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November 7, 2013

Amazing Mid Century Modern Architectural Home Ephemera For Sale on eBay

By Sara In AZ

Soooooo, I was scanning eBay for cool stuff to post about on Saturday when I came across this amazeballs auction for some MCM home ephemera….and I just knew I had to do a whole post on this one auction because it is just *that* cool! I mean – ‘Hello, awesome house’…………..

1959 Seattle Mid Century Modern House Plan Ephemera from seller princeleo2k0


From the auction description

Fantastic one-of-a-kind collection of photographs, architect’s plans, brochures, marketing materials, and ephemera for a stunning 1959 mid-century ranch house on Wembley Lane – one of “10 deluxe homes with a heated community swimming pool…on top of scenic Mercer Island with a panoramic view of Lake Washington and Seattle.”  Built by E.B. Vaughters and designed by architect Seth M. Fulcher, this house won numerous architectural prizes, including the “Best Home for the Money” Award from American Home Magazine; “Best Model Home” from American Builder Magazine. It was the first split-level house plan to be selected for an Award of Merit in Design in the history of the National Association of Home Builders competition.

This great collection presents a comprehensive record of this home and its design.  It features:

  • Total of 70 superb photographs of the house with exterior and interior views, the site and neighborhood, customers at the “Open House,” the numerous Award ceremonies, and more.  The photos are glossy, professional 8 x 10s; several of the photos have duplicate copies.
  • Architect’s blueprint of preliminary studies for the house (24 x 36″).
  • Plot Plan and Survey of the lot at SE 46th St. and 86th Ave. (22 x 26″).
  • Marketing Brochure, “Best Home for the Money in the Seattle Area,” 15 copies.
  • American Home magazine, February 1960, featuring the house on the cover.
  • Small marketing pamphlet, 4 copies.
  • Award letters and telegrams.
  • News clippings.

Clippings and ephemera are in a zippered portfolio.  Photos are in the original box.  Plans are folded.  All are generally in very good condition.


I am guessing this was in the early stages of planning, as no homes are visible but…………….


…….you can see in this Google Maps screen shot that the cool, original, pillars still stand!


Some of the architectural drawings. My dream neighborhood!


Some original brochures.


So cool – it looks like they had cork floors in the bathrooms and Kohler supplied all the bathroom fixtures….Formica in the kitchen……wish I could see pictures of it all!!!


Way to go Mr. Vaughters!


Some more pictures and paperwork. I don’t know about you, but I am completely in love with the fact his promotional signs were shaped like artist’s palettes.


More fabulous pictures.


Ooohhhh, there is the house on the cover of  The American Home…..ahhhhhhh, so lovely! You can just barely make out the pool in the small neighborhood photograph beside it.


Here is a satellite shot from Google Maps of the neighborhood, you can see the 10 houses still stand….and there is that heated pool right in the middle!


LOVE that kitchen! Oh man, I wish I had better images of all the pictures!


How glorious is that living room!?


In the Seattle Area ‘Parade of Homes’ Spreadsheet it lists the house below with an asking price, in 1959, of $18,325. The average median income in 1959, according to the US Department of Commerce, was $5,400…..so this house was a mere 3 times the average income. According to the Census Bureau the average income in 2012 was $51,000 and the median home price was $254,000 …that’s a sad 5 times more than the average income. ugh. For kicks I looked this house up on Zillow – the ‘Zestimate’ is now just over $760,000……holy moly…..I think I want to go back and live in 1959!

The spectacular “split- level” back in 1959.


And, from Google Maps, here is the house as it stands today. That paint color does NOT do that house justice….just sayin’. And I SO wish the house wasn’t “growing trees” so that I could see the entire front!


I cannot say 100%, but it does look like (from this Google view) the entire deck has been removed – which is VERY unfortunate….that was such a cool aspect of the house. It also looks like they painted over all of that amazing stone on the front (to the left of the front door). Bummer.


Oh well, I know that not all vintage houses will remain perfect time capsules….I just think this house would really benefit by having some of that ‘retro’ look back. I think this house would really pop if it had some of it’s kitsch back!


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19 Responses to Amazing Mid Century Modern Architectural Home Ephemera For Sale on eBay

  1. Shawn Norton Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Wow. Just WOW! This seller has a ton of fabulousness listed. I just bought, like, 4 thi ngs. I may not be able to pass this up!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      It’s SO cool Shawn!!! I seriously had a hard time not buying this ….I just thought it was such a great collection! Let me know if you do get it, I am dying to see what all of those B&W pics look like!

