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July 27, 2010

Mid Century Mess!

By Sara In AZ


Probably by now most of you are aware that Mike and I are searching all over the Phoenix area for our very own 1950s time capsule house. I’m not saying it has to be anywhere near perfect, I’m really not expecting to find perfection at all. Just something that is kinda original, maybe has been maintained a bit, and in our price range. Well, there are slim pickins’ here in Phoenix for a 4 bedroom with an enclosed garage that is kind of time-capsuley. Reader Shen (who has a Phoenix time capsule of her own) has been helping me on my mission, sending me links for time capsule homes when she finds them. But there has been no luck so far. It has probably been about 2 years since we have really, actively been looking – but nothing has jived yet. It is either a wrong location, wrong layout, crappy neighborhood, no garage, to small, flippers have already gotten to it so no time capsule left, etc., etc., etc. I am not giving up hope that something is out there for us. I may have found a *possibility* house, but the price is over $300,000. And, there is no possible way we could afford that. So, if y’all found it in your hearts, could you put a special prayer out into the “retro house” universe that they will lower the price of the *possibility*house! I don’t want to blog about that house yet. But I will let y’all know what happens. So anyway, I came across this house in my never ending search for our time capsule house and it was funny because Shen did too. She sent me the link, but I e-mailed her that I had already seen the house and the pictures look a whole lot better than the actual house. Flippers had gotten to it, you see. I was really excited when I first saw this house come up because I thought this could be the perfect house for us. We made an appointment with my agent to see it they very next day. Just to back-track a bit here is a pic of the house from 2000, before the flippers got to it.

So charming. I would have begged Mike to buy it even though it did not have an enclosed garage!

And here it is now.

I honestly did not think it was the same house at first, but it is. I thought it still could have potential even though it had been changed  — A LOT. Well, the flip was done in a really horrible way that does not convey that well in pictures so I will try to explain as best as I can. 

As you can see from the pictures the carport was obviously enclosed. They actually made 2 bedrooms out of the carport area and bought the 3 car garage out towards the street more. They were using metal exterior doors for interior doors in that area – like for the bedroom doors and stuff. Weird.

The house did still have the original windows and the some of the rooms had floor to ceiling windows, which were awesome, but where you used to be able to open them – they were now painted and screwed shut. Screwed though the aluminum frame – from the inside to the outside. EEPS! So, no window in the house would open.

The house had a lot of slate tile. But this slate was laid by someone who had no clue as to what they were doing. Since slate itself is very un-even you have to be careful when you lay it to keep the floor surface even. This floor had really high and low points, it was really bad. There were huge gaps in the baseboards because the floor was so un-even.

This house had a really nice fireplace – minus the beige/brown paint. I guess someone thought it would be really fun to slather on a coat of really thick beige/brown paint over the original stone. Bummer. Pictures do not convey how really bad this fireplace looked. The paint was really thick and gloppy looking.

The kitchen had all IKEA cabinets. I really like IKEA and think most of the stuff they have is really great, but this kitchen was done in a really poor way. See the upper cabinets, well you had to hold those up with one hand while putting something in with the other hand. They would not stay open on their own. Those were the ONLY upper cabinets. I would probably want to rip those doors right off after one day of trying to unload the dishwasher!

This is the laundry room. I *think* the white cabinets were probably what was in the kitchen originally. The pulls look vintage. See that mess of plugs and wires and power strips off to the left on the counter. They actually had lighting from the kitchen plugged into that. The laundry is on the backside of the kitchen and there was a hole in the wall that a bunch of wires were fed though. You actually had to turn on some of the kitchen lights from the laundry room. Mike was TOTALLY freaking out!!!!! He thought the place was going to burn down right then and there. Mike went running to see if he could arm himself with a Fire Extinguisher!

Since the wiring in the kitchen area was so hodge-podgy we were wondering what there was that we could not see lurking beneath the drywall.

I actually really felt bad for the house itself. I wish I had found this little gem before it was ever touched. This looked like such a great house before, it is really too bad what happened. I hope some MCM lover will buy it up and put it all back together, but I guess it can’t be us!

