The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is just a few days away. Today, reader Blair explains how a innocuous-looking mid century modest house — the Ruth Paine House Museum, above — came to be associated with this tragic event. Blair visited the house this weekend and submitted this report and photos:
Frankly, there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about the 1,300-square-foot ranch home at 2515 W. Fifth Street in the Dallas suburb of Irving. Built in 1956, it is otherwise indistinguishable from hundreds of other two-bedroom post-war homes constructed during the post-World War II housing boom in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But this home, recently opened to the public after two years of restoration to its appearance 50 years ago, holds a place in history few Mid-Century residences can claim — a link to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago this week, November 22, 1963. And this connection saved not only a piece of history, but allowed for the preservation of a classic Mid-Century “modest” dwelling. Heck yeah there is more →
One of the key architectural characteristics of ranch homes is that they blur the line between inside and outside. Our merchant-builder ramblers are often low-profile homes with large windows, built-in areas for plants and an orientation to the backyard patio — all in service of a more sunny, casual way of life. But can you imagine living in a house where all four walls let nature peer in? Famed architect Philip Johnson was exploring this very vision when he designed and built the Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut between 1945 and 1949. Johnson lived in the home until his death 55 years later.
Snaps to the king and queen of pink bathrooms — Nancy and Thommy. You may recall, Nancy’s pink poodle bathroom is world famous, not just here at Retro Renovation but also as headliner of the New York Times pink bathroom story. Now, our daring duo has served up a pair of pink potties from the Leo Carrillo Ranch, an historic site in one my original home towns, Carlsbad, California.Heck yeah there is more →
The next time I visit my family in Kentucky, I am scooting over to The Miller House — a mid century modernist masterpiece — built in 1953 and located in Columbus, Indiana, about an hour from Louisville. The Miller House was just acquired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art last year. And, this year is the first it’s been open for tours. In fact, tours started just 10 days ago, and today (May 20) there is a daylong symposium about the house at the IMA in Indianapolis. According to the Museum, what makes this house exceptional is that it was a collaboration of three great designers: (1) Eero Saarinen [padre of the tulip chair] was the architect… (2) Alexander Girard did the interior design… and (3) Dan Kiley was responsible for the gardens. To me, the big draw, is: The Girard interiors. I want to see all those technicolor textiles!!!
Read all our stories about historic mid century houses you can visit here.