of carpet holes.

midcentury kitchen

We refinished the bedroom floors and replaced the hall, laundry and living with matching hardwoods. However, we couldn’t do that in the kitchen, as it would require pulling out the cabinets, and we were afraid that could damage the cabinets and counters. So instead, we used this really cool rubber tile product that is waterproof, requires no wax or maintenance and can be replaced easily one tile at a time if one gets damaged. We thought it added a very cool retro look, is soft to walk on, and didn’t add much height to the flooring, which was a requirement in the kitchen. (We looked into linoleum but were afraid the waxing and polishing might damage trim or cabinets during install).

UPDATE: We had lots of questions about the floor tile so asked Ginger for more info. She wrote:

They sell them at Lowes and Menards special order (at least they do here). The actual manufacturer is Perfection Floor Tile (not sure if they sell retail). They were easy peasy to install (cutting was the worst part as they are pretty thick and my hand was suffering for several days). However, they don’t require glue or anything as they snap together beneath the tile. We used the “leather look” shown on this page: http://www.perfectionfloortile.com/pg_Tile_Style.html

We re-installed all the quarter round to keep the edges sealed. I think most people will need some sort of edging to hide any cuts.

midcentury kitchen

midcentury kitchen

I was one of the original Board Members for Modern STL so I do a lot of mid-century home sales and have a special spot in my heart for the ones that are in good original condition. As a result I somehow ended up taking on this project, and I’m so glad that I did.

It’s not quite as unique in terms of the architectural style, but I have never seen one with such pristine original features!

midcentury kitchen

vintage pink bathroom

vintage pink bathroom

Here are some of the highlights I am using as I prepare the marketing materials for our Twilight Open House this Friday:

  • Price: $299,900
  • Year Built: 1960
  • Square footage: 2,100
  • Bedrooms: 3
  • Bathrooms: 3 full/ 1 half
  • Immaculately preserved in its (almost) original condition including brilliantly designed original MCM light fixtures such as rare and collectible Lumiline under cabinet lighting (with extra light bulbs), a retractable atomic pendant, and dozens of original square recessed lights.
  • Hallmack rotating toothbrush holder and double sliding door medicine cabinet
  • Original Emerson Pryne Exhaust fan/heater (50+ years and still functioning as designed)
  • Lumiline Under Cabinet Lighting
  • Vintage chrome leg wall-mount porcelain sink with towel bars
  • Hudee ring metal rim vintage sink in hall bath and kitchen
  • Recessed square housing lights in family room and throughout basement.
  • Second kitchen with drainboard sink and working stove
  • Hidden pocket doors throughout.
  • Original hand carved front door with Schlage starburst hardware.
  • Huge walk-up attic
  • Oversized garage with original solid wood door and unique mid-century style overhang.
  • Flying saucer pinhole light in family room
  • NOS starburst glass shades in hallways.
  • Double door walk-through closets in each room (with lights).
  • Pristine tile in shower and baths and floors. Original
  • Built-in cutting board in kitchen
  • Real solid wood paneling in family room, trim, moldings and built-in plant stand cabinetry.
  • Original doors and moldings (unpainted)
  • Beautiful brick and stone exterior
  • Deep soffits for cooling
  • Built-in stone planter beds at front porch
  • Coved/curved plaster moldings in living room
  • Etched glass shower doors
  • Natural light pass through upper window between baths to allow exterior light into interior bath.
  • Original plans for house
  • Ventahood with double fans and Lumiline light.
  • Electric Suburban stove top with griddle
  • Original Suburban oven with unique top/bottom broiler (Suburban was bought by Roper)
  • Huge walk-out lower level with 1/2 bath and partially finished
  • Beautiful mature peony’s and stately oaks
  • Tons of exterior outdoor lighting
  • Garden room and full bath from exterior porch
  • Lovely patio and pathways
  • Extra storage everywhere!

vintage pink bathroom

midcentury bathroom

From the charming exterior brick and stonework to the gorgeous tile in the bathroom, we are smitten with this home! How fantastic that Ginger was willing to take on this project to help preserve this home for a lucky midcentury lovin’ buyer. Talk about going above and beyond for the love of retro — great job, Ginger!

