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1957 time capsule basement rumpus room — downstairs in the American Dream House

1950s houses are famous for their basement bars. Part of the American Dream — or in this case, the Canadian Dream, I think: To invite friends over to the downstairs rumpus room to play pinocle and drink whiskey sours in the Dream House you finally could call your own. Above: From our 2016 uploader 349 photos of readers’ living rooms, this awesome time capsule space from Marlena. That bar! That banquette! The knotty pine wall and wallpaper! The room divider! That carpet! Dreamy! She wrote:

The basement at my parents house, built in 1957. Although it may have been updated in the 70s. Marlena, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

  1. Carolyn says:

    Marlena! Here’s your forum! Fill in the details you couldn’t because of the constraints of the uploader. Others, please chime in cuz I’ll be looking at this post all weekend to see what I missed growing up.
    I’ve only been in three intact rumpus/rec rooms and that was 40 yrs ago so my memories are as a kid. Two had bars and pool tables (keep your fingers off the table, you learn real quick!) so I’m thinking these were more from the ’60’s. The other was built because my cousin was over 6′ tall by high school and there just was no room for him and his friends once more than a couple came to hang out.
    I have seen quite a few in the last decade during estate sales. You walk into this little ranch house not thinking or expecting anything and first there’s the kitchen with the cooktop and stove(s) separate (!) and then troop down the stairs to “gasp!” a wonderland! Paneling! Furniture! A full kitchen! Dartball board! Lights all over! No visible washer or dryer or furnace or anything! A bathroom (how can you flush up?!)
    Man!

  2. Kristin says:

    I’m turning part of my basement into a rec room (kid friendly) with a mid-60s feel. The back half is an apartment I rent out as an airbnb, with a full bath and most of a kitchen (removed the range but there’s still a full sized fridge, cabinets, sink, and gold sparkle laminate counters and gold sparkle laminate paneling). Someday I’ll convert the whole thing…

  3. Debbie in Portland says:

    My guess is that the carpet was added in the 70’s, and I bet there’s a pattern of linoleum tiles underneath it. Can’t you just picture the gatherings this room has seen?

  4. Brooke says:

    I also love seeing these rumpus rooms intact when going to estates sales. Always makes me smile and feel a bit sad knowing a majority of them wont survive after other people buy them.

    🙂 as for the bathroom downstairs, your utilities (sinks, toilet, showers) from your main floor and basement drain into a pipe below your basement floor and out to the street so no flushing up 😉

  5. Judy H. says:

    Wow! What a cool room! I haven’t heard the words “rumpus room” in ages, thanks for the flashback. My in-laws have their entire kitchen (and it’s a big one) done in this amber shellac knotty pine. Some of the hub’s siblings have been trying to talk them into getting rid of it for years. They’re hanging tight, I love it, very cozy. We have a large den in our 1953 raised ranch with all four walls and built-ins done in pickled knotty pine…the hubs wants to paint it, I’m still on the fence. Marlena, I hope this room is still intact, I wouldn’t change a thing!!

  6. Allison says:

    Mm.
    I am jonesing for an uploader.

    Sure there’s no way to do them anymore, Pam? 🙁

  7. Mary Elizabeth says:

    There was a half bath in my house when I moved in. The vanity and toilet drained down the hill in the back yard to the old septic tank. We had to take it out because the septic tank was relocated to the side of the house.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Oh my goodness! I just remembered that we checked out a house for sale about 30 yrs ago. traditional on the top and:
    an ice cream parlor, shuffleboard, dance floor and red vinyl booths
    and I don’t remember what else. House was perfect in every way.
    The deal was to go in with MIL and BIL and share expenses. MIL said the first thing she’d do is tear out the basement. !!!!
    First time in my life I ever disrespected (albeit in my head) my elders.

  9. Nina462 says:

    And that is why I bought my house. I fell in love with the knotty pine basement complete with bar.

  10. Jay says:

    You can pump up with the aid of an electric sewer ejector pump. It’s done all the time when the sewer lateral is higher then the elevation of the lowest floor. My house has 1/2 basement and 1/2 crawl space where the sewer line is located. The next door neighbors relocated their washer from the kitchen to the basement and installed a pump.

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