Talk to me about 60s/70s houses

(48 Posts)
StainlessSteelBegonia Sun 22-Sep-13 11:41:27

DH and I have been house hunting for a while, and we are coming to the conclusion that the best way to tick all the boxes on our moving list AND still be able to afford to buy in our preferred area will mean buying a 60s/70s house.

It's a bit of a serious mindshift for me. I tend to like the big, square rooms and fairly high ceilings of 30s houses. (I got over the Victorian thing around a decade ago after our first Victorian flat needed non-stop damp treatment for 2 soul destroying years.) Most of the 60s/70s places we've seen online have looked like they're in pretty dire need of modernisation (coloured bathroom suites, manky bathroom carpets, ancient kitchens, and so on) OR have that slightly strange Victorian-repro-fireplace-in-a-60s-house look.

Any MNers out there with a lovingly updated/redesigned 60s/70s house? Any good/bad points to keep in mind?

deepfriedsage Sun 22-Sep-13 11:45:02

Just go with the period in a minimal modern way.

Wineandchoccy Sun 22-Sep-13 11:53:59

We moved last year from a chocolate box 1850's cottage with original features, beams, inglenook fireplace etc it sold within 3 days and they wanted to exchange quickly.

We bought a 1963 semi detached with garden, drive and garage BUT in need of desperate modernisation as the lady was 99 and was the only person to live there so we had woodchip, patterned wallpaper, thick gloss paint on every wood surface, electric shock carpet in every room, bathroom suite is grey with black tiles which have been painted, kitchen doesn't have a proper fitted kitchen and no plumbing for a washing machine as she had a twin tub, living room had a hideous fire stuck on the wall but saying all that its a solid well built house in an amazing area with real potential and no damp!

We have decorated the 3 bedrooms and done the living room and they completely different to when we moved in.

Bathroom is being started in a few weeks and kitchen next year when we have saved up.

If you like the area and room sizes are good I would say go for it you won't regret it we love our retro home! smile

Renniehorta Sun 22-Sep-13 12:43:23

One of the great plus points of 60s/70s houses is the size of the rooms. Much more generous than more recent houses. They also tend to have very big windows. They were designed and mostly built before the steep rise in energy prices around 1973. It was only after that that smaller double glazed windows were the norm. This can also mean that they are very ppor from the point of view of energy efficiency.

I have spent the last 6 months house hunting. I currently live in a 3 storey house built in 2004. I looked at 60/70s houses but in the end decided that I wanted a more modern house. The reason being they often have only the one bathroom. I have been spoilt by having an ensuite and a cloakroom as well.

However if you are prepared to do a lot of work the size of rooms does give you plenty of scope.

EnlightenedOwl Sun 22-Sep-13 16:41:12

Mine is 1969
Plus - lovely big windows in large through rooms lots of light
Generous bedrooms with built in wardrobes - real bonus
Downside - build quality not great poor insulation, poor energy efficiency but these things can be remedied.
Only one loo/bathroom - with some rejigging you could create a loo downstairs but not really worth it to be honest.

EnlightenedOwl Sun 22-Sep-13 16:43:30

forgot to add the best bit is that sometime after being built someone painted the walls the most lurid colours. Purple on stairs bedrooms red and the living room is green!
I've papered over but not replastered one day purple stairs may come in again!

Barbabeau Sun 22-Sep-13 17:40:06

Our house is late 60s.

Massive windows and very light
All rooms bar the box room feel spacious. This is due to there being no wasted space such as oversized hallways
Built in closets in the bedrooms + linen cupboard in the hall
Decent energy efficiency. Ours is a mid range EPC C. It retains heat fairly well and we've got options to make it more efficient.

