Tour the ultimate mid-century modern house: The Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year

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The ultimate mid-century modern home
Take a look at a mid-century modern house style that survives to this day! How can we be so sure? Because these homes — in particular the Scholz Mark 58, shown below — has an unusual history.

First, this was no one-of-a-kind home. In fact, 75 near-identical versions of this model were built across the country, all using the same prefab materials designed and manufactured by the created by the Scholz company — only making changes for things like individual lot topography, climate, and any local requirements.

Tour the ultimate mid-century modern home The Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year

And that is why in Ohio, Philadelphia, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland, Connecticut, New Mexico, Louisiana, Illinois, Iowa, Florida, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Minnesota, California and other states, at least one home was built that looked almost exactly like the photos below — inside and out.

They were, in fact, so similar, that the same pictures were used in the company’s newspaper ads all across the US.

If house-hunters from 1958 liked what they saw in the model, they could get one of these houses for their very own. The Mark 58 was available in four sizes, with components made by Scholz and assembled by local builders.

In addition to benefitting from a streamlined design and construction process, it also allowed the company to launch a nationwide ad campaign — and they even got one of the industry’s leading consumer home magazines, House Beautiful, to run an extensive photo feature on the houses.

Below, through 34 photos and floorplans, you can take a tour of one of the Scholz Mark 58 homes, which delivers almost everything you’d expect from a marvelously modern home built in the late ’50s.

From the blue bathroom to the wooden wall paneling, every inch of this reinterpreted California Ranch home screams retro… and we love it. (What do these houses look like now? Take a look at a Scholz Mark 58 in Ohio here and another in Maryland.)

But this story’s not quite over yet. In addition to an estimated 50,000 houses, Donald Scholz left another lasting legacy — his son, Tom, is a talented musician and songwriter, and founder of the multi-platinum band Boston.

Scholz Homes - Mark 58


House Beautiful Presents: A house that delivers on the American Dream (1958)

The house that most Americans have dreamed about owning, during the decade since the war, has looked very much like the one shown here and on the next 14 pages.

But always, when they went to buy or build it, the price tag was from $60,000 to $125,000. But industry has kept chipping away at the price, in the American way, without spoiling the intrinsic goodness.

Now, in 1958, this house will be sold by builders all over the USA from $24,000 to $50,000, in four sizes. Turn the page to see the home and its variations.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (4)


The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year”

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (7)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (6)

Wide publicity set for showing across country

As the Scholz Mark 58 home makes its debut this weekend, it is probably the most-publicized house in America.

Open houses showings of the Mark 58 are being held in 75 communities throughout the country, very similar to the presentation in Forest Hills by Builder John Mercer and the Peterson Realty company.

For one thing, newspapers in all of these cities are carrying announcements inviting the public to inspect the display houses open for inspection.

Also, the Mark 58 was selected by House Beautiful magazine as the “House of the Year” for 1958. The magazine’s June issue contains 14 pages of color photographs, floor plan sketches and descriptive material on the house, along with an extensive advertising section on the products used in its construction.

In addition, the house was featured on the George Gobel-Eddie Fisher TV show last Tuesday, and will be plugged on the Dave Garroway show on June 3, among many other TV and radio bookings.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (1)

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Captivated by contemporary homes: Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year style was inspired by California look

The contemporary styling of Scholz Homes was adopted by Toledo builder Donald J. Scholz several years ago, inspired by California homes he had seen, on a nationwide housing inspection tour.

Scholz started his first construction firm in Toledo in 1946 with a force of five people, and had been building colonial-type houses. So other builders were surprised and amused when he started 600 California contemporary homes in Toledo upon returning from his trip.

But Scholz was captivated by the feeling of open planning in the homes and persisted in his undertaking.

As his building operations developed, he applied his engineering skills to precutting materials and fabricating certain parts of the home on the site.

Before long, the California contemporary caught the eye of other builders, and Scholz began selling the design, pre-cut lumber and wall panels.

Scholz Homes, Inc., incorporated in March 1952, now has a system of national distributors handling components shipped from five plants. Sales have shot up from $300,000 in 1953 to about 15 million in 1957, with prospects for even higher volume this year.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (4)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (9)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (1)

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Fulfilling of dream hailed by magazine

The Mark 58 is “a distillation of America’s 1958 dream house,” says House Beautiful magazine in a colorful feature article published in the June issue to coincide with the nationwide showing.

Interpreting the 20-year trend in housing tastes, the magazine continues:

“Back in 1938, the common denominator in dream houses was the Cape Cod Colonial, a closed-up house that ignored in its design the wonderful efficiency of heating plants, insulation and insulating glass, and many other modern materials.

