This article is part of a monthly series that explores historical applications of building materials and systems through resources from the Building technological heritage library (BTHL), an online collection of AEC catalogs, brochures, trade publications and more. The BTHL is a project of the Preservation Technology Association, an international organization for the preservation of buildings.
The adage “what’s old is new again” is best applied to mid-century modern design. With the help of traditional retailers like IKEA, the clean aesthetic applied to the architecture and boht furnishings of many 1960s residences has become 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 & Ranch by Garlinghouse, LF Garlinghouse Co., Topeka, Kan., Ch. 1960
This catalog features 120 contemporary and ranch style brick home designs. LF Garlinghouse Co. was a prolific publisher of house catalogs; the BTHL has more than 100 digital catalogs.
Price houses, Hiawatha T. Estes and Nationwide Plan Book Co., Northridge, Calif., V. 1960
For just $ 1, readers could purchase this catalog of house plans featuring designs for ranches and traditional residences. “We sincerely believe this book contains the most comprehensive guide to the popular Ranch-style home on the market today,” the editors wrote.
Modern wooden fences, Weyerhaeuser Sales Co., St. Paul, Minnesota, 1960
This catalog offers multiple fence design options that “frame your home and yard, provide a beautiful backdrop for flowers and shrubs, and bring the 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, v. 1960
While the ranch style was the most common new type of home at this time, the A-frame also gained popularity in the 1960s. This type of sloped roof house was particularly popular for vacation homes and used often wood for a rustic effect.
Weyerhaeuser Plywood Catalog, Weyerhaeuser Co., Tacoma, Washington, 1961
Plywood began to appear in architectural applications in the 1930s; in the 1960s it was ubiquitous in framing and finishing systems. The catalog includes Texture One-Eleven, a “very distinctive vertical siding and interior paneling plywood with grooves” that was widely used in the 1960s and 1970s.
New decorating ideas with ceramic tiles, American Olean Tile Co., Lansdale, Pennsylvania, 1962
American Olean has highlighted the applications of ceramic tile as an interior finish in this catalog, saying that “you will see it in lobbies, family rooms, dining rooms, laundry rooms … on walls, floors. , counters, window sills … even outside terraces.
Home Modernization Guide, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1962
This home improvement guide gives a comprehensive overview of popular home improvements in the 1960s. Ideas include installing vinyl flooring, using acoustic ceiling tiles, and upgrading kitchen appliances.
Harmony House Cooking Ideas Book, Sears, Roebuck & Co., Chicago, 1963
This kitchen catalog from Sears, Roebuck & Co. promised to “transform an obsolete space waster into a kitchen with efficiency, freshness and style.” The renderings showcase the interior design and fashion styles of the day.
Distinguished home designs for modern living, Plan Publishers, New York, 1963
This catalog of house plans featured “professional architect designs” including “two-story houses, raised, one-and-a-half-storey, two-story and ranches.”