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.
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 Schulz left another lasting legacy — his son, Tom, is a talented musician and songwriter, and founder of the multi-platinum band Boston.
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.
The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year”
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More: The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year” features
The Scholz Mark 58 “House of the year” floorplan views