How can I improve the ugly facade of my 1970s house?

Brooke G
July 12, 2015
last modified: September 6, 2018

This ugly house really needs a make over. We hate the brown window trim. We have white interior shutters upstairs that we plan to place downstairs soon to uniform. The deck needs re-doing and the whole facade needs bringing up-to-date.

Would you render or paint? What colour?

Add a trellise to above the deck?

Have a path leading down to the front door?

How can i add interest to this uninspiring and dated home?

Would really appreciate any ideas and contacts for Sydney Nth Shore area.

Comments (28)

  • karenleonn
    Paint paint paint.!!! Render is soooo dated already. The blonde bricks are cooler than cool and a light paint window treatment is all that's needed. I would personally get a new balcony railing in something a bit more up- to- date like a timber one. But that's just me. Invest your money in the garden with some statement plants and placement of them.
    Brooke G thanked karenleonn
  • jbantick

    Keep the face brick, don't render or paint it, it's still fashionable! The brown railings however is what really dates it. A new handrailing, repainted trims & doors will make a huge differance as would landscaping such as pathway to door, etc.

    Maybe re-roof if the existing tile one leaks or has cracked tiles, etc and needs work.

    The cladding? below the front windows on level 1 looks dated. Could have new windows or sliding doors or brick up lower half. Sliding door to the deck as well perhaps.

    Could do a lot more but these things are for a tight budget. A bigger budget would require a professional to advise on site such as a awning over a new balcony, brick pillars each side like the newer project homes, new roof, etc.....

    Brooke G thanked jbantick
  • Brooke G

    Thank you for the feedback. It's interesting to hear that bricks are making a come back! Agreed that we need to update the deck to a modern timber one, were toying with the idea of a small white trellis over the balcony for added interest.

    Because we have white interior shutters, we see the only option for our window trim would be white. Do you agree with this?

    Investing in landscaping and a proper path down to the front door is another terrific idea.

    I'm wondering if we can do more though? - we're looking for maximum impact and willing to invest here.

  • karenleonn
    Small white trellis??? NO N O & NO the idea is to update and something like that will just send you backward into a mishmash of styles. Less is more with your lovely house. Think of it this way - if you have a favourite pair of jeans or shirt you love would adding Lace to them be enhancing or detracting?? Hmmm?
    Brooke G thanked karenleonn
  • PRO
    Undercover Architect

    Hi Brooke G

    I would consider the treatment of the exterior of your home in alignment with how the inside is finished or renovated ... it's important that you have a consistent experience and aesthetic from outside to inside for the home to feel great.

    If the inside of your home is more modern, then I would render the outside. It's a quick, low maintenance way to finish the brickwork. It makes painting much easier than painting over the brick, and is easy to repaint later. I would trim the brick sills as part of having it rendered ... they are a 1960s/70s feature. See the photos before of a before and after of a home I renovated with my husband. We used a Rockcote render (as opposed to a cement render) and had the rendered use corner angles on all external corners (so the edges were all crisp) and cut off all the brick sills.

    The paint colour we used is Dulux "Bushland Grey" and we used mixed hardwood timber battens for screening and balustrade elements. The dark trims and garage doors were in Dulux "Namadji". The white wall to highlight the entry stairs is Dulux "Whisper White".

    Replacing the balustrade will also dramatically change the appearance of the home. You could use a simple painted timber balustrade, or a more modern glass one - depending on what overall aesthetic you are seeking to achieve.

    Also consider the landscaping and lighting around the outside of the home - you'll see from the pictures above, we made quite a change to this home which certainly contributes to the overall feel.

    I believe if you rendered and painted the outside of it, you wouldn't notice the dark window frames so much anymore.

    Face brick is still used in contemporary design, but if you look, you'll see it's laid in specific ways, or a certain type of colour brick is used. It is also used as a feature to highlight form. And it is used to make forms feel crisp and solid. This is quite different to the blond brick laid in stretcher bond, with angled brick sills, as in these 1970s homes.

    I hope that helps - you can see more photos of this renovation on my website [click here]. (We renovated inside and out - the home was built in 1967 and pretty much untouched when we bought it!) We painted some brickwork internally because it was laid in stack bond and just looked great as a feature near the front door.


    Amelia Lee

    Brooke G thanked Undercover Architect
  • hayels23
    Keep the brick, will be extremely expensive to render a 2-storey, plus I think paint & roof job with landscaping will do the trick. White window frames, darker roof, paint deck to match roof?
    Brooke G thanked hayels23
  • hayels23
    In addition. Extend ballustrading so deck around side can be made use of. Use large-potted feature plants on deck & tie in with same on porch downstairs. Add a few more plants of same in your garden, to give variety & colour & cover ground.
    Brooke G thanked hayels23
  • slr027

    i would consider extending the decking out and continue around the side which would add more room for entertaining. upstairs windows could be replaced with glass sliding doors or glass stacker doors, the actual upstairs doors could be window or just filled in as no need for if have sliding doors. downstairs i would consider full length paneled windows. even a merbau privacy panel at the entrance.

    Brooke G thanked slr027
  • fianou

    I agree not to render... I would paint the window trim and replace the balustrade on the balcony to update it.

    Brooke G thanked fianou
  • Brooke G

    Thank you! What colour would you paint the window trim? Were thinking White to match the shutters.

  • PRO
    Timandra Design & Landscaping

    As an external designer, principally about landscape design, I look at your garden and see it as 'bitsy'. There is no cohesion with any of the plants and their placement.

    I feel from the picture, that the site slopes towards the home - is this correct? If so, then this needs to be rectified. The slope should be away from the house.

    What is at the bottom in front of the house- is it gravel or paving?

