B*W: Architectural Design & Style #1

I think I know what type of house I’d like to live in these days. Something like this one, up the road from my own:


1970s Dublin house

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped the car by this house and took a snap. “That’s the one!” I gasped.

1970s house dublin railings

I even like the 1970s railings!

I’ve been enjoying having a go at designing two of the houses featured in the strip so far. The first that I attempted was Jim’s bungalow in the strip < PREMATH with the number ’77’ beside the front door. I really enjoyed that one, putting in everything that I liked. However, I didn’t really think very much – or at all – about the house as a whole.

Jim's seventies house and crazy paving

Jim’s seventies house and crazy paving

Jim’s cool 70s bungalow. I particularly enjoyed the crazy-paving and the 77 by the front door, and the fancy concrete block wall. No, actually, I enjoyed all of it.

Jim's 1970s front door and 77 number

I wonder what that number 77 is all about?

Jim's seventies house and crazy paving 2

Wooden facing, a seventies architectural element that I particularly like

That house turned out nicely actually. I drew it on paper in pen but once it got into Photoshop I had to erase and redraw lots of the straight lines with the ‘line’ tool. Sometimes I wish my style was just consistently loose and rough, it’d be quicker and easier!

But as I said, I wasn’t thinking of the house as a whole. Honestly, I need to buckle-down and start designing the houses properly, inside and out so they make sense to me and you readers. Here’s the exterior of Jack’s house, which I introduced in the < AFTERMATH strip.

Jack's 1970s house and Ford Capri at night

Jack’s 1970s house and dad’s Ford Capri at night

Jack's seventies house' front porch

Jack’s seventies house’ front porch

Jack’s is partly based on the house I lived in, in Ashgrove estate, Scone, Scotland up until mid-1977 – when we moved to Ireland. My version has the same garage and the downstairs front-bedroom, on the left but not the little pieces of green glass in the pebble-dashing – yet. I did use those on Jim’s house though (above). I’ve expanded on it in this second, most recent version in the < CONFLICTED strip:

Jack's seventies house at sunset

Seeing the 70s through yellow-tinted spectacles. Jack’s house at sunset

Jack’s house is still a bit of a rushed, cobbled-together job. The gable-end windows for the master bedroom are excessive and too big, and I need to figure out where the chimney goes. What I’d like to add is some more railings around the top of the front porch awning (?) as was common back then, like these shots I snapped recently on my travels:

1960s or 1970s railings

Railings near Dundrum, Dublin. Sometimes it’s tricky to determine if it’s really 70s – or late 60s! I like the way they lean out like an airport control-tower’s windows.

1970s railings

70s – or 60s railings around the catholic church in Blackrock, Dublin


70s – or 60s? Plasticky or woody?

Sometimes it’s hard to tell if certain stylings are 60s or 70s. The later seventies is more woody, getting back to nature, crafty looking. With lots of crappy knotted pine and wood-turned furniture; and sunset and harvest yellows and light avocado greens, Brown featured heavily! The earlier 70s is more plastic and sci-fi looking, like a hangover from the 60s when they wanted to banish even further the dullness of the old-fashioned – and rationed – war years. My sister, Candace also thinks the move to natural materials in the late 70s might have been to do with the oil crises of the time. Less oil = less plastics. But let’s not forget BBC’s brilliant and still much-loved series, ‘The Good Life’!

I’ll talk more about this and ’70s interior design in another Blog post.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Candace White

    Those houses were so fun! Imagine how glamorous they were when they were new in the ’70s. They weren’t afraid to be trendy then. I never thought about the railings like control tower windows / guardings before.


    • John I. White

      Yes! All the old-fashioned stylings were being eliminated in the 60s and early 70s. Quite refreshing. But some of that happened in the 50s too. Dad remembers sawing off the wooden knobs from the stairs in Liverpool, and covering up the turned-wood on the staircase with panels of plywood. He said, “people were just sick of all that old stuff.”


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