Main bathroom is relatively small
No space to put a second full bathroom without doing a major rejig of things but we do have a downstairs powder room
Not very pretty from the front

We're slowly doing it up and it will have a mix of period furniture and more modern furniture when its done.

loftladder Sun 22-Sep-13 17:53:42

we live early 70s house.
big rooms
huge garden (in comparison to all the local new builds)
generous drive, front garden, and garage
solid walls
tree lined road with grass verges, i think grass verges became extinct after the 60's

atrex, everywhere
funny glass bits above doors
no real character
boxy rooms
the neighbours are generally older, but that might just be here

but character can be added over time

ivykaty44 Sun 22-Sep-13 17:59:59

hanging fire I don't think you would get away with this in an older house

There are so many pluses to a 60/70 house

walls of books in a modern setting

great modern kitchens

Our house is early sixties and did need lots of work but generous sized rooms and big windows sold it for us. Agree ceilings not as high as older houses. I think this kind of house works with modernish style, I'm not sure it would work chintzy.

MadBusLady Sun 22-Sep-13 18:26:25

Watch a lot of Mad Men! I've never had a 60s house but can definitely see the point of the windows and room sizes.

For adding character I think old junky-type antiques work really well in 60s houses as long as you go with white walls and bare floors everywhere and make sure everything is spread out nicely. Clutter, frills and any paint colour that's obviously meant for an older house are the things to avoid. I would have sofas and kitchen modern and sleek though.

tethersend Sun 22-Sep-13 18:31:16

I live in a Victorian maisonette but the decor and everything in it is from the 60s and 70s- I am obsessed grin

Seriously, a coloured suite and original features in a 60s/70s house is my idea of heaven, and I would LOVE to buy such a house and restore it to its former glory.

Here's a beauty

TediousFool Sun 22-Sep-13 18:39:37

Barbabeau said pretty much what I was planning to say!

I couldn't live in mine if it hadn't been extended. The living room is lovely and big, I have my library area at the front near the window and my telly hides the serving hatch! grin

DisappointedHorse Sun 22-Sep-13 18:48:28

I have a 1963 3 bedroom semi. We bought it as a 1st house but circumstances have kept us here.

At first I hated it as I wanted a lovely high ceiling terrace house with period features but I really like it now.

When we moved in, every surface including walls were artexed and every floor carpeted. We had a coloured suite, mirrored wardrobes, gas pipes running under carpets, a condemned radiant fire with back boiler and live wires sticking out of the walls.

We have now got it pretty much how we want it, being decorated in a mid century style and living in it has its benefits. It's got really good sound insulation, it's very warm and it's low maintenance.

I like to consider it a period property too!

loraflora Mon 23-Sep-13 11:47:11

I grew up in a 1963 house. It was fine. Nothing wildly characterful about it, but windows were a decent enough size and it felt quite solid (bear in mind though that I was born in '64, so it wasn't that old then). The main downsides were that the kitchen was quite small and the third bedroom was quite small. I don't recall being warm but this was pre central heating and all we had was one gas fire! I'd consider buying one again if I liked the area.

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 12:05:28

I've recently moved from a 1960's to an Edwardian house and I really miss it. God I loved that house. As a PP said work with the period of the house rather than trying to make it something it isn't. Ours had lovely big windows, was really spacious and light, cheap to heat and maintain and easy to keep clean unlike current cold,damp money pit. Had loads of cleverly concealed storage spaces and was very quirky with a strong identity of its own. Was a comparative bargain too. Check out The Modern House estate agent for some inspiration. YY to Mad Men and watch the Ice Storm for 1970's!

Ha ha - I live in an early seventies house and chose to rip out the fake York stone gas fire surround, which did a good deal more than surround, and replace it with an Edwardian repro fireplace. I have no taste.

Plus sides include the windows, semi-open plan downstairs (lots of living space, albeit with tiny kitchen) and not much falls apart/leaks/gets damp.

Downsides: looks like 8 squillion other houses and I can't indulge my country farmhouse fantasies. Kitchen is small and there was only one bathroom until recently. Hallway is so small I have to stand in living room and crane my neck round to door if greeting more than one person.

