Injecting older homes with a whole lot of style Part 3
Updating a home from the 70s, 80s or 90s might not sound as romantic as stripping back a little post-war weatherboard charmer, but there are lots of advantages, not the least of which is cost.
These homes offer excellent value for money. They’re less likely to need the big jobs like re-wiring or re-stumping and with their more modern open floor plans, simple, cosmetic upgrades can achieve big results.
For this story we’re lucky enough to be able to show you more of the transformation of a 1970s Castlemaine home purchased from Waller Realty in 2015. The house was in pretty bad shape when the owners bought it but as you can see, what they’ve been able to achieve is pretty spectacular.
Ask the experts
In the first two parts of this story we looked at using landscaping to modernise and soften exteriors, opening up the floor plan and using simple materials like paint to bring in more light and things to consider when it comes to the electrics. This time, Lynne Mewett, Interior Designer and Principal at Creative Ambience shares her ideas.
“Homes from these eras don’t generally have any task lighting,” says Lynne. “This is a real focus in modern homes so it’s a great place to start, especially in the kitchen.”
Ambient or general lighting provides overall illumination while task lighting, as the name suggests, helps you perform specific tasks like cooking and food preparation, reading, working, etc.
“Adding recessed, pendant or under cabinet lighting over work surfaces can provide an instant lift,” says Lynne
Task lighting has been used to great effect in the Castlemaine home. Work surfaces are suddenly brighter and more inviting to use, even with the addition of extra overhead cupboards.
Speaking of cupboards, Lynne suggests keeping a kitchen intact, if the carcass is good, and updating by painting or replacing door and drawer fronts, changing splashbacks from tile to glass and adding new bench tops.
“Updating a dark, laminate bench top to a light stone will not only provide a beautiful work surface it will also bring in more light, especially if you add glass splash back and task lighting,” she says.
The owners at Castlemaine have gone for a combination of approaches, replacing door fronts, adding some new cabinetry, changing tiles and giving everything a fresh coat of paint. What a difference!
Changing window furnishings is another trick Lynne relies on to make a big difference without a big price tag.
“The tendency in these eras was to have drapes, which, while fabulous insulators, add volume and can make a room appear smaller,” she says. “These days most people prefer blinds or shutters.”
What’s needed depends on the room. You want as much light as possible in living areas, while for bedrooms and bathrooms privacy is the top priority. Thankfully, there are blinds to suit pretty much any specification.
Holland or Roller blinds are both space and cost effective. The images below show the difference replacing drapes with these blinds can make.
“The great thing about these houses is that most of them have good bones,” says Lynne. “They’re open plan, they have things like alfresco areas and ensuites and these are exactly what people want in a modern home today.”
We agree Lynne! So, don’t be daunted by first appearances. See beyond the dated fittings and daggy finishes and visualise these homes as they could be. With a little ingenuity and some hard work you might just uncover the home of your dreams.
Take a look at our current listings and see if you can find one for yourself.
Follow up with Part 1 and Part 2 of this story here.