3/22/11

The Vintage Home #12

1974

By far, my worst type of home is the 2000's cookie cutter McMansion with its "open floor plans".  God I hate being in the dining room and being able to wave to someone across the kitchen to the living room.  There's no privacy.  Worst of all, everything is the same; eventually the featureless drywall and the stark uniformity would drive me crazy. No thanks.

I live in a house that's over a hundred years old and I love its character and layout.  It's near downtown and in a centuries old neighborhood with lots of big trees.... far, far from those gated communities with rustic names like "Deer Creek", "Willow Brook" and "River Chase".  What is this, the fucking Shire?

I guess what it all boils down to is "character", of which the McMansions have none.  Every one I've ever been in (which is many) all have the same criteria without exception:

  • granite counter tops
  • stainless steel appliances
  • a garden tub with a separate shower
  • hardwood floors
  • open floor plan
  • large master bedroom
  • a walk in closet the size of a bedroom
  • vaulted ceilings
  • gourmet kitchen with island
  • double sink in the master bath

And this is what ultimately attracts me to the 70s home.  Both the decor and the layout of these homes had flair.  Say what you want about their sense of style back then, but you have to admit they were at least interesting.  Even old ranch houses could have pizzazz back in the seventies.

So let's take a look at some homes from the days before garden tubs and granite counter tops, shall we?

1974

The color brown certainly got a lot of attention in the seventies.  I dig the cool fireplace and that massive lamp.

1974

I don't mind monochrome minimalism when it's groovy like this.

1974

I love big ass couches.  This is no McMansion, this pure seventies fab.  A perfect place for the tots to play and dad to brood.

1974

In case you didn't know, ferns were ubiquitous in the seventies.  Possibly the hardest houseplant to keep alive, the fern found its way into homes throughout the decade.... often hanging from handmade macramé.

1974

Hell, yeah.  This has got the Moonbase Alpha vibe down pat.  I can promise you this home isn't located in Shady Glen or Morningwood Estates.

1974

The furniture isn't exactly comfortable looking, but for some reason I'm diggin' it.

1974

Books were a lot more common as a part of a living room's decor back then.  I'm often amazed at homes which don't seem to have a single bookshelf.

1974

Ye gods! Where's the bigass flat screen?

1971

Ahhhh.  There's something about a sunken living room.  Of course, I could live without the gargantuan alien viruses floating overhead.

1971

Cheese and rice! WTF? It's a lamp, but it's also a monstrous plant phallus from Pink Floyd's The Wall.

1971

What this room says to me: "Come. Eat some fondue. Smoke some grass. Relax."

1971

I guess that's a sitar by the massive stockpile of dilithium crystals?

1971

Now this is one kick ass Monday Friday den.  The orange toadstool ashtray certainly stands out. This is back before smoking was a crime against humanity.



Can you imagine heating and cooling this open space? If you look close you can almost see the dollar bills being sucked into oblivion.

1971

Nice.  But it almost seems like there needs to be microphone hanging from the ceiling.  I'd always be wondering when Merv Griffin was going to pop in.

23 comments:

  1. Isn't that the horse from the Brady Bunch in the roomwith the toadstool ashtray?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great Scott! I can't believe I didn't notice that. It is indeed. Great catch, anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  3. These are all just freaking sexy and I am 100% with you on the suburban tract houses of the past 30 years. I miss the split levels in the 70s that my friends lived in. I lived in a big old 250-year-old mansion, but I preferred their homes. They had 3 and sometimes 4 levels and always a basement that some kid turned into a bedroom--lucky bastard. I too am not cool with the smell of cooking wafting into the living room while watching TV. I also really loved the colors of the 70s--earth tones. They'll always be my favorites, but that could be because I'm a redhead. Hee hee

    ReplyDelete
  4. WOW ~ Super Cool ~ I remember those days back in the late 60's & early 70's mid 70's very well as a kid, every home was Shag Carpeting, cool couches, at least where I lived in middle class Suburbia, in Kansas City,, I finally bought my 1st home here in 2000 - built in 1963 - all brick, and low ceilings and not in some Ridlicious overblown stupid outta this world Subdivision, and my home don't look like 5 of the other neighbors houses either. Yip, the late 60's & 70's were a time to remember - I still have an Original pair of 1977 Levi Big Bell Bell bottoms too, and I still fit in them to this day,,, I'm tall,, and slender - size of those Bell bottom levi's - 29w 36long - imagine that, and I still fit in them - even more amazing !!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am diggin' that first pic. I love the built-in reel to reel tape deck. I wonder how many "nooners" were pulled in the this room with a little Barry White in the background. It looks like one is getting ready to happen right now!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I hate the vaulted ceilings in these new homes! Not only does all your heat rise to the spot where no one is living, they also put a window and a hanging lamp at the top where you need a helicopter to clean them. And even if you have walls between rooms, they usually put in some oddly shaped hole in it so you can see into the room anyway. The architects today are nuts!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am bollixed by the dilithium crystals room. Let's see, we have a huge hanging crystal monstrosity, a 17th century Flemish painting, an adobe fireplace, a sitar, a synthetic Wampa fur rug and seating that looks like it belongs in a bus station. Fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I would move into any one of these houses in a heartbeat. And that first picture... that's not just a house, that's a "pad".

