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July 18, 2018

The Happy House

By Julia

After moving into our home, my husband and I got curious about what was original and what had been updated. We speculated on several questionable things on the interior of the home (why is that light switch on the bottom of the wall by the floor?) and were wondering if our three season porch had always been enclosed. Very few of our neighbors have two-car garages, but we do. I started doing a little research and stumbled upon our city records department. Ah-ha! Maybe they would have the blueprints from when our house was built! Alas, the blueprints were destroyed prior to the city archives starting in the 1980s. But they did still have Assessor cards, which was a WPA program started in the late 1930s that provided some great info about the property, including photos!

In this first photo, we learned that the address plate was originally on the opposite side of the porch from where it is now. There is no mailbox, but rather a slot in the front door. But the overall look of the house hasn’t changed much.

We also discovered that our house has always had a two-stall garage. The doors have been upgraded over the years, but the basic structure is still intact. I think it’s fascinating that some of the tools from construction are still out in the snow.

We also found that the three-season porch was once a covered patio! I suspected that all along- the bricks are fairly weathered on that side- but it wasn’t entirely clear. Steps were added later to the patio/porch, the backdoor was upgraded at some point, and there is now an awning over the back stoop. The milk door is still intact, but no longer accessible from the inside.

As a bonus, we got this photo from 1979. We had a good laugh at the amount of snow in each of these photos- I guess they only took these in the winter. Since the first set of photos, shutters and a railing have been added, along with a mailbox instead of a mail slot. The house numbers have switched sides as well. I have to say, I’m loving the wild pattern on the shutters. Those got lost somewhere along the way; the ones we have now are a solid brown. Whereas the first set of photos showed a mostly empty neighborhood, this photo now shows homes on both sides and mature trees.

How about you, dear readers? Have any of you found any cool treasures for your own homes?

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10 Responses to The Happy House

  1. Elle Emerson Reply

    July 18, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Have you seen Pixar’s Incredibles 2? It is ALL MCM!! Starbursts, Sputniks, TV’s, furniture, down to the decorations on the garage doors! If you’ve not seen it yet, you’d better! I am probably not the first person to tell you this, but I just came from seeing it and thought of you at each new detail!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      July 18, 2018 at 8:24 pm

      Elle!! No I have not seen it yet, but thanks to you I am DEFINITELY putting it on the “must see” list now! I have heard some vague talk about the movie being mcm, but now that I know it is ultra mcm I MUST see this movie! Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  2. Susan from Boston Reply

    July 19, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    What a great house! I love it. Tell me, where is the milk door. Also, what is the best way to research the history of a home? Mine was built in 1910. I did a little research but came up empty in terms of finding original photos of the house.

    • Julia Reply

      July 24, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Thank you! I lucked out on my house photos because our town has a large local history section at our library and a friendly archivist working for the city. The milk door is next to the back door, about chest-height if you’re standing on the back stoop. 🙂

      • Susan from Boston Reply

        July 27, 2018 at 9:10 am

        Ah, now I see it. So clever. As I always say to Sara, ‘they’ knew how to do it back then.

        • Julia Reply

          July 31, 2018 at 8:24 pm

          The design of our home is very thoughtful- every space is used and nothing is wasted. “They” really did know how to do it back then!

  3. sherree Reply

    July 21, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    How cool that you have old photos of your home! I really like those shutters in the 1979 photo. Our 1952 ranch also has a milk door 🙂

    • Julia Reply

      July 24, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks! Our next-door neighbors also have a milk door that I can see from my dining room. They were an essential feature in many midcentury homes! 🙂

  4. Shelley Johnson Reply

    August 2, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    When we were hunting for our first house we looked at a delightful late 30s Tudor-y cottage. It had been well cared for and still had the original kitchen (white wood cabs) and bathrooms (one with peach and raspberry tile and one with dark and light blue tile, including a painted tile flamingo scene in the shower…). The house was completely empty but upstairs in the master bedroom closet was an old photo album documenting the CONSTRUCTION OF THE HOUSE. The family had built it, probably from a kit, as was common in the neighborhood.

    We weren’t able to buy that house, but I still think of it 16 years later.

    • Julia Reply

      August 7, 2018 at 6:13 pm

      Oooh, that sounds dreamy!

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