Freetobeme Mon 23-Sep-13 12:06:04

We bought a 1960 wimpey house because the area is fab, we put area above our preferred style of house because we had a fixed budget (like most people).

It is detached (good) but has pebble dash on the front (bad). It is definitely not the nicest looking house from the outside but we have big rooms, a great open plan, flowing layout, big windows, a wide light filled hallway and the houses are nicely spaced out from each the with decent sized garden, driveway etc.

The decor was atrocious when we moved in, pink mouldy bathroom, horrible stone fireplace across a whole wall, brown kitchen etc...we are doing it up gradually and although we still have a lot to do we love the house. I am a convert to the 1960s box!

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 12:13:29

YY DisappointedHorse considered mine a period house too!

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 12:19:33

Modern House estate agent forgot link...

Quenelle Mon 23-Sep-13 12:31:58

I would buy a 60s-built house like a shot. Big windows, big gardens, front gardens, right angles. The roads are often wider than Victorian or newbuilds. Some were built with larders. I would love a larder.

Some people think they're not very attractive but I think some look really nice.

TediousFool Mon 23-Sep-13 13:33:29

Some do Quenelle, mine is basically a box with large windows!
One good thing though is I have a corner plot so I have a front garden plus a drive that can fit 4 cars on. grin

I've found newer estates, the houses are outwardly prettier but often try to have windy little roads to make it appear village like. Mix that with tiny little plots and most families having more than one car, trying to drive through the estates after 7pm is a nightmare!

StainlessSteelBegonia Mon 23-Sep-13 13:41:55

Oh gosh, artex. The place we've got an eye on doesn't have any of that, but my goodness the bathrooms are a sight...

I agree with the advice about staying modern/minimal. I've noticed that a lot of 60s buildings are quite Scandinavian-influenced (all those pine ceilings!), so it stands to reason that sticking with mid-century modern is the way to go.

The small kitchen thing is a bit of a bugbear of mine, though. I hate feeling shut away out of sight when I'm cooking. Have any of you enlarged your kitchens successfully?

Yama Mon 23-Sep-13 13:49:23

Our house is early seventies. One previous owner and I would guess that all rooms bar the kitchen were in their original decorative form. We moved in 3 weeks after purchase so had time to redo bathrooms, some electrics and heating. Oh, and skirting boards and doors.

We also stripped the padded wallpaper off and painted.

It transformed the place - really.

I bloody love it.

Pros - size, light, warmth, garden and for us location/views.

Cons - it is bloody ugly from the outside but I don't care.

Yy to modern, minimalist look by the way.

Quenelle Mon 23-Sep-13 13:57:12

If it is ugly from the outside at least you don't have to look at it grin

I live on a new estate and it's a bastard for parking. We are lucky enough to have a big enough drive for 2/3 cars but everyone else has to park at least one car on the road. The roads are so narrow that you feel like you can touch the house opposite. And there are no front gardens, just a flowerbed about two feet deep in most cases.

I grew up in a 60s house and it had an enormous front garden and huge back garden. The kitchen was a good size too, with a larder. The window in the living room was almost the size of the whole wall. I would love a house like that.

Yama Mon 23-Sep-13 14:01:32

Yes to big windows. Apart from getting the dc a blackout blind, we have kept the previous owners as they would cost a fortune to replace.

One of my favourite things is our enormous from garden. Feels like we are so far away from the road. The very quiet road. I have never felt such love for a house. And to think what my first impressions were when I saw it on Rightmove. I thought it looked like a Scandinavian jail. grin

exexpat Mon 23-Sep-13 14:06:41

If it's 1960s and looks like it hasn't been modernised or altered much over the years, be aware of the possibility of asbestos lurking in the ceilings etc. Friends have just had a nightmare dealing with asbestos in a 1960-ish house they just bought, and which wasn't picked up in the survey. They had to move out for weeks while it was removed, and it cost pretty much all the money they had planned to spend on a new kitchen and bathroom.

newgirl Mon 23-Sep-13 14:08:57

My friend did an amazing job with her 70 house - amtico flooring throughout modern bathrooms fab kitchen - it's light and spacious and I'm very jealous!