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love all of these rooms! Even though I live in a non-descript row home in the city, I do my best to make it a groovy pad. When I was a kid, I remember ferns being the houseplant of choice....just about everyone I knew had one hanging in their home...them and spider plants!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kewl! I particularly like the painting of the woman's pantie-clad bottom in the first room. That piece of art and the mattress-sized sofa leave little doubt as to that room's purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What WAS with the color scheme back then.
    Every apartment I remember was Navajo White with with Avocado green rugs. Was this a rebellion to the colors of the 60s?

    I wonder what all these houses look like today.

    ReplyDelete
  12. wow that looks like something out of boogie nights lol. Orange and black everywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I mentioned the lack of TVs in my series of interiors: http://www.retrohound.com/tag/interiors/.

    Just yesterday (the reason I'm late to this post) we tore the carpet out of the living room and realized we have 3 bookshelves just in the living room of our 1964 Ranch. You realize things like this when you have to unload 3 bookshelves. We have two others also. My wife will be weeding as she puts them back.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I made a comment and now it's gone! I said something about the lack of TV's in my series on 1970s interiors. http://www.retrohound.com/tag/interiors/

    ReplyDelete
  15. That's not an orange mushroom ashtray, it's a lamp. My neighbour had an identical one in 1976. Ultimate cool.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I agree about the McMansions. A whole neighborhood of nearly identical houses all built within three months of each other. Its pathetic.

    I could have had one of those, but about a year and a half ago my girlfriend and I settled on a cool pad from 1964. Technically its "ranch" but the similarity to other 60 houses stops there. More glass than what you normally get in 5 houses, a huge sun room, etc. There is no TV in the living room, just vintage 1970s stereo equipment from Marantz and Pioneer in wood cabinets.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That mushroom thing is an ashtray?! Wow...its cool looking! I also like that couch/bed thing in the very first picture. I want one! The house I live in was built in 78...We haven't had the $$ to remodel so the orange shag, harvest gold kitchen (and bathroom) and wood panelled living room is still here....

    ReplyDelete
  18. The orange mushroom, as you call it, IS NOT an ashtray. It's the "Nesso" table lamp designed in 1967 by Giancarlo Mattioli (a member of the Gruppo Architetti Urbanisti Citta' Nuova).

    ReplyDelete
  19. AnonymousMay 04, 2011

    Speaking of Moonbase Alpha, have you stumbled across this:
    http://www.space1999.net/~sorellarium13/housepictures.htm

    Gotta admire someone *that* dedicated!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I fondly remember tagging along while my father cleaned carpet in the late 80's and I got to see inside alot of 60's and 70's styled homes. You would be surprised at how much of all this kind of stuff still existed even then, though not of the above magnitude. I can only hope to one day live in a home with such flair still intact. Im 26 and I hope real individuality will return on a larger scale. I am all about the big couches and the barry white.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm Italian and so I apologize for my bad English.
    It 'was a beautiful gift for me to find this blog by accident:
    I love all of the 70, from furniture to clothing when a "magic air " was in the air.
    I've lived them, and I speak from experience.
    In every period of world history there have always been some downsides, but that's another subject.
    I am fond of modern art -'70s and something '60s- and for that I often buy pieces of that period.
    That's why this blog is very useful to me.
    Thank you!
    Amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  22. In THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE, Betty Friedan was concerned about the first inroads of "open concept" homes in the 1950's and 60's. Her concerns including their making house cleaning more of an ongoing thing--you couldn't hide a messy room by closing a door--and lack of privacy/personal time for the wife and mother, even in the kitchen. Today, it's more like you can't be a good helicopter parent if the kids can be out of your sight lines--and how can you even enjoy your own get-together, if you can't see the game on the big-screen while nuking another batch of Cheez-Whiz based "queso" dip for the tortilla chips?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have "The House Book" some of these pictures came from. I love looking at it!

    ReplyDelete