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January 20, 2011

The Wilson House – Outside

By Sara In AZ


Sooooooooooooooo, Mike and I were in Texas –  and I knew we were going to be close to Temple  Texas where the Wilson House is and………………. well, we just HAD to go!

This house is AMAZING! I told our tour guide they would probably find us all moved in when they came back next time. Oh, if only I could find a house as amazing as this here in AZ. Please God, are you listening???? 🙂

The Wilson House was built in 1959, and was the home of the founder of Wilsonart International – Ralph Wilson Sr. from 1959 until his passing in 1972. This house was a testing ground for many types of laminate uses, including laminate on shower walls and using laminate as wall surface instead of drywall. This house is a complete time capsule if there ever was one my friends! Our tour guide told us that before the house was listed for sale, back in the mid 1990s, the kitchen cabinets were removed because they realized the historical significance of them. Then, when the house did not sell (can you believe that?????) Wilsonart Corporate decided to purchase the house for it’s historical relevance, and after deciding to preserve the home, re-installed the original kitchen cabinets. Whew, thanks for saving the day Wilsonart! I don’t even want to think about this house in the hands of a re-modeler. Eeks!!!

Here is an excerpt from the Wilsonart website:

The Ralph Sr. and Sunny Wilson house appears to be a hybrid of a ranch and modern-style home architecture. The open interiors and U-shaped plan reflect the influence of the California Case Study Houses — a series of architectural experiments from the early 1940s and 1950s that were offered as better solutions for residential living.

The interiors of the Wilson house feature extensive use of decorative plastic laminates in innovative applications, most of which had not been seen before. The kitchen countertops reveal some of the earliest work in post-forming, a process where laminate is bent to form continuous curves from the top to the side edge of the counter. Other applications include laminate clad built-in cabinetry in the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms, even in the shower! While installations such as these that are common today, they were unheard of in the late 1950s.

If y’all are ever in the Temple Texas area I highly recommend a tour of this fantastic house, you will not be disappointed. You will need to call ahead and make an appointment, as the house is not open all the time. It is pretty much a one on one tour, so it is really cool to explore around the house by yourself  with the tour guide. The phone number for tours is 254.207.2806 and tours are available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Click HERE for a  link to the Wilsonart Website, where there is some more information on the Wilson House.

I had WAYYYY tooooo many pictures of the Wilson House to post in just one blog entry, so this house tour will be broken up into 8 different blog posts. Each Thursday I will showcase a different part of the house, so stay tuned – it will be worth the wait!

This week we will start off with the outside of the Wilson House. It is an awesome Ranch style house with cool brick and stone work on the outside.

Just pure loveliness!!!!!

The front entry. The front door is to the left.

The cool block wall fence in the backyard.

The original name plate on the house.

Huge, cool planters to the right of the front door.

A close-up of the brick and stone work on the house — along with the original mailbox.

The back patio area. The house was a really fantastic design with a U-shape to the back, so you had a really great patio with tons of windows.

The beautiful backyard.

The outside of the house to the left of the front door. The kitchen is located behind these windows.

And finally, a sneak peek to the inside of the house!!! This is the front entry, right when you walk in the front door.

Come back next Thursday to see the FAN-TAB-U-LOUS formal living room!!!!

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12 Responses to The Wilson House – Outside

  1. RetroRuth Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 8:56 am

    OMG! I have been so excited for this series! Can’t wait to see the rest. Even the outside kills me! I love those planters. I am drooling all over myself, here.

  2. Annie B. Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Did they have to drag you kicking and screaming out of that house? This is positively fantastic. That concrete block screen wall; that brickwork; those planters! And, it’s U-shaped. My heart’s desire is a U-shaped house.

    Dig those bullet planters, too. I want a bullet planter SO desperately, but they are way too pricey. (Why, I wonder? Their retro-coolness?)

    Can’t wait for the next installment!! Thank you, Sara.

  3. Sharon Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Goodness gracious! It’s all so very wonderful! It’s utopia! I honestly think that one of us should start a Wilson House cult … then we can all move in there!

  4. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Hot dog! I love that you’re posting so many detailed photos! It’s almost like taking the tour in person!

    It’s just so, so beautiful. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I went to look at a house for sale and it was THIS house. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  5. Sara in AZ Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Ruth – *hands kleenex* 🙂 So glad you like it and sorry it took soooo long to post! Keep that kleenex handy!

    Annie B – Yeah, they had to pretty much drag us out of there. 🙂 The house is SOOO gorgeous, I was in love! Just wait until you see the rest of my pics.

    Sharon – I think that sounds like a smashing idea! Let’s do it! 🙂

    Eartha – Thanks! I really tried to get pics from all angles so everyone could feel like they had the tour. Can you stand to wait another week??? 🙂

  6. Toni Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    My aunt has a U shaped house built in the 60’s. It’s been remodeled, however, but I love the U shape. So much light!

  7. Sara in AZ Reply

    January 20, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Toni – The U-shape was awesome! It gave so much light to the house, it was really pretty.

  8. sablemable Reply

    January 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Good God! What a home! I can’t wait to see the interior! And, I just love brick and stone exteriors!

    Great post, Saraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!

  9. Magnarama Reply

    January 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    It must be Wilson Week here on the Intertubes. Pam at RetroReno has a video posted about the house too… Can’t get enough of this fabulous house, and can’t wait to see all your photos, Sara.

    This is the first time I’ve seen so much of the exterior, since everyone usually talks about the laminate interiors. The outside is just as wonderful! Oh, how I hope that outdoor planter extends into the indoors.

    • RetroRuth Reply

      January 21, 2011 at 1:38 pm

      Magnarama – The Intertubes. Ha! 🙂

  10. Sara in AZ Reply

    January 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Sable- Thanks girl! Just you wait, next week will have you drooling all over the place! 🙂

    Magnarama – This house is all sorts of FAB-U-LOUS-NESS! 🙂 I really wanted to try to document the house as much as I possibly could. You should have seen my husband and I there – just snappin’ away! I thought it was important to include the exterior as well, since that is so awesome too. That planter actually does not extend inside, but they did have another smaller planter in the formal living room which you will see next week.

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