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 14:09:58

Something else to consider - have lived in a couple of 1960s builds and both had warm air central heating. I got on really well with this and found it very economical. I dislike radiators so was great having all that extra wall space but this type of system isn't everyone's cup of tea.

TediousFool Mon 23-Sep-13 14:14:22

Mefisto, they always have warm air central heating in horror movies. Move into a home with fancy little grills in your walls and you are going to be possessed by the spirit of some witch from the 1800's TRUFACT.

Barbabeau Mon 23-Sep-13 14:21:46

Our 1960s place did have forced air but the previous owner ripped it out. All the other houses around us had their systems ripped out as well.

I think a lot of the original forced air heating systems weren't that great. The technology has come on since then but they don't seem to put it in houses over here anymore.

I hate having radiators taking up space on the walls.

I love the modern house website. There's also modernist estates tumblr which focuses on flats.

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 14:28:31

Shhhh tedious- we don't want to put off the OP although all that ductwork did give me the creeps just a little bit

Quenelle Mon 23-Sep-13 14:33:08

Please everyone stop encouraging people to like 60s houses. Let them keep paying a premium for Victorian character so hopefully one day I will be able to afford a 60s house of my own.

Mefisto Mon 23-Sep-13 14:43:07

Apologies Quenelle you are right. Just that this thread has made me miss my old place even more <sniff>

DisappointedHorse Mon 23-Sep-13 16:19:00

I've just thought of another plus.

I get hardly any house spiders. 4 a year, tops.

frankie4 Mon 23-Sep-13 16:31:36

We have got a 1970s house that was completely unmodernised so we redid the whole house.

Took out the warm air heating and put in radiators where we wanted them. This also freed up a lot of cupboard space that had been used for the flues etc for the heating.

We replaced all the internal doors and blocked up the warm air hearing grills. Replaced all the carpets downstairs with wooden flooring and knocked through some of the rooms.

We had to buy some new, more modern furniture as out old house was 1920s and the furniture did not go with the new house. Now all decorated in white and oak, so really fresh and airy.

Sixtiesqueen Mon 23-Sep-13 19:47:45

We swapped a 1931 house for a 1961 house almost three years ago. I miss the architectural detail of the old house but we have stripped this one back To brick and replaced everything from the roof to the skirting boards. There is literally only the original brick of the original part of the house left.

I'm a fan of Edwardian houses so we replaced the skirting boards with much deeper (though plain) versions and also added plain coving to the ceilings. I had a cast iron fireplace in the last house so we added the same here but were careful to go for the plainest design possible and a white limestone surround. We've used farrow and ball paints and the overall effect is (IMO) tasteful and yet somehow in keeping with the plain design of the house.

We knocked out the original small kitchen and enlarged it to about 6 times its size, adding a pitched roof, velux windows and 5 metre bifold doors. This is now a living room/kitchen with a utility room and a playroom directly off it. Having a large garden to the rear and the side really allowed for this - the side of the house was about 7 metres from the boundary.

I don't miss the old sanded floorboards, they looked gorgeous but were cold in winter and let the spiders in. We now have amtico, which looks great.

I do like the big windows but they have been expensive to replace and to buy curtains for. Also, there isn't much wall space somehow so it's been impossible to find a home for all of our pictures.

We can get 6 cars on the drive, we are about 12 metres back from the pavement and the houses are wide apart. I do love this house, but I must admit I'd like to downsize it for an Edwardian house with a smaller garden when I'm older. The garden takes a lot of mowing!

Mandy21 Mon 23-Sep-13 21:25:28

We had a 60s house, 1969 I think. As everyone has said, beautifully light, massive windows, really square big rooms. Large plot size.

