Groovy 1960s Home Designs


This article is part of a monthly series that explores historical applications of building materials and systems through resources from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), an online collection of AEC catalogs, brochures, trade publications, and more. The BTHL is a project of Preservation Technology Associationan international building preservation organization.

The adage “old becomes new” best applies to mid-century modern design. With the help of mainstream retailers like IKEA, the streamlined aesthetic applied to both the architecture and furnishings of many 1960s residences became more popular than ever.

Here, the BTHL highlights the home and interior design options available at the height of this design era.

Brick Homes: Contemporary-Traditional and Ranch by Garlinghouse, LF Garlinghouse Co., Topeka, Kansas, c. 1960
This catalog features 120 models of contemporary and ranch-style brick homes. LF Garlinghouse Co. was a prolific publisher of house catalogs; the BTHL has over 100 registered digitized catalogs.

Price houses, Hiawatha T. Estes and Nationwide Plan Book Co., Northridge, Calif., c. 1960
For just $1, readers could purchase this catalog of house plans featuring designs for ranches and traditional residences. “We sincerely believe that this book contains the most comprehensive guide to the popular Ranch-style home on the market today,” the publishers wrote.

Modern wooden fencesWeyerhaeuser Sales Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1960
This catalog offers multiple design options for fences that “frame your home and grounds, provide a beautiful backdrop for flowers and shrubs, and bring home, yard, and garden together.”

Bulletin: Now… for the first time… Award-winning design plans are available to the public, US Rustic Cedar Homes, Los Angeles, c. 1960
While the ranch style was the most common new type of home at that time, the A-frame also gained popularity in the 1960s. This pitched-roof home type was especially popular for vacation homes and was often used wood for a rustic effect.

Weyerhaeuser plywood catalogWeyerhaeuser Co., Tacoma, Washington, 1961
Plywood began to appear in architectural applications in the 1930s; by the 1960s it was ubiquitous in framing and finishing systems. The catalog includes Texture One-Eleven, a “very distinctive vertical siding and interior panel plywood with grooves” that was widely used in the 1960s and 1970s.

New decorating ideas with ceramic tilesAmerican Olean Tile Co., Lansdale, Pennsylvania, 1962
American Olean has highlighted ceramic tile’s applications as an interior finish in this catalog, saying “you’ll see it in entryways, family rooms, dining rooms, laundry rooms…on walls, floors, counters, window sills… even outdoors on terraces.

home modernization guideHolt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1962
This renovation guide provides a comprehensive overview of home improvements popular in the 1960s. Ideas include installing sheet vinyl flooring, using acoustical ceiling tiles, and upgrading kitchen appliances.

Harmony House Kitchen Ideas BookSears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago, 1963
This kitchen catalog from Sears, Roebuck & Co. promised to “turn an outdated waste of space into a kitchen with efficiency, freshness and style.” Renderings showcase interior design and fashion styles of the day.

Distinguished Home Designs for Modern LivingPlan editors, New York, 1963
This catalog of house plans offered “designs by professional architects” including “multi-level, raised ranch, one-and-a-half-story, two-story, and ranch homes.”


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