Please remember to vote for Eartha Kitsch in the Kozy Shack Contest! Click HERE for the link. Thanks y’all!

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9 Responses to Mid Century Mess!

  1. Mary-Frances Main Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 9:03 am

    Eeeeeew. What DO we have to do to educate people on ruining perfectly lovely homes. We have had ours up for sale for a few months and most people walked through taking about how MUCH updating it had to have done. Ick.

    In the end, we’re renting it – renters are WAY more understanding.

    That is a horrible shame. I’ll be watching your progress because we’re looking for just the “right” mid-century house over the next few years too!

  2. Kelly Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 9:11 am

    I’m just….It’s just…..why? do people do these things? It’s so easy to tell that the house has good bones under there but what kind of remuddle were they doing here? And screwing the windows shut? Are they building some sort of fortress? Why, when the electrical catches on fire, people ARE going to need a way to get out of there!

    I’m so sorry about this beautiful home. With all of this “work” that someone has done, the price is probably too high for a whole lot of people to swoop in and fix everything.

    I’m going to send good vibes out into the universe for that house that you want, Sara. Be sure to take a minute and picture yourself in it every day – what you’d be doing, what things will look like….where you’ll put the Christmas tree! 🙂 I truly believe that these things work. And you never know, you could get your realtor to put some feelers out to see if they would take a lower price after some time.

    And that’s so cool of Shen to help you in the search! Did you know that after hearing of our plight, she sent us half of the bathroom tiles needed to fill our bathroom sink hole? What a good-will ambassador for time capsule homes she is! 🙂

    And thanks so much to everyone who has and will vote in the pudding contest. I’m currently number 7 but I have faith that I can go higher with your help! 😀

  3. crash pad girl Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 10:29 am

    I have a close personal relationship with the “retro house” gods. I’m praying for you.

  4. Sharon Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 10:46 am

    I will start a relationship with those gods for you, too!

    That poor lil’ house — I’m sure it didn’t know what was happening to it.

  5. Sara in AZ Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Mary-Frances Main – I know, I soooooo wish this house would have been left in it’s charming, original condition! I’m glad you rented your house, for now anyways. Maybe you will find the perfect owners in the future who want to preserve the charm. *Fingers Crossed* you find your dream house too!

    Kelly – I was dumb-founded when I walked into this house too……..why?????? Fortress, hmmmmmm, maybe that is what they were going for? Esp. when you look at that wall they put all around the front – maybe they wanted a moat too! 🙂 Oh, and believe me that electrical IS going to catch fire, so I guess they are just gonna have to bust right through those windows! Yeah, the price was too high – it was $299,900, so basically $300,000. It probably needs at least $100,000 put into it. Mike and I were actually seriously depressed when we left this house, no kidding.

    Was it the pink tiles or gray tiles Shen sent to you? Oh, I am so glad you are half way there girl! Your bathroom is glad too! I think we need to get Shen a medal or something for being such an ambassador for time capsule homes!

    Crash Pad Girl – I know you do have a close personal relationship with the retro house gods (esp. after your long house hunt!), so I am hoping that you will get me in good with them! 🙂

    Sharon – Gosh, thanks so very much! I really appreciate it! 🙂
    I don’t think the house knew what was happening to it either, poor thing.

  6. Dr. Julie-Ann Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    That is just soooooo sad.

    It’s like the “tear down” craze here in L.A. where they take perfectly good houses, tear them down, and build some sort of McMansion monstrosity that doesn’t even fit the character of the neighborhood.

    Sending good thoughts to the mid-century gods for you! (We’ve put our own search on hold for right now)

  7. Magnarama Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    This story made me want to weep. So, so tragic.

    (And even though I hate pudding, I voted for Eartha Kitsch anyway!)


  8. Sara in AZ Reply

    July 27, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Dr. Julie-Ann – It really is so very, very sad. I feel like one day there won’t be any retro houses left! Thanks so much for your *good thoughts*! 🙂

    Magnarama- I know, it really is tragic. 🙁 I felt like crying when I left the house.
    Thanks so much for voting!

  9. Pingback: Mid Century Modern Architecture Thrills and Chills Around the Phoenix Area | No Pattern Required

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