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November 8, 2012

Retro Time Capsule House For Sale in Mesa……………. Another Bust For Sara – Sort of, But Not Totally!

By Sara In AZ

So, y’all know that Mike and I are on the time capsule house hunt. In search of that ever elusive 1950s time capsule house that has 4 bedrooms and a garage……or even just a carport. I’ll take anything at this point!

I was super excited when this house in Mesa popped up for sale, as it seemed like the size and location could be a good fit for us.


One thing I forgot to get a pic of was the carport. It would be to the left in this view. When I was viewing the pictures on the listing and saw the carport I thought no big deal – until we went to the house and actually saw that Mike would not be able to park our truck under it, as a car could just barely fit under the roofline it was SO low. That was not a great sign and my hopes were fading fast that this would be THE house for us.

Here is the formal living room area. The front door would be to the left of the hanging light. I believe that light hanging in the entry was original and I thought the brick planter was super sweet.


This house had all Honeywell Tap Light switches. I thought that was SO cool, I had never seen them in person before. This was right next to the front door in the entry.


Moving through the open doorway shown in the formal living room pic above (by the entry) will lead you into this room. A kind of combo kitchen and dining room area.


I was fairly obsessed with the wood cabinets and the scalloped trim along with the turquoise tile…..I thought it all went together fantastically well! I’m just betting there used to be a turquoise stove top there too!




There was a door on the left in the full view kitchen/dining picture above – that would lead you to this room……kind of a family room/rec room type of room. We surmised that this area used to be the original carport, as this room was built below the grade of the rest of the house and was level with the patio outside – thus causing water damage all along the bottom of that lovely knotty pine wall you see there. ugh. So now we cannot park under the carport and have a problem addition. My hopes are pretty much dashed at this point.


This was the bathroom off of the knotty pine rec room. It was a peachy-pink color and I thought the speckled tiles were really cool.






There was some hardcore plumbing work being done to one of the bathrooms, as one of the walls in the bedroom had been torn into and you can see they ripped out some of the foundation as well.


One of the bedrooms.


I was sad to see the person selling the house was removing all of the original lights to install ceiling fans.


Tons and tons and tons of storage in the hallway!


This house did have a pink tile bathroom.


A sweet little vanity area opposite the sink.


The original bar light in the bathroom.


The bathtub…………….the plumbing work you saw above was being done to the backside of the faucet/drain area here.


I loved this divider between the toilet and sink!


Here is a view of towards the back of the house. See that square piece of metal on the ground over to the left……………………..


Well, that piece of metal lifted up to reveal an old bomb shelter, which sadly looks more like something an ax murderer would do his business in and which is why none of us would go down that rabbit hole. Seriously, you just never know where ax murderers are living these days!


And then there was the completely filled in pool. Yes, you are seeing right – they completely filled in that pool with dirt which would be a serious project to contend with down the road. I’ll just say it again – uggggghhhhhhhhhh.


I did however adore the vintage starburst awnings that covered the patio!


Sadly, this house was not the right one either. It had some great original details, but it needed SO much work and the price, almost $300,000, made it cost prohibitive for us. I believe the house was eventually rented out.

After we went through the house our realtor called the seller and told him it was not the right house for us, though we loved some of the original details. They got to talking and the seller told my agent how he was trying to modernize the house a bit by taking out all those “weird push button light switches”. I completely freaked when I heard this and asked what they were doing with the switches, when she called back to let me know they were tossing all of them into the trash I begged her to call him back and ask if we could have all of the switches.  I said we’d even pay for them if we had to, as I hated seeing all of those cool old switches going into the garbage.

Our agent did call the seller back and all of those cool old Honeywell Tap Light push button light switches were rescued from the landfill! YAY!


They gave all of the switches to us for free and we were so happy to rescue them. We are saving them for now, as we hope to use them when we finally find our dream time capsule house!

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23 Responses to Retro Time Capsule House For Sale in Mesa……………. Another Bust For Sara – Sort of, But Not Totally!

  1. nancyworegreenstockings Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I love the pink vanity, the awnings and the hall storage so much, but I can’t get over carpet in a dining room/kitchen. It sucks when there are really neat features but the space overall doesn’t meet your needs. Here’s hoping you find your dream home soon!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      nancyworegreenstockings – There were some really FAB features to this home and I’m just hoping that they are all still there! It is so unfortunate when a home that has this much potential did not meet our needs……………I go in with such high hopes and come away feeling very, very sad and disappointed. Thanks SO much for your well wishes, I really do appreciate it! 🙂

  2. Cedar Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

    How lucky that you saved those light switches, they are amazing!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      Cedar – I know, I hated the thought of the switches just going into the trash…………thanks to our awesome agent who came through for us and saved them from the landfill!

