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What Houses Used to Look Like 50 Years Ago

Take a peek at what homes used to look like five decades ago. Things are a tad different these days.

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Attic Conversion

This attic conversion project created an open floor plan to maximize the available space and cut down on costs by eliminating any construction of walls. We called it the groovy attic pad back then to give Bob Lewis’ teenage sons a spot they might’ve thought was far out. Notice there’s no molding, just a simple base and clean, modern lines. See what pendant lighting can do to create lines.

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Attic Pad

The attic pad had a dormer, along with six recessed ceiling lights. We can only imagine how long it took before bean bag chairs and lava lamps moved in. Bean bag chairs did make our list of things you should throw out by the time you’re 30.

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Put a Wasted Alcove to Work

That’s what we urged readers to do in 1969 by constructing this handy storage system. We used perforated door filler material for the doors that have a pattern that could only come from the ’60s. We’ve got a ton of ideas on how to find storage space, especially in the garage.

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Adventure-Filled Den/Bedroom Combo

From the compass rose-design tile to the conquistador on the wall, this room is an adventure in decorating. The pillowcases feature toile patterns in this den/bedroom combo project we developed. You add these black and white bedroom ideas to your idea list, too.

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Overhead Garage Door

Old houses across the country started upgrading their old garage doors in the ’60s, moving from the previous swinging garage door to an overhead garage door. The swinging garage door came from the days where houses used to have stables for horses. The overhead garage door offered more innovations. It would later usher in the period of garage door openers. Now you can even retrofit your garage door opener with Wi-Fi.

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Built-In Desk and Storage

Inflatable furniture became en vogue in the ’60s but Family Handyman didn’t jump on that trend. Instead we showed how to create a built-in desk and a bench to use for storage as well as study. We paraphrased Frank Lloyd Wright in this story, saying he often felt built-ins were hard to beat for efficient, space usage, convenience and beauty. Take a look at these incredibly innovative built-in storage spaces, too.

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Easy Built-In Fireplace

We disguised this fireplace and actually used an insulated, pre-fabricated fireplace. We just gave it a look like it was a brick fireplace. Metal stamped in a simulated brick design outlined the pre-fab fireplace to further the illusion. Take a second to see what this reader project did to revamp an old fireplace.

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When Family Handyman trotted out this basic chevron design in 1969, we wrote about patterns that emerged in 1969. At the time, zebra, leopard, tiger crocodile and snakeskin patterns started to emerge. Along with those came optical illusions, simulated collages and this pattern, which created a feeling of depth. Chevron still works in different ways around the house. See how people have used it with their floors.

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Mix and match patterns, which some are saying will make a comeback in fashion. There’s a strawberry pattern on the floor as well, which we don’t think will make a comeback. While you’re at it, check out how we decided wallpapering the door was a good look. If you’ve got wallpaper in your house and don’t like it, don’t worry, we show you the best way to remove wallpaper.

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Avocado Green

Kohler and many other companies added Avocado green to their fixtures and in this 1969 issue of Family Handyman shows a lighter Avocado green, along with harvest gold. We just didn’t include it with the appliances like so many others did. Find out which trends from the ’60s are making a comeback.

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Color exploded in the late ’60s as the country moved from the conformity of the ’50s to the revolutionary ’60s. If you’ve got any of these 12 things in your home, it’s making look dated and we can fix it.