1970s Home Remodel Before and After

Are you planning on a home remodel and not sure where to start? If you’re on a budget like me, here’s how we updated our house built in the 1970s after an unexpected accident. This post may contain affiliate links at no extra cost to you. See full disclosure here.

renovating a house built in 1970s

I know this post is so overdue, but it’s taken years to get our home remodel completed. And it’s still not 100% done.

I know social media makes it seem like people do extreme overhauls overnight, but ours is a completely different story. Looking back, I don’t know what took us so long, but I’m glad we finally followed through.


To be honest, our remodel happened due to an unforeseen incident. In 2018, while I was at work, my mother-in-law called me (she was living with us at the time) to tell me our toilet upstairs was leaking water. The hose broke and flooded our bathroom causing water to leak into the first story.

The water leaked to the kitchen directly below. It was horrible! Josh and I work hard, but in no way do we have the kind of cash on hand to just completely overhaul our home at a moment’s notice.

Luckily for us, our insurance did cover the new walls and ceiling. Both sustained heavy damage, the ceiling fell (from the soaked sheetrock) and it had to be replaced.

A little more back story, our home was built in the 70s and it was ugly AF when we moved in. But it was also priced super low. Being newlyweds, we jumped at the chance to purchase our first home.

We lived in the home for 2 years before starting a family.

I still cannot understand WHY we didn’t do anything to update it before having kids. I mean, the ugly green paint on the walls was still there years later.

Geez, you’d think I would’ve spent a couple of hundred dollars to get the walls painted, but no. Kind of happens pre-IG when you’re just enjoying your first home with your husband sans kids not worried about how it looks on social — we were having a great time!

Our home was purchased in 2012, back when I was deep into Pinterest and that shabby chic type of design was all the rage. Also, the color schemes were much different — more taupes, browns, and beiges.

One thing I didn’t consider is that the house doesn’t get much sunlight, so painting the walls a dark color failed to liven up the house. I called it the dungeon.

Now, my style aesthetic is very much light, bright, and airy. I love a mix of natural elements and modern design.

I was so happy to finally get new flooring. Because we had two kids and 3 dogs, we decided against hardwood and went with tile that looked like wood planks — much better for maintaining.

One thing I did notice while choosing materials is that I have some expensive tastes. I had to give a little but was able to make the budget work.


I also wanted to make our kitchen a little more open. There was this overhang above the stovetop that was so annoying. It held our microwave so we had to come up with an alternate solution.

I did not want a microwave on the countertop so we purchased this wall oven with a built-in microwave to replace the double ovens that came with the house.

The opening was much larger than the new appliance so Josh put a small TV above it to close it off.

The most expensive part of the kitchen remodel had to be the marble countertops. We extended the peninsula a couple of inches. We wanted this to be a place where the girls could eat their breakfast so we needed a little extra counter space.

Josh also fell in love with a waterfall island at the showroom, and it was probably the most important to him. Of course, this meant we had to buy more marble. We used White Carrera marble in 3 cm which means it’s a bit thicker than traditional 2 cm counters. But it does bring the house into the 21st century.

Kitchen Countertops and Backsplash

Along with new countertops came the new backsplash. We decided on this Elida Ceramica White Marble Arabesque shape. I’ll be honest, I’m not too fond of it now, but it beats whatever the previous owners had in place.

We then had to paint the cabinets because we had painted them a burgundy-brown color (remember this was in the 2010s) and it clashed.

But instead of paying a ton of money for new cabinets, Josh decided to paint them himself (again). This was so tedious and not fun at all.

But they came out great and brightened up the kitchen. We also changed out the hardware with these sleek, matte black pulls.

We installed a new sink and faucet to go with the new countertops and pulls. I’m most happy with the open concept because the previous overhang was closing off the kitchen.

Now it’s bright and airy and I love that I can see what’s happening in the living room.


Who even needs a formal living room nowadays? I guess it was a ‘thing’ back in the day, but this room didn’t get much play.

However, because it’s one of the first rooms you see when you enter my home, I wanted to give it some love.

Nothing a good coat of neutral, white paint can’t fix. It completely transformed this room from a cave to my little haven. It has quickly become one of my favorite rooms.

We were also able to rip up the old taupe, shag carpet in this area and replace it with wood-like tile.


The last space to be remodeled downstairs was the guest restroom. It wasn’t in the original budget so it was completed a couple of years later. The biggest expense was replacing the outdated counter.

It looked so off because about 90% of the first story was complete and updated, but the restroom was not. We purchased a 2cm Cambria Quartz slab in the color Nadenbrook for the vanity.

Just like the living room before, I painted the restroom a brownish-taupe color. But it was just not the vibe I wanted now. I’ve been crushing so hard on textured wallpaper lately. The room was small so I thought I’d give it a go with the peel-and-stick kind.

Josh didn’t trust me and I’m so glad he took over.

He’s more of a perfectionist and he took his time making sure everything was lined upright. Because the house is so old, it’s not exactly level. So trying to stick the wallpaper straight was a huge hassle.

He literally would do one panel a night after work because his patience was running thin. But he did an amazing job — happy wife, happy life.

To finish off, we also painted the whole downstairs a blue-grey shade which lightens the room while adding a bit of color. We also have a second living room which was so dark due to the previous pain. So I painted the wall white to tie it to the rest of the house. It’s probably one of my favorite rooms.

Now, I’m in the process of finishing the rest of the house. One of the projects I have and hope to complete this year is changing out the carpets upstairs. We need a coat of fresh paint in my bedroom – we haven’t touched it since we moved in.

I am also trying to work on a closet makeover! I’d love to use every inch of the tiny closet I have because I feel like there’s so much wasted space. If you have any recommendations in the Houston area, I’d love to know.


Hi there! So happy you're here. My name is Maria -- content creator, blogger, wife, mother of 2 and lover of all things fashion, beauty, and home. Take a look around...I think you'll like it here.

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