  3. RetroRuth Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Too bad about the house, but I am so happy about the switches!!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      I know Ruth – bummer about the house….but those switches are saved!!!

  4. sablemable Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm


    Kudos for saving the lights!!!!!!!!! You’re right-there is too much work to do there for the price they want, but, I am concerned with the plumbing problems and the pool fill-in, too.

    Keep looking!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 7:25 pm


      I am SO glad we were able to save those cool switches! YAY! We will keep looking……..hopefully we will find something soon! *fingers crossed* 🙂

  5. John Bachman Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    To much work requird for 300,000 dollars, way over priced to me. Perhaps the pool was filled from digging the bomb shelter? Good luck in your search!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      Sometimes I am shocked at the asking prices of homes around here John…….it is usually just SO much $$$ for something that needs SO much work. ugh. Who has THAT much money???

      I think the bomb shelter was actually there before the pool??? Maybe??? At any rate, I have seen people do that here before – fill pools in with dirt. I think people just get tired of maintaining them so they drain it and fill it up. Maybe not the best idea for resale though……. 😉

      • apsutter Reply

        December 19, 2012 at 4:51 am

        Since that’s a classic kidney shaped pool and the backyard was catered to it I’m betting the pool was put in when the house was built. The bomb shelter looks crazy old so I’m thinking it came after during the cold war. Why in the hell anyone would fill in a pool and get rid of all the cool features of an older home, I’ll never know. Some idiot is probably going to buy this house and decimate it.

  6. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    I feel so sad for that house. It would take a lot of work, but someone could make it a showplace again. And wow! A bomb shelter! I wish I had that here for tornadoes. Well, not sure that I’d go in there either though… And I think that you are thinking about that swimming pool all wrong – that would make an enormous litter box for Midnight. You might never have to change that thing again!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

      I feel sad for that house too Eartha, it could be a really amazing place with some time and money.

      The handyman (for the seller) who gave us the switches said he and his son had been down into the bomb shelter and that it was probably a place we didn’t want to go down into. eek!

      Holy cow! A litter box! YES!!!! That would be a HUGE time saver for Mike never having to scoop the box again……..I’ll go tell him we need to look for a house with a pool we can fill in! 😉

  7. Andrea Reply

    November 8, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Yay for rescuing the switches! Too bad on the house, though – so close, but I can see why it wasn’t the house for you guys.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

      Yeah, I totally love those switches Andrea! And yes, the house was very close to what we wanted but sadly too much $$$ for what it needed.

  8. Betty Crafter Reply

    November 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    What a promising house! I agree, it probably needs too much work. But in my opinion you don’t even need a time capsule house because you already have all the fixtures you need to create one from scratch – kitchen cabinets, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, now even the push button light switches! 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Ha! So true Betty………….so very true. And something we have taken under consideration lately, as we are getting tired of looking!

  9. saries Reply

    November 23, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Sara, I live in the Phoenix area too and I can’t believe price they wanted for that house! I know home prices are going up here, but not that much. Have you thought about Sunnyslope? I grew up there and thee are so many mid-century homes there. My sister still lives there in the home that our folks bought in 1957. Good luck!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 24, 2012 at 3:13 pm

      Saries – I know, some of the prices they want for older homes around here are just stunning…..in a bad way! We would definitely consider Sunnyslope – esp. if the perfect/right house came up there, but ultimately we are trying to stay more in the east valley because of my husband’s job. Thanks so much for your well wishes – I need all of the luck I can get! 🙂

  10. sara Reply

    December 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    don’t want you to find your dream house– want you to keep posting about houses! how were the rug and the linoleum between living room and kitchen divided?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      hee! I know it’s kinda fun to see all of the bad apples isn’t it, but I do hope I can find my dream house soon!

      The carpet and the lino were divided with one of those old school gold metal transition pieces. It’s tacked down under the carpet and then kind of rolled over the edge. I guess carpet installers don’t use them much anymore – now the carpet is just rolled under itself to make the transition. You can see the gold transition piece here, at my Mom’s condo, if you scroll midway down and look at the carpet install pics.


  11. Laura Reply

    December 11, 2012 at 12:25 am

    My aunt has these tap switches in her pink/black brick ranch home, built in 1960. When we were kids we cousins like to “punch” them with our fists, which just drove my aunt and my mom nuts because they were convinced we’d break them and shock ourselves! They were actually really sturdy, and the way they were made with the plastic covers meant that you could fit a piece of wallpaper in so the backplate blended with the walls. They are still there after all these years (and kid punches)!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      December 11, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      Wow Laura, yours aunt’s home sounds AMAZING!!! You should take pics one of these days so we all can see!

      And, do NOT let her ever throw away those switches! I found out after we got these that they are worth $$$ and that people pay big bucks on eBay for them because they are pretty rare.

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