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70's houses, do you think they're eyesores?
Have you got one or renovated one?


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20 replies to this topic

#1 paula1

Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:44 PM

I was recently about to buy a cute cottage style house until the building report came and i withdrew my offer.

I've been looking at other houses and most of the ones in my budget are those ugly houses from the 70's. I find that there is very little that can be done to make these look nice. I know many peole render them but to me it doesn't make much difference.
I wish Californian Bungalows and other period homes were as affordable as these eyesores!

Have any of you been successful in renovating one of these houses?
Any ideas on what can make them look more appealing? I find they have no street appeal whatsoever.

Any advice would be great!

#2 ubermum

Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:49 PM

I think it is a matter of personal taste. Given yours, I don't thing anyone's suggestions are going to help. Personally, I think they look fine when they are rendered and things like amber glass at front doors are replaced and updated and the garden is manicured.

#3 jobo77

Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:52 PM

We live in a 70s house which is red brick -  I personally don't find it that unattractive so we haven't done anything to the outside but lots of the houses in our suburb are gradually being "modernised" and it seems to involve cement rendering. Some of the houses look great and then when they add other features like a modern front door and wooden shutters it really makes it a huge difference! We are slowly working on internal things for now (about to install new insulation as the early 80s stuff that is in there doesnt seem to do much) and might get to the exterior one of these days...  original.gif

#4 FeralLIfeHacker

Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:54 PM

A friend of ours purchased one, it was in a really nice area surrounded by villas and bungalows so it looked a little out of place but he specifically got it because apparently they are easy to renovate, the structure is fairly sound?  He has spent a lot of money on it now and it looks unrecognisable. It's rendered and he added a thing (I don't know what they are called) around the entrance to the front door, changed all the windows and had an amazing garden put in, it looks like a new build now.

#5 librablonde

Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:57 PM

I guess it depends what you consider to be ugly from the 70's. I'm not a fan of 1970's brown brick veneer and lots of concreted areas. But my current 1970 weatherboard home has all the original features. I love retro furniture and op-shop treasures so our interior decorating in now a tribute to the groovy 70's. Kind of Brady Bunch set design meets hippy haven original.gif

#6 Magnus

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

I agree, OP. I do find them to be quite unattractive, in general (at least most of the brick ones). I don't know if I'd want to buy one. I'd probably be inclined to go a little further out, or to a cheaper suburb, to get something that was more my style.

I'm a bit hung up on aesthetics, though. It sounds like a lot of people like that aesthetic (or don't mind it) and appreciate the solidity. I guess it depends where you're located too, because if it's cold they might retain heat better. Some people might like the layouts as well. If I was buying a flat I might go 70s before more recent builds as often they seem to have more generous floorplans and ceiling heights and sometimes better construction quality.

#7 paula1

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:04 PM

I would prefer a weatherboard but there is very little on the market at the moment so close to xmas.

Of course some look better than others. The particular one that i saw today had arches on the windows....

It also had no cornices anywhere and those really cheap and thin brown skirting boards. I know these things can be changed in the future.

Edited by paula1, 09 December 2012 - 03:07 PM.


#8 Feral timtam

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:13 PM

Ugly and boxy.
However they are pretty easy to modify into something attractive. We're eyeing off one because we want to downsize and if we buy it the plan is to add wrap around verandas and some climbing roses to it which would drastically improve it's appearance.

#9 HandsOnNewton

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

Depends what kind of 70's house you're talking about. Ours is one of those massive open plan things with raked ceilings, exposed rafters, wooden cladding and exposed brick in some rooms, and a rather speccy floor to ceiling amber ripple glass window at one end of the living area. Built in 1973. Lots of people at open inspections were walking in and then walking straight back out again because they didn't like the 70's style of it.....so we picked it up for an absolute song. I think parts of it would be pretty hard to renovate, yeah, but I love the spacious feel of it. It also just "fits" in with the neighbourhood, being on the side of a tree-filled quarter acre hill block surrounded by other largish tree-filled blocks, all with their own 70's style houses. If we changed it too much I don't think it would work anymore, TBH.
Plus, I grew up in houses like this, I like them original.gif

#10 Magnus

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

Your house sounds lovely, RedKris. I admit that when I replied I had quite a different style of 70s house in mind.

#11 HandsOnNewton

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:31 PM

double post

Edited by redkris, 09 December 2012 - 03:32 PM.


#12 Fluster

Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:39 PM

I love 70's houses  ph34r.gif

If I had one, I'd go hard adding white concrete lions and gargoyles, and encouraging DH to show off his topiary skills.

#13 BadCat

Posted 09 December 2012 - 04:24 PM

I don't think they are eyesores at all.  I prefer my 70s brick house to a weatherboard any day.

