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Growing Up in a 1954 House

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By Carol Shetler

Growing Up in a 1954 House

1950s Home on a Quiet Lane. Click the photo for a larger view.

About My Post-War House


This house in Bowmanville, Ontario, east of Toronto, was built by my father in 1954, and enlarged twice since. The photo shows the house, facing east, as it has looked since 1966.

Originally a 2-room house, it gained a living room, full kitchen and second bedroom in 1956 when my older brother was born.

Full indoor kitchen plumbing and a complete bathroom were installed in 1962, when I began kindergarten.

In 1966, two bedrooms were added to the south end of the house, allowing for the expansion of the kitchen and dining area across the entire north end of the house.

The house was clad in aluminum siding in 1968.

Fun Features


Our mid-20th century house has a huge front window and an equally big living room. A nearly 400 square-foot living room is scarce these days. The 50-inch TV on the south wall suits the room's proportions, rather than being monstrously oversized.

The interior has much of its original "Masonite" paneling, a soft cinnamon brown in the living room and a light oak woodgrain in the kitchen. When I was a kid we had a pool table in the basement - loved it, and learned to play as soon as I could.

Some of the original linoleum flooring is still in the hallway behind the living room. It is a soft blue feather pattern with red and white highlights. Tough as iron!

Lessons Learned

  • My brother and I have learned many unpleasant lessons since inheriting this house upon my father's death in 2005: Do your home maintenance when it is a minor problem, NOT a crisis!
  • Get work doing home renovation, or have an architect or construction contractor as your neighbor. Many homeowners replacing cabinetry, flooring, fixtures, etc. will gladly give you their castoffs rather than trash them.
  • Ensure your home is watertight at bottom and top. Basement resealing and new roofs are pricey.
  • Buy a small home on a big lot, not the other way around. Our 240 X 75 lot is worth just as much as the house.

Jackie Craven, About.com Architecture, says:

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