How to Add Quality to an ’80’s Builder Home

The 1980’s was a building period in which houses flew up and quantity and /or size was the focus instead of quality.  

Today, these homes are ready for substantial renovations since they are 35 +/- years old. This is a great opportunity to increase the quality of the home as well since the 80’s was known for inexpensive building materials.

Staircase:The staircase is a great place to make your mark and add quality. It’s relatively easy to redo all the balusters, handrails and newel posts and the return on investment is huge. Updating the materials and colors is a bang for your buck.

Kitchens & Baths:The kitchen and baths are typically pretty underwhelming. They could have used high-end appliances and plumbing fixtures for that time period, but they no longer are standard size today so be prepared to move around some some walls or cabinets to accommodate larger size fixtures of today. Check out this link to RBH to learn the in’s and outs of appliance shopping.

The bathtub is a conversation appropriate to have since in the 80’s they loved the jacuzzi tub and today we prefer a large walk-in shower. That does mean that a significant renovation is probably around the corner so make sure your budget matches your dreams. I prefer to have my clients wait until the can afford to do the entire project right instead of patching together the project.

In my Rocky Bay Home project, I discuss the challenges in fixtures and appliances at length.

Windows: Today’s building practices in high end homes is that we like a lot of glass and substantial trim.  A significant part of this project was new windows and doors with well thought out trim detail.

Garage Doors:Gone are the days of cheap and tacky garage doors. The new doors are insulated, substantial doors.

Roof Overhangs:For some reason they thought little to no roof overhangs were a good thing in the 80’s. It’s not“

Siding:I’m always a fan of real wood, either clapboards or shingles. It will always age naturally and stand the test of time.

Flooring & Tile:Most flooring from the 80’s was limited to 2-1/4” wood floors and square 4s4,8×8 or 12×12 tiles. I don’t mind these materials and to switch over is expensive, so I suggest leaving it if it’s in good condition but for the most part, we like wider wood planks and different formatted tile such as 12 x24 or smaller mosaics. While subway tiles have made a huge resurgence, part of the reason why is that it is classic and will stand the test of time.

If you are considering renovating an 80’s home and need some help, let me know. I’ve got a bit of experience with these lovely homes!

Check out my other blog and learn about Cabinetry and the In’s and Out’s of Appliance Shopping!


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