Nestled on a quiet street in Liberty is a home so amazing, it graced the cover of Better Homes and Gardens in 1959, four years before it was built.
Or at least a rendering of the “home of the future” was featured, along with a few other houses that were considered a bit peculiar back then. Home owner Carter Buschardt opens the magazine to a page that shows the home’s floor plan, and it is, in fact, nearly identical.
Buschardt and his wife, Sheila, have been carefully restoring the 3,200-square-foot midcentury modern gem for the past few years. He took time to show the most spectacular features of the home, including the floor-to-ceiling glass that’s often a feature in the front or back of the home.
In this case, the living room and dining room have a sweeping view of an unlikely spot: the garage. But the view would be eye candy to any car lover.
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Did you purchase that classic black ’59 Thunderbird convertible because that was the year the plans for your home made the pages of Better Homes and Gardens?
It was a coincidence, but that’s pretty cool, right? The views from the back are great, and we like to sit and watch the wildlife. But it’s a lot of fun to be able to look over and see that car from most rooms on this floor. The garage is our showroom. We took the car out last weekend, but once it gets cold out, we keep it safe in here, out of the snow and the salt on the roads.
What drew you to the home?
It was unique. I sell houses for a living, so I’ve seen a lot of great homes, but this one really drew us in.
What were some of the improvements you’ve made on the home?
We tore out an ugly pinkish carpet that a previous owner thought was cool at the time. We put in cork flooring in the living room and bar area, and tile throughout the dining room and kitchen. A wall blocked the view of the bar room and living room from the dining room and kitchen, so that came out. Everything was beige, so we added the bright colors. And the countertops in the kitchen were laminate, so we put in the granite.
Where do you shop for your light fixtures?
We like to look at the antique shops in the West Bottoms. This spaceship light fixture over the dining room table came from a bowling alley. The cool light fixture that works so well in our foyer came from a kid at an antique store. He said his parents were remodeling and didn’t want that ’60s stuff around anymore.
But the bones of the house remained intact?
They did. We liked things like the open cabinets in the kitchen and the blue backsplash. And when we reconfigured the kitchen and had to put in more, we found an exact match. Shows you that everything comes back around again.
Do you still have work to do?
Oh sure, we’re still working. We did a lot of the work ourselves, but I’ll get someone to scrape the popcorn on these vaulted, cathedral ceilings. I want a more noble death than falling off scaffolding.
How do you use the bottom floor?
Downstairs is sort of a theater room, and it’s where I keep my drum set. I was a drummer for 20 years. Opened and played with some big names, then went on to be a lighting director. But I got tired of the road.
The leap from musician to Realtor is pretty unusual. How did that happen?
I was also in an improv group here for a while. At some point, someone said, “You’re outgoing and funny, and you know houses.” And that was the start.
When did you and Sheila marry?
Give me a second — I’d better get this one right. Twelve years ago. I had one daughter, and she had two, and they were about the same age. They’re grown now, and we have a 7-year-old granddaughter.
Did you and Sheila see eye to eye on this house?
We really did, and she’s done a lot of the work on this house. We have the same interests and mostly the same taste. We both love antiquing, we love live music, and we’re interested in the paranormal. And we hit First Fridays and the art festivals, and spend too much money — but you have to support local, right?
Do you enjoy entertaining?
We have people over around once a month. It’s a great gathering place. We hear, “My wife would never live in a house like this,” or “My husband wouldn’t like it,” but they come to soak it in and see something different.