      And you are so right – this seller does have some amazeballs things up for sale!

  2. Ronda Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Wow! I wish there were more houses like that. So many neighborhoods are so bland. All those neat architectural features from the mid-century era were so pleasing to the eye.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      I SO agree Ronda…even though this house was in a little “neighborhood” all of the houses look to be originally built in a unique way that is special but all stay true to that MCM aesthetic. Neighborhoods today are so totally cookie cutter that it’s just sad…there is no “special-ness” to current home architecture….it’s just the same, same, same old stuff. 🙁

  3. Queen of Fifty Cents Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Hmmm, that ‘glorious living room’ looks an awful lot like mine! Made me feel a little odd to see it. Same shape, same expanse of glass, we even have a balcony/deck like that with the Douglas firs beyond!

    Our house was built in 1957, and we’re a couple hundred miles south of Seattle. Wonder if that architect did any work down here?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 7, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      Oooohhhhh, you are SO lucky Queen!!!

      Hmmmm, you know that is a good question. I’ll just bet that it is entirely possible that the architect did do home plans for other areas in the state. Maybe you could see if there are any old records to indicate what all of his projects were…surely they must be listed somewhere! Please let me know if you find anything out!!!

  4. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

    INCREDIBLE. I bet there are people who live in those houses who would LOVE to have all of that. I know if someone had that much material about my house or neighborhood, I’d be chomping at the bit. The Seller should have sent them letters about the auction. That’s a lot of great memorabilia that would be cool to keep in the neighborhood.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      I completely thought the same exact thing Eartha…..I wonder if the seller ever did contact someone in the neighborhood….particularly the person living in the ‘Parade of Homes’ house? I am sure they would love to see how their house once was!

  5. Andrea Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Wow, that is fantastic! I agree with Eartha, I know I would love to have that type of info on my house if it was available. What an awesome collection!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      It’s just such a great collection Andrea! And I so agree – I would LOVE to have the original info on any house/neighborhood I lived in!

  6. Pam Lappin Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    What a cache! Thanks for posting.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2013 at 12:02 am

      So glad you enjoyed Pam! 🙂

  7. Ruth Reply

    November 7, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    I would swear I’ve driven past that house! If not, it was a similar one in the Seattle area. We lived across the Sound in Port Orchard for 8 years and had to go over to Seattle for a lot of things. We would take those opportunites to do some sightseeing. Seattle seems to be unique in that there are many small neighborhoods compromising the larger city. It’s a lovely type of city living, in spite of all the politics that are crazy.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 8, 2013 at 12:06 am

      Oh! How cool if you did drive by it Ruth!!! If not, I am sure there were many, many other cool houses anyways.

      My husband and I were in Seattle once about 5 years ago – it was a great city to visit and I am sure to live in as well…SO different than AZ….but wow – I never realized Seattle had THAT many bridges!!!

  8. thatmidcenturyfella Reply

    November 10, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Seeing as I am on Christmas kick lately, I can imagine all cool places to hang lights and put kitschy trees in those big windows. #someday #dreamingbig 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 10, 2013 at 1:44 pm

      Oh yes, midcenturyfella – this would be a perfect house for Christmas!

  9. Sevina Reply

    November 16, 2013 at 10:02 am

    My aunt and uncle had a house like the last picture when they lived in Elgin, Illinois. Theirs was built into the side of a hill so that the part of the balcony/deck looked to the street front and a driveway leading to a large garage under the deck at the side. The back part of the deck was nearly but not quite level with the backyard. I remember we had to go from the deck into the house and around a corner and back out another door to get to the backyard. When I was little, my family lived in a tiny bungalow type house, and my uncle’s house seemed like a fairytale mansion in comparison. Many happy memories of time spent there for family parties. Surprisingly, the dining and kitchen area were small by today’s standards, but the outdoor deck and all those windows were such a luxury. Sad to see the deck removed now from the dwelling in the photo. I’m wondering if it rotted out and the owners just didn’t want to deal with replacing it.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      November 16, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Sevina – Wow, your Uncle’s house sounds like a dream! Thank you so much for sharing your memories….that was very kind of you to do.

      I was disappointed to see the deck was gone too, you are probably right that it rotted out and they did not want to bother with replacing it…..but it was such a cool detail of the house that I was very sad to see it gone.

  10. Pingback: Midcentury modern designed by Seth Fulcher asks $1.05M – Tim Houle

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