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February 9, 2014

Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Features of the “Almost” Houses


By Eartha Kitsch

My husband and I were on the house hunt this Summer but never really found one that made the cut. Months later, I still think about some of the best features in the houses that we saw during the search. I thought it would be fun to show you some of them today.

Since kitchens are considered the “hearts” of houses, let’s start there!

This Kitchen was all original with orange laminate, Western hardware and original appliances. It even had a wagon wheel light and great old linoleum. Here is my favorite vignette from the room. I really wanted to live in this kitchen – but unfortunately, not the house itself. It was on an incline so steep that every trip to the mailbox would have been a broken leg opportunity. I wanted to put this kitchen in my purse and smuggle it out of there!



This pretty little stove top was in a house that we came *this* close to buying. You’ll notice that it had original flecked counter tops too. My Grandmother had the same ones. Unfortunately, this house was bought and immediately flipped so I’m not feeling good about what happened to these features.



Dusty old Modern Maid dishwasher. I think that the graphics are charming. I noticed our realtor eyeballing me for taking photo after photo of the dishwasher! This house also had newspaper clippings of helpful household hints taped to the insides of the cabinet doors. I would have totally left those if we’d bought that house.



Let’s move on to bathrooms! This little black and white number was so cool. I loved the scalloped detail over the sink, however you would have to be really short to see in the mirror due to how low it was. Everything about this bathroom was original until we pulled back the shower curtain and saw an 1980’s Jacuzzi tub. Whomp. Whomp.




Beautiful seahorse tile in another house:



Pretty little makeup vanity in another house. I love that sea foam tile detail. You can see the matching sink behind it with the original hanging lights.



Here is another house that we were enamored with but it had a basement that felt like a murder shack!  I really like this inset sink and the cool green cabinet in this bath however.



My favorite color combo in any vintage bath that I’ve ever seen would have to be this aqua tile alongside the beautiful flowers and birds wallpaper. This is the same house that the flipper got so I pray that this room was unscathed somehow. This bathroom was immaculately kept.



This bathroom was in a house that overlooked a peaceful river on one side but unfortunately, it overlooked the interstate on the other! Sad!  I found out later from friends Joe and Brian that these are vintage Paul McCobb tiles in the “Roulette” pattern. LOVE!



Some great old wallpaper that we found in a pantry. Choo! Choo!



I really liked the old flooring mixture in this house. I’m a sucker for that faux brick pattern especially! That’s a childhood flashback for me. We tossed and turned over this little house for days but ended up passing on it.



Also feature favorites were the staircase and floor in this 60’s foyer:



And check out this sweet mural that we found in the dining room of another home:



Most houses that we went to that were still original usually had one Nutone component or another. This one had a whole-house radio and intercom system:



I totally wanted to take these basement curtains home with me!



As well as this guy that we found peeking out from a closet!



Though…not these guys!


They gave me a real fright when I opened up that bathroom closet! My Dad used to be a tournament bass fisherman and since I loved this house so much, I took it as a sign that this was the house for us. Unfortunately, it took my husband about a billion years to get back and forth from work from this address so it had to be nixed. Uggh, I loved that house. I can’t even explain to you how cool it was. I whined for weeks afterwards.


Another thing that we found a couple of times were these sunken tubs.


Can someone who has one tell me how you clean it? Do you get flat on your stomach and scrub? I’d need to hire staff to get me up out of that floor!

Okay, that brings this nostalgic tour to an end. You know, I can’t help but wonder what magnificent homes we could build if we could go back in time and shop from all of the really amazing details that were up for grabs decades ago. Wow! Can you imagine?

Do you see any features in this post that would have made you consider these homes like I did? Do tell!

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19 Responses to Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Features of the “Almost” Houses

  1. Katie Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I don’t even think they *have* houses like that here. People have gutted them. It makes me sad.

  2. Beth Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Really enjoyed these pics. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. Claudia Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I love the roulette tiles (they look like starbursts) and the black iron bannister!

  4. Amanda Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    My MCM split-level has that same exact Nutone unit. It’s located in the kitchen. There are speakers in each of the 3 bedrooms, there might have been a speaker in the lower family room (but there’s just a hole in the wall now), and a speaker by the front door. Unfortunately it doesn’t work well. I can occasionally get the radio in the kitchen to work, but not broadcast it to the other rooms.

