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Ted wants our help: “I just purchased a house because it spoke to me, only I can’t quite figure out what it is saying yet.”

streamline modern ranch househomeownersTed and Marzie just closed on their “new” 1948 ranch house. But… do we really call it a ranch house, when the facade also has some delicious Streamline Moderne married to it? And… how should they decorate? Ted wants our ideas — and has sent photos to inspire our input. The invitation is out: time for all of us to put out thinking caps on and play decorator-designer!

vintage carstreamline house design
Ted writes:

Hi, I have a problem I’m hoping you and your readers can help me with. I just purchased a house because it spoke to me, only I can’t quite figure out what it is saying yet. It’s giving me mixed messages. The house is a 1948 ranch with the typical long, low horizontal lines of a wide, single story house with a hip roof and big overhangs, combined with the strong vertical lines of a curved glass block and brick Art Deco “Waterfall”, or “Streamline Moderne” entry. So is it a mid-century modern ranch, or is it Art Deco or just plain eclectic? 

curved glass block window wallround entry way foyerglass closet doorsromantic revival door knockerhall waysteel kitchen cabinetsbackyard barbequevintage pink bathroom

Some details have been lost over the years, but some remain like the original pink and blue bathroom, and there was a swinging kitchen door found up in the attic with a round port in it reminiscent of a ship (think Streamline). The bathroom addition to the right with its high, small windows is totally wrong, and the rest of the interior is just plain vanilla post war ranch with its plain, narrow trim and 8′ ceilings. 

kitchen that needs renovation

I have some ideas, many actually, but I’m struggling to come up with a cohesive direction to go with for this house as far as design inside and out. Do I use the remaining original bathroom with its worn tile as my inspiration, and match the new kitchen to it, or do I go with a more modern (1950’s/1960’s) feel throughout? Personally, I’m seeing red countertops and light birch cabinets for the kitchen on the inside, and sunny yellow with bright blue doors and grey trim for the exterior. I admit, I’m typically drawn to Arts & Crafts/Revival houses of the 1930’s with their warm, custom crafted details, so I’m a little out of my element.

I’d love to hear what ideas you and your readers have, including directing me to vendors that might fit the bill.

streamline houseTed, whatever you call it, I love it — thank you for sharing; congratulations; and hooray that this house has made its way into thoughtful hands. And I love your sense of humor. Yes, readers say they listen to their houses, too, and sometimes it even gets… spooky! Okay, readers, here’s your chance:

  • What to call the style of this house?
  • How to remodel in a way that suits the original architecture — kitchen, bathrooms, colors for the exterior, and general ideas welcome!

  1. Felicia Alexander says:

    Thank you for the link to this beauty. I know you won’t be putting ceramic plank flooring into your kitchen, though ; ) . Looking forward to the photos of your completed project at some future date!

  2. Amy says:

    It’s saying I’M AWESOME & please keep my PINK bathroom & remodel the kitchen to reflect a 50’s look – LOVE IT!!!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Ted, as you know, RR people are very protective of the pink bathrooms. Since you have your reasons for having to remove it, we at least ask that you make every attempt to dismantle it for someone else to use and not go all tv show on us using a sledge hammer where a mallet and chisel would do the job effectively. Granted, there will be a few tiles that won’t survive but there are crafters out there that can use chips for mosaics.
    Thank you for taking us on this journey. We all look forward to seeing before & after pics along with journal entries. Most of us have said to live in the house and allow it to speak to you so moving our present furniture in to the spaces and then explaining why whatever worked or didn’t would be welcome. (I’ve found that most people who don’t like “cramped” ranches have filled them with over-sized furniture and appliances and then blamed the house!)

  4. Jo-Ann says:

    Ahem, I believe I have dibs on those pink tiles, having already offered to buy them. I will arm wrestle any of you for them.

    Jo-Ann

  5. Kit Fisher says:

    Ted, it would be awesome to see an update on your progress. We have a two-story, 1948 Streamline Moderne with original bathrooms and kitchen. It’s such a fun house. We are aiming to redo the backyard to make it more useable (especially with needing to be more outdoors due to Covid).

  6. Ted Crocker says:

    Kit, It is a very different house now with only a few minor projects remaining (fireplace mantel and surround, small cabinet in master bath, etc.). I have to figure out how to post a bunch of follow-up photos on this chain, or else start a new one. Bear with me until I have some time to sit down and figure it out. Any help is appreciated. I’ve attached my Google Photos website for the time being.

  7. pam kueber says:

    Hi Ted! Well, golly, this sure was fun to wake up to! What a transformation! I need to do a followup story! The kitchen looks great — and the bathroom with the white field tile and pink tub etc — gorgeous!!!!

  8. Ranger Smith says:

    I thought I was the only one who couldn’t find the photos!
    Thanks for the tip Pam. They’ve done amazing work on this home. The kitchen is amazing.

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