“This house is a far cry from that Cape Cod. Its exterior is contemporary but, handsome as it is, there is more than an architectural facade here. The goodness becomes clear when you begin to analyze it room by room, and feature by feature.

Take a look around this mid-century modern model home from 1958 Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year (1)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (5)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (8)

Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year costs trimmed

“In general appearance and specifications, this house is an industrialized version of what House Beautiful has been presenting since 1948 in its series of annual ‘Pace Setters,’ custom-built at costs generally over $100,000. Thanks to industry know-how, the cost is 50 percent to 75 percent less.

“Every architectural device has been used in this medium-size house to give it the luxurious look and performance of a house twice its size.

“The living-room-dining-room combination is a good example. Both are generous rooms in their own right, but by leaving out the partition between them, their spatial size is nearly doubled. By letting the eye extend beyond the actual floor limit of the rooms, a kind of visual borrowing occurs, which gives you the impression of greater spaciousness.”

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The magazine notes that this impression is enhanced by (a) floor-to-ceiling window walls that allow the rooms to flow out visually far beyond the exterior walls, and (b) ceilings that continue through the glass walls and become the roof overhang.

“Throughout the house,” says the magazine, “you’ll see how the structure itself has been designed to make the space architecturally interesting.”

Kitchen/family room combined

Another striking part of the house is the kitchen-family room, concerning which the magazine says:

“To make a family room really work means devoting enough space to it, planning traffic-ways carefully so that activities will not be interrupted, and fitting the whole space with labor-saving equipment and easy-to-maintain furnishings. This room scores high on these counts.

“It is the working heart of the house, but it has none of the mundane look of the workaday. To cook here would be a pleasure. To iron here, looking out on the kitchen terrace, would be an inspiration. It would certainly be the party room for young and old, where everyone would congregate.”

Scholz Homes - Mark 58 on House Beautiful cover

Take a look around this mid-century modern model home from 1958 Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year (4)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home kitchen-family room (5)


Furnished model on wooded site reflects contemporary styling

By Warren Brintnall (State Journal Real Estate Editor)

Central Michigan residents will have a chance, starting today, to see the widely-promoted Mark 58 home, at 4391 Greenwood Drive, in Forest Hills, east of Okemos.

One of several dozen Mark 58s being shown in 75 cities across the country, the Okemos model was erected by John Mercer, builder, using components supplied by Scholz Homes, Inc., of Toledo, Ohio.

Peterson Realty company, sales agent for Forest Hills, has arranged an elaborate open house presentation. The home has been specially furnished for the occasion, with the furnishing and interior decoration coordinated by Scholz personnel, to fit into a master plan for all 75 of the showings.

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Visitors to the lushly-wooded Greenwood Drive site will find a striking house with the celebrated Scholz California contemporary styling.

Its long, low appearance from the front gives no hint of the way the house has been set into its sloping lot, so that a mahogany-paneled family room in the basement opens at grade level onto a paved terrace.

In this respect, the Forest Hills house differs from the Mark 58 as featured in House Beautiful magazine. Color pictures in the June issue of the magazine show a basementless version.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home kitchen-family room (1)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (6)

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Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home kitchen-family room (2)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home kitchen-family room (3)

Striking features of the Mark 58 prefab home

But in most other particulars, Mercer’s show house is a typical Mark 58, boasting such features as these:

— A dramatic entrance foyer with wide double doors, its roominess brightened by big windows and decorated by the foliage from planters recessed in the floor;

— A 22 by 16-foot living room with a massive masonry fireplace and a dramatic cathedral ceiling supported by huge beams.

— A 13 by 12-foot dining room with a glass wall view of the spacious outdoor living area;

— A beautiful kitchen with furniture-like cabinets and the latest in automatic gas appliances;

— Bathrooms with ceramic tile and laminated plastic walls, countertop lavatories and other built-in features.

MORE: See the mid-century modern Scholz Mark ’60 home from 1960, inside & out

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home (2)

Speaker system services house

An intercom system is an interesting feature of the John Mercer Mark 58 display house in Forest Hills.

Besides carrying radio programs or recorded over speakers installed in all rooms, the system permits conversation between rooms, or paging occupants of the house.

The central control panel in the kitchen also includes a timing device, which makes it possible to send a wake-up signal to certain rooms, and to turn, on or snap off the power to an electric outlet on the panel.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (3)

Custom prefab homes

In common with other Scholz models, the Mark 58 reflects the design flair of Don Scholz, manufacturer of components for the houses. Scholz uses dramatic balconies, vaulted exposed beam ceilings, paneled recreation rooms, and large floor-to-ceiling glass walls.