    Your home to me looks like it is well made. Definitely don't render or paint. Are there posts from the decking or is it cantilevered? If cantilevered, it would look better with posts with all of the woodwork being a uniform colour. As a classic designer, I NEVER follow trends, so would suggest that you pick up the colour of the doors for the paint work or even a lighter tone of this. Grey is not good because of the roof colour.

    If your house colours are neutral, you can bring in other colours with the garden, the best colour of all in a garden being green. And I would keep the garden simple, with variations through texture of different colours of green with trees for vertical accent and ground covers at their base with broad garden beds. You could have lawn joining these beds together or a fine aggregate.

    But a big change to the slope and the garden overall would significantly improve the street appeal to your home.

    Brooke G thanked Timandra Design & Landscaping
  • Brooke G

    Wow - thanks for such detailed feedback Tamandra Design and landscaping. Unfortunately we cant change the slope as the house is situated on the low side of the road, we need to work with it. However, i dont understand what you mean by the colour of the doors for paintwork? Cheers

  • PRO
    Timandra Design & Landscaping

    If you look at the tan colour of the doors in the upper level, I think that this could be a good choice for the paint work for the timber throughout. Does this make sense?

    I would get rid of the big tree stump and then work on your garden, selecting 3 to 5 plants that you like of varying heights and then using them throughout the area. If you triangulate them all using 3 of each variety, then you get a balanced, cohesive design.

    Good luck with it.


    Brooke G thanked Timandra Design & Landscaping
  • wuff
    For what you may have been considering on render, change the windows to an updated colour and style, plus with the ideas about the veranda railing etc would be a different house, I think getting a landscaper in would be a good idea as well. Good luck and keep us posted
    Brooke G thanked wuff
  • decodilema

    I'd paint everything, bar the brickwork, white and maybe change the balustrading to stainless steel wire... It would be great if you could change the roof to colourbond!

    Brooke G thanked decodilema
  • Terri Turner

    May I suggest, go to your local paint shop or Bunnings. For around $150 an interior colour consultant from Dulux or any paint company, will come out and have all the colour cards with her. She will give you advise on the spot at home.Then if you buy the paint from them, the money you spent on the consultant will be deducted from the paint you purchased. Great investment. win win situation.Good luck

    Brooke G thanked Terri Turner
  • Kathy

    Given you've already added white shutters, you're probably going to benefit from white windows. White balcony rail, entry door and bottom floor trims will also look fine with the blonde brick and save you rendering. Rendering often tells people you may be covering up faults, such as cracks. And then needs constant maintenance if your house moves and does introduce a render crack. I would avoid rendering solid brickwork. Repaint the roof tiles in black to spruce it up as well. Hopefully the internal wood elements haven't all be blanded out. These 1970s homes can be great with the right furniture and often don't need the removal of all the war elements like wood trims, beams and brick that make them unique. Spend time greening the garden, definitely worthwhile.

    Brooke G thanked Kathy
  • Melbourne44 Musk

    get rid of all the brown and do a WARM balcony balustrade

    I agree that changing the roof to iron would be great but its all in the garden in my opinion. Might be worth getting a landscape architect even if you then do the work?

    Good luck ....this is not a horrible house.

  • everton_galepacific

    So much potential with this beaut property! Agree with the above comments - keep the brick, paint the windows and update that deck to get the most out of it!

    Perhaps upgrade the balustrade to some glass fencing? You can install the fences below yourself:

    Number 17 · More Info
    Sandstone Pool Landscape · More Info

    Also, have you considered roller blinds for the windows?
    Hope this helps, and good luck!

  • Tyrian

    Not a brick fan, still rendering this facade does seem a shame. I would invest in good quality windows. I would go for a sort of Asian/Modern look with black rimmed modern windows and sliding doors. It will look a lot cleaner and more harmonious I think like that. Then invest in the porch and balcony areas and keep it either clear as suggested above or black to match the windows. Sorry in a hurry can't find a facade to illustrate, but below gives an interior with such doors.

    Narrabundah House · More Info

  • robin_kinross
    Keep the future costs with reprinting
    Put a roof over the deck perhaps gable to add style to the roof.
    Recoat roof.
    Replace balustrade with timber.
    Paint window frames in a light colour.
    Add matching patio area to ground floor living area to open up the house to the outdoor area.
    A graduated stairway down to the front door with attractive planting season either side would really enhance street appeal.
  • suancol

    Do wander though any local housing sites new ones to find houses with your brick colours to see how they have worked with it in 2016 styles . I am planning a new home and intend to do bricks as sooo many houses are doing rendering that infant to be different and avoid going painting costs in future.

  • pinkfisher

    I think render would look good on your style house. I agree with Undercover Architect above, the exterior needs to connect with the interior, doesn't have to be exact but similar. So if you're Hamptons or French Country etc I'd be looking at those designs for inspiration. Wishing you success!

  • Jennifer Bradley

    I don't find your house "ugly", even though some updating would be good. Rendering is not a good idea - very expensive, hard to change. Based on keeping your current brick, I'd look at painting windows/trims etc something that toned, not white. Also extend/re-bannister deck. Get your garden work done and then look at what colour would work best with brick and garden. Yes, seek professional help from colour consultant at paint place. But with a little work, I think your house could be very attractive. Don't change it into something it isn't - go with the bones and style and upgrade.

  • tkjs68
    A similar dilemma to above post " Facade help for 1975 house".
    A good reference to Beachcomber style.
  • robandlyn

    Old post

  • robandlyn

    Old post

  • HU-972465601

    I would extend the deck so it replaces the carport (so you still have carport and big deck up top, new ballustrade, new cladding under windows, paint hte windows, path to front door. Do something with stairwell window. Leave the brick. Its a maintenance nightmare later if bagging and painting or just painting. Bricks need to breath too. Ditch the tile at the front door. Stone look would look great with the garden.