Buying A 1950s To 1970s House

Are you lucky enough to own a 1950s, 60s or 70s house? Packed with American-inspired technology and groovy, open-plan styling, it will look all the better if it is restored and maintained with some thought for its original features and colour schemes. So, what is the style? By Sacha Markin

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What's The Style?

The 1950s and 1960s were probably the most controversial building periods.

The high-density nature of the developments - particularly high rise - used less land, bringing economic and environmental advantages.

If yours is an original 1950s-70s house, it's likely that much of the original interior will have been updated, ripped out or added to by enthusiastic, late 20th century homeowners. But while the interior and exterior are not famed for their beauty of detail, their enviable open-plan layouts are still high on most homeowners' lists.

Why Do These Houses Look Like They Do?

The new homes that replaced the slums and bomb sites in more urban locations, were largely inspired by European architecture and design, particularly that of le Corbusier (who believed the home should be a machine for living), and the Bauhaus movement. They were taller, more linear, and of higher density. Some were also partially pre-fabricated - with concrete walls constructed off-site, and then lifted and bolted into position. It was the first time that open-plan living layouts had been seen in the UK, and it was during this decade that DIY became a popular pastime for many.

Public response to the 'boxy', European-style housing was decidedly mixed and the reputation of both off-site fabrication and high-rise living was further compromised with a series of high profile collapses like that of the Ronan Point tower in Newhall in 1968.

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