Scholz claims to have perfected “custom-prefab” engineering. Wall panels, roof trusses, interior partitions and other component parts are manufactured by production line methods with power tools and precision jigs at the Scholz plant in Toledo, and assembled at the site.

Foundations, exterior finishes, plumbing, wiring and heating facilities are installed by the local builder.

Integration of house and site is achieved by use of outdoor terraces and glass walls to bring the outdoors in, and relate the structure to its setting.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (5)

Price factor

Mercer supports a contention by Scholz that economies of prefab construction, plus local building advantages, are reflected in use of materials and equipment, and allow for more floor space within the price category.

A price of $39,000 has been set on the Greenwood Drive house.

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Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (2)


The master suite — a complete (and private) luxurious world of its own

Certainly one of the commonest dreams of 1958 American parents is to have a retreat all their own, where they can pause for a moment of quiet.

Here is such a place — a large bedroom-sitting room, with adjacent dressing room and private bath and, best of all, its own planter-enclosed court just outside a sliding glass wall.

This is very much the kind of custom suite that House Beautiful has often shown in the most expensive houses, another example of how modern industry has brought the price of luxury down to here-and-now availability. If you don’t get as much in your next house, you won’t be getting your money’s worth.

Spacious master bedroom handles large, comfortable chair easily. This makes the room more inviting for quiet reading, sewing, etc. Terrace outside is just for the master suite. Plan shows how dressing room and bath are designed to preserve privacy while making the most efficient use of space.

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home master bedroom (1)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home master bedroom

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home master bedroom (3)

Take a look around this mid-century modern model home from 1958 Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year (3)

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More: The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year” features

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home bathroom (2)

Take a look around this mid-century modern model home from 1958 Scholz Mark 58 Home of the Year (2)


The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year” floorplan views

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home design plan (2)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home design plan (1)


More: The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year” exteriors

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (10)

Scholz Mark 58 mid-century modern model home exterior (8)

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5 Responses

  1. Great article!! We live in a Scholz home located in Melbourne FL 32940. After discovering the name plaque on the front door and an old flyer left by the original owner, I did some research. I was so excited to find out what a wonderful piece of history we live in! Our home has all the items listed as standard items in a Scholz home. Sadly, when we first bought it, we knocked the planter wall in the entryway. Good news is, after finding out what a great story our home has, we engrossed ourselves in Mid Century and have become obsessed! We will be rebuilding our planter wall in the entryway only we will be adding sliding laminate doors for added storage, keeping with the mid century aesthetic. Side note: The name Scholz was misspelled in paragraph 7 as Schulz.

    Thank you taking the time to write about Scholz and a bit of his history. Make me happy and gitty! I wish more people knew about Scholz. I’m going to post this article on my Facebook page. Please feel free to reach out to me!
    ~Nicole Oliveira

    1. Nicole – How amazing that you have one of these iconic and now rare homes! I love that I could offer a little more history of the place. :-) I hope the rebuilding goes well, and think it’s fantastic that you’re bringing it back to its former glory. Thank you so much for your comment, and I’m really glad you found the site. (Also – that typo is now fixed. Thanks for the catch!) – Nancy

  2. What a great article! I live in a Scholz Mark 65 Contemporary home 45 mins from Toledo, Ohio! I love it and agree that so many don’t realize what their home is! I’ve found a Mark 58 around the corner from my house and a few other beauties. Sadly, most I’ve seen have been updated on the interior. I lucked out with my home being somewhat original except a kitchen update. :)

  3. It very strongly resembles the base housing (circa 1955) we lived in on Edwards AFB in the 1990s, to the point where I wonder if they were a Scholz design. The houses had those upper skylight windows in many rooms, and sliding glass doors and beamed overhangs on the patios. The bathrooms also had the same tile laid on an angle just like that (ours was beige, not blue). Even the sinks were the same. (No walk-in closets, however.) We had parquet oak flooring except in the bathrooms and kitchen, which had vinyl (but probably originally had linoleum).
    Sadly, all that beautiful Midcentury Modern housing was torn down around 2000. If a house like that were for sale in a decent neighborhood, I’d buy it today.
    I strongly believe in leaving houses as they were originally designed. When you “update” kitchens or baths, you end up with a mishmash of styles that eventually will look as outdated as the original did. So just stick with the original, and it will eventually become a classic.

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