|Conversation pit of the 1970s, as illustrated in The House Book,|
an influential design compendium published in 1974
by the Englishdesigner Terence Conran.
This curious law holds equally true in architecture. Given enough time, the odd and the excessive inevitably develop great appeal. In the early 60s, for example, countless kitchens contained that ubiquitous gold-flecked Formica pattern known as “Gold Lamé”. For two decades afterward, it was considered hopelessly gauche by designers. Yet Gen-Xers who grew up in these houses seem to remember the stuff with great affection—so much so that it’s actually being offered for sale again. It’s a case of “so uncool that it’s cool”.
|Flock wallpaper: Instant Dodge City brothel.|
• The 70s brought us that immortal and un-scrubbable classic, flock wallpaper. With its velveteen texture and rococo patterns, it could magically transform any living room into a Dodge City brothel. I’m confident that genuine flock will soon be a cherished rarity, since hardly any of it survived the “all-white” rage of the '80s. The largest single concentration can now be found in men’s barber salons.
|And here's a '70s kitsch two-fer—a shag-carpeted wet bar.|
• Conversation pits—coolest architectural fad of the '70s—will be a virtual nexus of kitsch in the few homes that didn't rip them out long ago to create more floor space. My prediction: not long from now, '70s revivalists will be pulling on Angel Flights, polyester shirts, and platform shoes and slouching into the conversation pit to drink Harvey Wallbangers. Gold jewelry optional.
|If you think the present is immune from future kitsch classics,|
• The wet bar—the only architectural fad to get even less use than a whirlpool bath—was another '70s must. Wet bars have been more long-lived than most architectural gimmicks, but only because ripping them out involves some nasty plumbing work. Consequently, most people just let them sit—a memento of the days when getting sloppy drunk in your own home was considered really cool.
• Lastly, some advice for the hipsters among us who like to plan ahead: Take good care of that '90s-era concrete countertop, not to mention that vessel sink you installed last year. They'll be kitsch classics soon enough.