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Back from the ’50s: Redoing a Ranch Home

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By Kim Palmer

ranch_home(MCT)—When Ed Charbonneau and Erica Berven decided to buy their first home, they had a vision in mind: Atomic Ranch, as in the Space Age-era houses that have become the height of retro chic to a new generation of homeowners.

“I had a subscription to Atomic Ranch magazine,” says Berven, who also remembers admiring the interiors on TV’s “The Jetsons” and “The Brady Bunch” and thinking, “That’s the coolest thing ever.”

The couple found their own Atomic Ranch-style house in St. Louis Park, Minn. Built in 1954, it had some distinctive original features, including a butterfly roof with dramatic eaves and a tapering stone fireplace in the living room.

But the house also retained some not-so-desirable relics from the ‘50s, including a tiny kitchen—“the size of a twin bed,” Berven said. (That’s typical of the era, when kitchens were built just big enough for one housewife to do her work and were separated from the main living area.)

The couple’s kitchen had been updated over the years but it was far from functional.

“It had been fixed so many times it was permanently broken,” Charbonneau said.

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