Cons : Ugly from the outside, maroon bathroom suite although it was huge (with double windows) when we knocked through between the bathroom and toilet. Formica kitchen, carpet in bathroom, kitchen etc and my main issue, electrics were hopeless, only one plug socket in each room!

We just modernised it to our taste - pretty contemporary but it was our home. Didn't really matter what era it was from, the space suited us. If I'd have been able to pick it up and move to our current location, I would have.

Lagoonablue Tue 24-Sep-13 09:08:57

Get lots of g plan furniture in. Keep it simple. I love that era, even the coloured bathroom suites and wacky tiles!

I don't think you have to be a slave to the decade of the house but some influence is good.

tb Tue 24-Sep-13 13:11:38

Our last house was a 70s one, and the main problem was with curtains for the windows. The house was built in 71, so before the first massive hike in oil prices, and all the windows were 8ft wide. So for curtains, this meant 5 widths of fabric, and it was absolutely impossible to buy ready-made curtains. Godd job I could make them, otherwise it would have cost a fortune.

Teapot74 Tue 24-Sep-13 21:01:45

We had a 70's house. We were looking for a knock down and rebuild. My heart used to sink when we drove up to it. After 2 years of living in it I loved it! They are roomy and bright and you get alot more bang for your buck than pretty period properties. The people who bought it from us are currently re facing it.

Awks Tue 24-Sep-13 21:11:25

We live in a 1972 detatched house perched on the top of a hill. The pros are many; the light, the airy rooms, it's easy to keep warm, the nice garden, massive garage and amazing sea views. Cons are no 2nd bathroom and elderly neighbours.

We have thought about moving many times but actually love our house and have decorated (removing 20 years of woodchip) in F & B neutrals and it looks lovely. My heart doesn't sink when I drive up to it, I think home - thanks god.

echt Tue 24-Sep-13 21:39:35

Why are elderly neighbours a con, Awks?

didireallysaythat Tue 24-Sep-13 21:49:13

I'd rather a 60-70s house than a 80-90s house. They usually have ok sized rooms and they didn't try and cram 50 of them onto a postage stamp.

Oblomov Tue 24-Sep-13 21:56:06

Huge rooms
Very light with loads of huge windows
Cool in summer, warm in winter.
Upstairs bathroom and also downstairs toilet.
Loads of cupboards and nooks and crannies.

But, boxlike and characterless.

serin Tue 24-Sep-13 22:42:19

We bought a 1969 detached 2 bed dormer bungalow.
Complete mess.
But with a gorgeous half an acre garden.
We got rid of the blown air heating that sounded like a hairdryer was blasting whenever we switched the heating on.
We put in a new kitchen and bathroom downstairs and then added another 2 bedrooms and a shower room upstairs.
Out of the all the work we had done though the most worth it was pitching the dormer so now the house looks like a Swiss chalet rather than a house with a caravan stuck on the roof.
One draw back is that the neighbours are elderly and DC's have no kids just popping round but the upside of this is that we are never disturbed by wild parties, it's very peaceful and actually we love our neighbours.

Sixtiesqueen Wed 25-Sep-13 14:16:07

We also have lots of elderly neighbours. On the whole this is a positive, though they are a little bit gossipy and the neighbour opposite mows his lawn at 8am on Sundays because I don't suppose he needs the lie in.

I wish there were more children for the kids to play with but then I wouldn't want noisy teenage parties or crying babies for hours on end either. I think we are quite respectful of the peace and quiet, I am always telling the kids to keep the noise down in the garden in the summer.

We have an extended 70's Dorma bungalow and I really like it.
We haven't started to change the decor yet, we have a bathroom to pull out and lots of pink to get rid of, no artex and no woodchip paper anywhere. But the kitchen was done, the windows are all double glazed and the central heating has a new combi boiler. So we can live with the pink a while longer.
The schools are excellent, the neighbors brilliant, and the location is the best I could have hoped for.

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