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This 1977 time capsule house may spark a new love affair with 1970s interior design — 37 photos

1977 decorator houseAugust 2015 — Interior design of the 1970s still gets such a bad rap. And what a shame. Because design from any era, done well — is design done well. Case in point: This 1977 time capsule home in Lebanon, Pennsylvania — a veritable showcase of lovely, livable design from the era. It’s like a real-life Traditional Home magazine cover story from 40 years ago. 

Oh — and 37 photos! Many thanks to Annie of Annie M Designs — not only did she photograph the home, but also she recommended the homeowners contact us for this story. Her photographs of this 1960 time capsule house appeared here in 2013. She remembered us, and knew we’d love this house, too.

1977 decorator houseFrom the property listing:

  • Price: $280,000
  • Year built: 1977
  • Bedrooms: 4
  • Bathrooms: 3 (2 Full, 1 Half)
  • Square footage: 3,048 Sq. Ft.

Custom spacious home w/quality & character. 1st floor MBR w/en-suite bath, office on 1st floor. See through FP from dining to FR. Abundant closet space, eat-in kitchen w/island & pantry. Replaced windows during ownership, professionally installed water proof system.

1977 decorator houseFrom the moment you walk inside this impeccably decorated and maintained home, you just know you are in for a visual treat.

1977 decorator houseThe main living space, made up of the living room, dining room and an office area is beautifully layered — interesting yet restful. From every angle, there are new textures, colors and patterns to explore, yet none of them are an assault on the senses. 

1977 decorator houseYou can tell that a professional decorator was consulted for this space. While every piece of furniture and decor has its own unique look, they all blend together seamlessly and create one gorgeous, lavish and lovely room.

1977 decorator houseTake the dining room, for example: If you stand along the back wall and look towards the living room, you get a sense of warmth and comfort. The warm wood tones of the table, hutch and buffet … matched with soft greens of the (crushed velvet?) sofas … which are paired across the color wheel with rust-meets-coral colored carpet and chair upholstery — together all make the room feel cozy.

1977 decorator houseThen, when you look towards the back wall of the dining area, you’ll see a more serene white paneled wall and fireplace, bright light pouring in through the windows, soft window treatments and light colored wallpaper and side chairs. This “calmer angle” to the room ensures that the rich decor is not too overpowering and allows the viewer’s eye to rest, bringing a breath of fresh air into the space. Brilliantly designed decor, don’t you think?

1977 decorator houseEach room in the house has at least one special design element that is out of the ordinary. In the den, the curved brick fireplace creates a nice focal point, while a ceiling fan with clear blades allows the exposed ceiling beams to play an uninterrupted supporting role. And of course, we are totally digging the panelled walls, the lime-washed bricks and those beams. Even the stained glass Coca Cola pendant light — the perfect note of whimsy.

1977 decorator houseThe kitchen has many hallmarks of 1970s style — butcher block laminate countertops with hudee ring cutting boards, dark wood cabinets and of course, more wallpaper.

1977 decorator house 1977 decorator house 1977 decorator houseThis kitchen has a country feel, thanks mostly to the plaid wallpaper and the hanging basket gallery wall. We would not change a thing!

1977 decorator houseThe master bedroom has a bit of a French Provincial feel. Oh my: the upholstered headboard, the patterned wall-to-wall carpet, the window valance and of course those built-ins. 

1977 decorator houseThese built-ins are amazing. 

1977 decorator houseFor a cohesive look, the wallpaper has been carried into the master bathroom, which has coordinating white tiles with light blue speckles.

1977 decorator houseLook at the way the designer handled the wallpaper in this bedroom by creating wallpaper insets — very neat!

ethan-allen-custom-room-planLookie all the Ethan Allen Custom Room Plan furniture!

1977 decorator houseAnd of course, insane-for-wallpaper Pam adores this bathroom.

1977 decorator houseLet’s tally up the fabulousness: two coordinating vintage wallpaper designs including a wallpapered ceiling, coordinating fixtures, patterned floor, matching towels and draperies, wallpaper on the vanity doors and drawers. And the color: Our 2013 color of the year Broyhill Premier Chapter One Rich Lime Green. Love love love it all!

1977 decorator houseFinally, who wouldn’t want to spend their entire summer on this screened porch, lounging on this gorgeous vintage patio furniture? Even the cushions on the patio bench have been carefully decorated with coordinating alternated floral and stripe prints. Fantastic!

And we’re not done yet. The actual tipster on this house was Megan, who grew up in the house. She shares:

Thanks so much, Pam and Kate — I love it so much but it’s because of the nostalgia! It was great growing up in the house — adults downstairs, kids upstairs. The master bedroom is on the first floor, and we had an extra TV room upstairs where we spent all our time when we weren’t outside. There is even a crazy, long crawl space where we used to hide. The cedar closet was a great (and weird) place to hang out too. The upstairs bathroom! –straight out of the 70’s. The house has amazing bones — they’re just not built like this anymore. Honestly, though, the best part was/is the neighborhood  but I know that doesn’t have anything to do with the house: So many kids to play with.

Thank you, Megan — and for sure, we are all hoping this house finds a sympathetic buyer who recognizes it for the real gem it is!

Link Love:

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All material featured in this story copyright Retro Renovation 2015.

  1. LCH says:

    So strange to look back into history and see that I dislike that era’s style as much now as I did when I was living through it….no matter how well it was done. But the space does look loved and cared for, and I love the emotional reactions the space provides for people.
    I was hoping to generate some excitement over the bathroom wallpaper but just couldn’t quite manage it. What feels like home to people? Familiarity? I liked my family home and can make a long list of things that were functionally awesome about the home that my parents designed and built….but I never felt quite at home with my parent’s mid-century modern style, though I shared my mom’s love of some of the wild florals of the 70’s, and I was regularly teased by friends about my mom’s choice of kitchen wall color: deep Flamingo pink, lol! I heaved a sigh of relief when simple, classic antiques began to come our way, courtesy of older relatives when they passed away. I longed to paint all the baseboards in the house WHITE. I got a big NO from mom and dad. Funny how I knew what felt like “home” to me from a young age – it wasn’t the suburban opulence of the late 70’s, like in these photos, nor the casual, friendly MCM of my childhood; it sure wasn’t the American Colonial stuffiness I saw at friends’ homes. Nor was the rooster infestation of the 90’s or the depressing Tuscan era. So many homes were so DARK back then! But I knew I came home to my style when I saw simplicity, natural light, spaciousness, white curtains, white baseboards, simple yet elegant lines to furniture, minimal patterns, minimal surface decor, plenty of plants, and ideally an ocean or lovely garden through the windows…the rest of the details were not as important, whether Scandinavian or British Colonial or Organic Modern, etc. I’m afraid I would have been guilty of ripping out all the busy wall-paper and the pink carpet, had this house passed into my hands. But I totally agree that there was no need to tear out what looks like a very well designed kitchen with quality cabinets (though the walls might have turned out Flamingo pink just for fun). Thank you for sharing this fascinating photo and essay!

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      It is so interesting how we each react differently to various designs! Variety makes the world go round!

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