There’s a new trend that is paying homage to homes and styles of the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Homeowners are rediscovering the architectural charms and styling of this era, and instead of eradicating existing structures and styling there’s a growing population interested in resurrecting the post-modern flair inherent in these homes.
In America 20 million new homes were built during the baby boom years of 1945-1960 and most of them in the suburbs. The predominant styles of homes built during this period were, the ranch style, the Colonial and Cape styles, and this is also when split levels came into vogue. Homes of this era were typically 1,100-1,700 sq feet and while this may be on the smaller side by today’s standards, they are eco-spirited with their compact footprints that take less fuels to heat, fewer chemicals to clean and less material to renovate.
Really the time is now for homes built in these eras. They’ve become the more affordable houses on the market, and are often filled with hidden treasures- architectural elements that can be highlighted, original wood flooring that can be re-surfaced, or original appliances that can be re-furbished and set as the center pieces to your retro renos.
The great thing about the retro-reno is that you can still do practical modern upgrades that’ll improve the functionality of your home, while paying attention to stylistic details and upgrades that’ll add that retro spark. More modern features that can be attended to include energy-saving features like soffits, solar energy systems, heat pumps and continuous flow hot water systems.
Because there’s such a boom in interest in these sorts of renos, there’s actually a lot on the market in terms of retro influenced design elements to help you re-create the original spirit of your home. Of course, you can also search for original retro pieces in good working condition to add even more original flair to your design. Although this process may not prove as speedy as a “modern” renovation, the hunt is part of the fun and the satisfaction in such a reno, and you can work slowly to put it all together.
If you’re racking your brain, wondering where to source out your retro reno materials, check out some of these ideas:
-Your local thrift, Goodwill, Salvation Army and estate sales.
-Local salvage yards, flea markets and swap meets
Another great resource that has sprung up is a new weblog retrorenovation.com. Here you’ll find daily updates on retro styling tips for your kitchens and bathrooms, great sources for retro inspired wallpaper, countertop materials, flooring, lighting and furniture, as well as cultural inspiration from books, exhibits and advertising.
If you’re a buyer scouting out the perfect mid century home to retro reno, you’ll ideally want to find a place that has good indoor-outdoor flow. Preferably you’ll want flexible living spaces that’ll give you the option of opening them up into larger spaces, or shutting them down into smaller spaces. If you can, find a place that has consistent interior detailing including doors, skirting boards, architraves, moldings and ceilings. These are all gems that can help you bring the retro character of your home to life.