Homes built near the end of the last century had distinctive design features. Remember these?
Fake flooring. Octagonal windows. Hunter green and maroon wallpaper. Plastic drawer pulls and plasticky cabinets. Soaker tubs and carpet in the bathroom. Half-round windows with sunburst shutters set into sponge-painted walls.
Oh, yeah. The 1980s and 1990s were a glorious time for home decor.
Overall home structure suffered a bit in that time period, too, with split-levels dominating the scene and banks of free-hanging kitchen cabinets all the rage.
Whatcom County’s population has more than doubled since the 1980s — from 100,000 in 1980 to 170,000 in 2000 to 220,000 today — and all those people have to live somewhere. Whatcom County is full of ’80s and ’90s homes that, despite decent bones and potential, could use a little leap into the present.
Is yours one of those homes? Read on. Homes from the 1980s and ’90s can totally be fixed. Here’s how:
Improve the flow. While you may not be able to undo the split-level glory of your home, there’s a lot you can do to improve the overall feel of the house. Knocking out strategic walls can improve flow and open sightlines. Widening hallways, adding windows and adding lighter finishes can diminish the cave-like feeling of many older homes. This also can have the side benefit of enabling your home to be more livable in your later years.
Go tub-free. There must have been a point in the past when we felt we had all the time in the world to soak our cares away in our master-bath Jacuzzis. Even if we do have time to spare, most people are finding that it’s better enjoyed in a spacious shower than in a black — or pink, or beige — bathtub. Swapping the old soaker tub for a relaxing shower not only makes it more fun to get clean, but it also does wonders for the visual feel of a bathroom.
Update trim. Homes built toward the end of last century weren’t big on trim. Bull-nosed drywall was a common way to trim out windows, and when trim was used, it was thin and unassuming. On one recent job, we updated some of the trim to a wider craftsman/modern style. The change was such an improvement that we were able to retain the slightly dated slab doors and butternut color window linings, saving the client some money. Instead of fighting the trim color, we embraced it and used an updated profile that made a big impact.
Update the kitchen cabinets. Taking out the awkward hanging bank of cabinets and/or bar counter and opening up passage to the living/dining room is one quick way to make a massive improvement to an older kitchen. We did that on one recent home, and the results are astounding. If you’re not ready to go that far, though, simply updating the style of your cabinets or even painting them can make a difference.
Homes built in the 1980s and 1990s have a ton of potential! Updating them just takes an eye for the needs of you and your family and the look of the home you want to live in.
Need help with any of these projects? Hudson Remodeling has been sprucing up Whatcom County homes for years, and we know the ins and outs of both whole-house remodels and selective improvements to turn 1980s and 1990s homes into timeless treasures.