But given that you don't like them I think you're going to have spend a lot of money tweaking one to suit.  Perhaps better to spend that extra money on just getting a place you like in the first place.

#14 Expelliarmus

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:01 PM

Ours is a tiny, boxed in solid brick ... thing built off a plan in a hurry in 1974. It's solid enough but functional rather than attractive and not at all spacious. I'd renovate a large one like redkris describes but ours isn't worth renovating in the slightest.



#15 Weirdly Sane

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:24 PM

OP, if I recall your other thread correctly, you like cottagey style houses?

I had a similar problem to you - the budget and location I had in mind meant that most of the houses within my reach were from the 70s.  I'd always vowed I would never, never live in one (again - I grew up in one).

But faced with little choice I have compromised- I have an early 70s colonial style and am gradually transforming it.  I've had many people assume I will render it but I have painted the brown brick white, and prefer that.

No arches and no amber glass so at least I didn't have to deal with those.



#16 EBeditor

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:28 PM

There were a few styles from the 70s, it really depends. Much can be transformed/renovated. Arches are bad, as are chalet-style wood-clad bathrooms.

#17 paula1

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:29 PM

Thanks Guys,

It's certainly not my style but it's the style that my budget is pushing me towards.

I'm not talking about those large 70's homes that are like beautiful ski chalets....I mean the brown/orange boxes with no character whatsoever.

#18 somila

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:36 PM

Mine is early 80s but still has the "ski chalet" beamed ceilings, split level, open plan feel.  It has a chocolate brick feature wall which we love.  If the outside was chocolate brick too it would be perfect!

As for the typical boxes, I've seen some more and less successful renos - I'm not a fan of rendering"brick boxes" - I think they often look like toilet blocks.  Some kind of cottage effect could be created by replacing windows, adding awnings and verandahs etc.  Probably worth working with a professional to create the desired effect

A well manicured garden can make a big difference to any home.

#19 FiveAus

Posted 09 December 2012 - 05:42 PM

QUOTE (redkris @ 09/12/2012, 04:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Depends what kind of 70's house you're talking about. Ours is one of those massive open plan things with raked ceilings, exposed rafters, wooden cladding and exposed brick in some rooms, and a rather speccy floor to ceiling amber ripple glass window at one end of the living area. Built in 1973. Lots of people at open inspections were walking in and then walking straight back out again because they didn't like the 70's style of it.....so we picked it up for an absolute song. I think parts of it would be pretty hard to renovate, yeah, but I love the spacious feel of it. It also just "fits" in with the neighbourhood, being on the side of a tree-filled quarter acre hill block surrounded by other largish tree-filled blocks, all with their own 70's style houses. If we changed it too much I don't think it would work anymore, TBH.
Plus, I grew up in houses like this, I like them original.gif



This is ours.......no raked ceilings but there used to be plenty of amber glass and exposed brick. And the main bathroom is ceiling to floor black slate....we call it the Bat Cave.
Ours is BIG......we've knocked out walls in the living/kitchen area to make it bigger, blocked up doorways to make it more workable, replaced the kitchen with something more sensible and it's turning out to be very spacious, easy to keep clean, cool in summer and easy to heat in winter with the Coonara heater. The bedrooms are huge, the rumpus room is also huge and surplus to our needs but we'll renovate it anyway.

We live in a tiny rural hamlet where the houses are from lots of eras.....from 19th century miners cottage to very contemporary modern and everything in between. Ours is the "in between". We fit in, everyone does, and the eclectic bunch of houses on large blocks of land (half acre to 2 acres within the village boundaries) along with the wonderfully kept gardens here, combine to give this area a prosperous, well cared for feel.

#20 rocketsurgeon

Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:30 PM

When we were house hunting we really wanted this 70s style box-type house as it was structurally sound, had very basic and spacious layout, and had not been touched up, ever. We had huge plans to do up the whole place, new bathroom, kitchen, doors, windows, landscaping etc Alas, we weren't quite ready to buy and someone snapped it up just as we decided we were ready.

#21 tanyak1

Posted 09 December 2012 - 08:41 PM

Our house was a 70's red-brick house. A few years back we rendered it. As well as the render we replaced the roof, put in new windows (previous windows were plain aluminium frames, we put in cream ones with some feature bars), and a new front porch with terracotta tiles. I think this gave the whole house an updated look and a bit more character, rather than just the render and nothing else.

The inside was completely revolting and 70's so we changed  afew things right after moving in (the render etc was done after about 5 years) - we got rid of the floral orange/brown/olive kitchen wallpaper, the plastic light fittings (a different colour in each room to match the paint), the green and brown carpet, olive and brown kitchen, and greenish - coloured bathroom tiles and shower screen embedded with  fish, shells and starfish.

It looks pretty good now, especially the outside, and it's on a good block of land and a great street so was worth making the changes.




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