    Any ideas on how I could go about getting it repaired? Or maybe upgraded with a dock for a mp3 player?

  5. dkzody Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Our first condo, bought in 1977 and sold in 1980, had that copper tone stove and range hood. We paid $19520 for the condo, sold it for $32,000. The buyer insisted that we leave the copper tone fridge so that the whole kitchen matched. We had also installed a dishwasher in that color.

  6. Lassie Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Fascinating as always! That first picture, the knotty pine look cabinets & that hardware look very familiar to me! I think I remember it from our house when I was little….That white and seafoam green vanity in the bathroom? I WOULD KILL FOR THAT! A little seat, some good lighting, a magnifying mirror, and drawers to hide all my STUFF! And that wonderful shiny tile. I swear, I would look 20 years younger and prettier if I had had such a space in my home!

  7. Bethany Reply

    February 9, 2014 at 11:02 pm

    We had that brick linoleum growing up! Love it!

  8. Sara In AZ Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 3:03 am

    Oh gosh girl, I SO know what you are feeling about all the little bits and pieces you WISH you could rescue from homes you’ve been through. I can’t even begin to count the times I have wanted to take ‘this’ or ‘that’ from a house that is up for sale…..lord, I’ve have enough to build a complete house by now probably!

  9. jennifer barnaby Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 6:48 am

    I LOVE all those homes. Turquoise walls and bathrooms, vintage kitchen appliances, flooring I remember from childhood. Too bad you couldn’t just rent a room in each for a month or two.

  10. Mod Betty / RetroRoadmap.com Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 9:31 am

    I love those Paul McCobb tiles – and what a cool idea to snap photos of these details, to remember what each house had that was special about it! I was telling someone the other day that I swear we bought our last house because it had a chrome paper towel drawer that was inset into the wall above the kitchen sink. Even now I wish we had yanked it out when we moved, as I can pretty much guarantee no one else would have thought it was as cool as we thought it was 🙂

  11. Andrea Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 11:25 am

    OMG, I am totally loving that black and white bathroom – even though it would be horrible for me, since I am tall, hah!

  12. Janice Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I love love love the sea foam green bathroom with the vanity across from the sink and I love the wrought iron stair railing. Also, those roulette tiles are pretty stinking cool! I never thought about how you would clean a sunken tub, but that’s a good question. How does one do that?? Thanks for sharing and I could see how it would have hard to turn your back on these beauties!

  13. Barbara Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I would take any of those bathrooms! Except for the sunken tub, which was featured on a Mike Holmes show. No one understood it. They ripped it out and put a normal tub in. Cannot understand the thinking on that one!

    The stove in the first picture is exactly like the one in the house I grew up in – except ours was Harvest Gold!

  14. Pellibaby Reply

    February 10, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Love these…

    Are you still doing your own blogging, Eartha?

  15. Pingback: Original Features

  16. RetroRuth Reply

    February 11, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Oh my gosh! I love those tiles and that wallpaper. Gorgeous. Glad you snapped a pic, especially if it has been flipped already!

  17. GADawn57 Reply

    February 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    My kitchen in my rental townhouse is almost identical to the first picture of kitchen! Except my applicances (dishwasher, stove/oven) are avocado green but same slide in oven/stovetop. And we have paneling in kitchen! Townhouses were built early 1970s and most still have the original applicances (except for Fridges were are newer). My laminate counters are a harvest gold and the flooring original pattern with harvest gold and avocado with specks of red and black! Luckily, I love a retro look!

  18. jafi Reply

    February 26, 2014 at 12:17 am

    Wow, my grandmother had that exact brown stove. The kitchen cabinets were smooth wood but had those same handles.

    She also had the gold block flooring in the kitchen and the white rock flooring in a small entryway area by the front door.

    Different wall tile but the toilet, sinks, and tub were that same shade of robin’s egg blue.

    The house was built in 1967 in MO. Amazing how the same materials got around the country.

  19. Pingback: Won’t You Be My Neighbor – Features of the “Almost” Houses: Part 2 | No Pattern Required

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