Chipping Away at the 80s: 1980s Before and After Home Exterior
October 11, 2018
When we were searching for a house in our young'in days in the San Francisco Bay Area, there wasn't a lot we could afford. On top of that, we were in a time crunch and our son was less than a year old. If you know anything about Bay Area housing, you'd know that it's one of the most expensive places to live in the country. When our realtor told us that she wanted us to keep an open mind and take a look at this 1980s tract home, we were undoubtedly skeptical. But after looking at so many houses, we were tired and discouraged, so we went.
The cons? It was straight up 1980s tract home with popcorn ceilings, wall to wall carpet, 80s kitchen and lighting, and typical tract home exterior. The pros? Well, the house was in good shape, we liked the size, the open floor plan, tons of light, and it wasn't in a shady neighborhood. The other pro? It was in our price range and move-in ready.
Over the years, we worked on the backyard, the lighting, and flooring. Now a decade later, we decided we could tackle the exterior. New windows, new paint, and a new porch. The most difficult thing for me, was finding design tips or any before/afters for 1980s tract homes. There aren't a lot of resources out there, yet SO MANY PEOPLE live in these tract home neighborhoods. Also, what could we do on a reasonable budget?
The before wasn't that terrible. It just wasn't us. I also couldn't get over all the lines on the house, and nicknamed it the "plaid" house We knew we couldn't go too modern with the architecture of the house, so we went for that modern farmhouse look. Something that's old school with a new hairdo and outfit.
Here's what we did:
New windows: We stayed with the black frame and went for the retrofit windows since it was cheaper so that we could splurge on fiberglass windows. We also go rid of the grids.
Front Porch: My husband took out the large tree that was next to the house (why did they plant that there?), and extended the porch with a wood. He added a railing with horizontal wood panels.
Paint: We painted the entire house white with a gray trim only on the roofline. Many 80s homes have an abundant amount of decorative trim. WHY? WHY. We did the gray trim on the roofline to detract from the weird roof shingles that fold over. (Benjamin Moore White Dove.)
Window Shelf: There was a white window shelf by the front windows. We decided to take down the shelf since there was dry rot, and replace it with steel brackets and a wood stained shelf.
Fixtures: We added three new light fixtures, new house numbers (which I blurred out, sorry!), and garage door hardware.
Front Door: Now here's the kicker. We live in a neighborhood run by an HOA. They don't like our door, nor do they like any bright colors, so we might have to repaint it. In the meantime, we were in a pinch, so we painted it a dark aubergine (Benjamin Moore, Dark Basalt).
During this process, it did make me think a lot about how so many people live in these homes, and have so little resource in how to update the exterior. And for the bay area, call us old school, but we can't justify pulling the trigger on a million dollar home that most likely will have only one bathroom. (Look, we need at least two bathrooms for that price.) I'd love to see more and more bloggers and designers tackle homes like these because knowing me, I'll want update it again in the next decade. haha.
At any rate, we are happy with the progress and will be tackling the landscaping next. For now, we're taking a break.