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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. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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!!!!

  3. 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).

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