Link Love:

  1. Nathan Ventura says:

    This house is perfect in every way, the only thing I’d change is the color of the carpet in the living room. I have a strong affinity for green carpeting, it’s what my grandparents had in their 1964 mid-century ranch.

  2. Jennifer W says:

    love, love, love! we live in the neighborhood and went through your house when it was for sale. I love that you kept it original. We bought my grandmother’s 1960’s ranch, which she had built. I remember this house when it was still a farm, before the neighborhood behind it was built. The bushes on the north side, by the driveway are big peonies – beautiful in the summer!

  3. Ginger Fawcett says:

    Update: I haven’t checked your questions/responses lately so sorry if I didn’t answer some questions in a timely manner. In any event I thought I’d let everyone know that an architect and his family are buying the home as they love it! As far as I know they are keeping all the original features. The seller is my father and I had to convince him to take a home sale contingent contract (we don’t typically do that around here as everything sells so quickly). I told him to have some faith as I thought they were the right/perfect buyers who would honor the origins of the home. He agreed and it has all worked out. They have a buyer for their home and if all goes well with their contract they will move in by September. I am very happy with the how it all turned out and appreciate everyone’s positive comments. It makes me want to do it again as soon as I find the right home! Ginger

    1. Felicia Alexander says:

      This is wonderful news, Ginger. I’m currently looking into the MCM market in another city (out West), and it’s heartbreaking to see how many of these lovely houses have been ripped ‘n’ flipped–walls taken out, granite and travertine everywhere, everything in cold, gloomy, dark colors. Keep up the great work!

      Felicia Alexander
      Murphysboro, IL

      1. JustanotherPam says:

        The house we just bought was saved from people who planned on destroying all the 100% original features that were untouched since it was built in 1973. Because I was in an accident I was in hospital when it came on the market but himself couldn’t get back to me to discuss in the few hours before the destroyers offered so epic sorrow followed…obviously. We were back at the hospital for the first follow-up when notification came from our agent that the house was back on the market because the people who made the original offer dropped out because trashing all the history was so expensive so sitting in the cafe we bid without me ever seeing anything but the photos until the house inspection and then only where the wheelchair fit. I’ve been looking for an untouched house for over a decade and have seen some horrific “upgrades” so while there are a few Mediterranean bits I can’t live with it’s otherwise perfect right down to very unexpected chevron original floors in the main living area that the original buyers were going to rip out..the horror.

        ever seeing anything but the photos. Himself went to see it with our agent, I saw wherever the wheel chair would fit during the inspection and we own it come the middle of July.

          1. JustanotherPam says:

            You’re always so kind, thank you. 18 days until we learn if it’s ‘rinse and repeat’ or forward to physio, rather a Schrödinger’s cat situation but a house is the best ‘get well NOW’ gift ever so that’s nice. ;->

  4. Susie says:

    What a beautiful home. I love the way you were able to keep almost all of the original details.

    I live in the St. Louis area and am wondering if it would be possible for you to mention the name of the Repair Person (company) that did the repair on the stove in this home. I have a 1956 stove in my kitchen and it is starting to have some problems. I’d like to find a reliable repair company that specializes in old stoves.

    New stoves that I can afford look goofy in my little circa 1950’s cottage style home, and are not easily found in the size I need for the space where the stove fits.

    1. ginger fawcett says:

      American Appliance – 314-965-8310 Family owned since the 60’s by Vic and Randy.

  5. Jason in St. Louis says:

    My wife and I are members of Modern STL and commend you for a fantastic job with this home! Please keep up the good work and continue to save these homes from people that don’t understand.
    We live in a 1938 Gingerbread house in the Tower Grove South neighborhood of St. Louis (all of the best stuff (and old-school craftspeople) really are in St. Louis) and purchased our house specifically because all of the original and wonderful details were still intact!
    I especially love the cut stone on the exterior of the home and, of course, the bathrooms! Prior to WWII, I think, pink was the color for boys…as a variation on red (red for men & blue for women…the Virgin Mary is always shown in a blue robe).
    FYI – a house up the street from us has an original pink bathroom and the current homeowner (a single man from California) bought the house because he loved the pink bathroom!

    1. Felicia Alexander says:

      Good for you! Tower Grove South and Shaw are wonderful neighborhoods–keep up the terrific preservation work.

      Felicia Alexander
      Murphysboro, IL

Comments are closed.