An Australian Family Embraced Their ’70s Style Home, Enhancing It With Updates
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Name: Wendy and Fred Butterworth, two teenage children, Noah and Mia, and Chocolate Lab, Chester
Location: Anglesea, Australia
Size: 1,500 square feet
Type of Home: House
Years lived in: 4 years, owned
Wendy and Fred Butterworth did what some only dream of: they purchased a house they saw while on a summer holiday with friends in 2007. “You know you always check out the real estate windows on holidays and this one caught our eye,” begins Wendy. “So we went to the ‘open inspection’ and fell in love with her ’70s charm, the light-filled living area and those apple green kitchen bench tops. We remember putting in a ridiculous offer and to our shock they accepted!”
Despite the “ridiculous offer” the couple put in, money was tight right after the purchase. But the no-budget had a profound effect on the look of the home. “We couldn’t afford to do any renos at the time, so we embraced the ’70s feel and ran with it. She began as our weekender at first and then other people’s weekender until we permanently moved in at the end of 2018.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Maximalist, eclectic, Nana style. I have a love for vintage furnishings and furniture ranging from the ’40s through to the ’70s. Nothing is from any particular era; it’s really about what’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Inspiration: Comes from my Nana Pearl and my mum (our shack is named after her). Most of the furnishings I have inherited or collected are a reminder of them both; it’s the nostalgia of my childhood.
Favorite Element: My fave element of our shack is by far the living space (kitchen, dining, lounge all rolled into one), which opens up to our deck in summer. It’s a relaxed, chilled vibe, which we love. We entertain a lot and sometimes wonder how we produce the food we do out of that tiny kitchen.
Fave object would have to be my mum’s porcelain tiger (which my aunty made her back in the late ’70s – early ’80s). My mum passed away two years ago of dementia so it has a great deal of sentimental value to me.
Biggest Challenge: We only have one living space, which can be a challenge with four people and a fur baby living in it. So l try to place the furniture to create separate living areas and divide the space up a little.
Proudest DIY: We recently renovated our bathroom. My poor suffering husband (who we affectionately call “The Swiss Army Knife” because he can literally do anything) has to put up with my crazy ideas and then turn them into reality. We completely gutted our bathroom back to the framework and started again. It took two months to complete the project as we did run into some issues. But the results were worth it; the 1950s green mint bath set was salvaged out of a house in Drysdale and is a dream to soak in!
Budget: Biggest splurge was our original 1970s Parker modular lounge, purchased off the Marketplace.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My father-in-law and my Swiss Army Knife designed and built our circular stairs leading into the hallway. Before that was an ugly square set of stairs with a rail. The new oval stairs open up the area so much more and gives it a vintage feel.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Being organized in your space helps, everything has a place in this shack; I have loads of vintage cabinets, suitcases, and coat hooks, which house a lot of things!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Many of our furnishings are precious family treasures that have been passed down to us. The rest has been many years of collecting from our travels around Australia and when we lived in the Northern Territory. My family does get a little tired of stopping in every town that has an op shop or garage sale!
- ’70s Parker modular sofa — Facebook Marketplace
- Bar cabinet — Purchased from the red till café, Anglesea
- Vintage armchair — Gifted by my nana
- Coffee table — Inherited from my nana
- Various art work — Op shops, gifted by my dad
- Self portraits — Artist, Daniel Butterworth (who happens to be my brother-in-law)
- Table — Gifted by a friend
- Bench seat — Mill Markets, Daylesford
- 1950s back bench seating — Purchased from a café in Woodend
- Kitchen shelf — Made by my father-in-law
- Vintage jars — Inherited from my nana and mum
- Enamel ware — Vintage
- Spice rack — Purchased from the recycled shed, Anglesea
- Timber box — Inherited from my pa
- Vintage Kettle — Minty Vinty
- Ocean vase — Jones and Co
- Chest of draws — Purchased from the recycled shed, Anglesea
- Vintage suitcases — Mill Markets, Geelong
- Bedspread — Purchased from Minty Vinty
- Bedside draw — Mill Markets, Geelong
- Vintage radio — Hard rubbish
- Vintage fan — Gifted to me from my brother- and sister-in-law
- 1950s mint green bath set — Salvaged out of a house in Drysdale
- Miners meat safe — Purchased from a friend
- Art works — Fletcher Jones Market, Warrnambool
- Shells — Collected locally
- Vintage objects — Op shops
Thanks Wendy, Fred, and family!
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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