Homes of the ’70s were filled with some keep-worthy design trends (terrazzo, macrame, etc.) as well as ones that, well, are better left as a thing of the past (ahem, bathroom carpeting, ahem). In a recent episode of HGTV’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” couple Amy and Andy presented their renovation vision for their ’70s home to hosts Dave and Jenny Marrs, with a desire to update and preserve. And so, the experts went forth to modernize the home while honoring the retro style of its original era.

Amy explained that her adult children visited frequently, so the Marrs thought the kitchen was a logical place to start to ensure they designed the perfect space for hosting.

The drop ceiling and poor lighting gave the space a cramped and unwelcoming feeling, and old-fashioned barstools, countertops, and cabinet styles begged for an update. The Marrs also focused on a common pain point in kitchens — the fridge door opening into a main walkway, blocking the flow of traffic.

The renovation ended up solving all of these problems, and then some. The Marrs made the kitchen bright and welcoming, integrating a fun but subtle color palette featuring black, gold, gray, and wood that created a mixture of dark and light. They added a waterfall edge on the new kitchen island — meaning the sides of the counters extend to the ground — and the terrazzo-style counters were made from glass recycled from salvaged bottles and jars.

The Marrs added open shelving to display various colored dishes, which contributed to a retro vibe, and they painted the metal brass to save money. For the cabinets, black uppers and light birch wood lowers were installed that provided an eye-catching contrast. Funky lights over the island brought a throwback-yet-modern feel, drawing the eye upward towards the ceilings that were heightened when they removed the drop ceiling.

While the front of the house featured some charming details, there were plenty of outdated ones, including the iron storm door with intricate designs, off yellow paneling, and faded brick. But nothing that the Marrs couldn’t handle.

The home’s exterior became all black, featuring painted brick and “gorgeous new front doors that set the stage,” Jenny explained, with vertical wooden slats. “It doesn’t look the same, it’s so much better,” Amy said when she saw it for the first time. One of the overarching themes the Marrs executed throughout the renovation was not being scared to play with contrasting colors, such as the brown and black exterior, and the daring move paid off.

The porch was framed with the painted black bricks, creating a more purposeful front porch, with the gray concrete pad framed in. The yellow paneling was replaced with vertical black-painted panels, and the faded brick was no more. They installed a globe light that aligned with the ’70s vibe, and they added white rocks that contrasted with the black exterior, proving that landscaping color schemes aren’t just important but essential to overall curbside appeal. 

“This is how the ’70s wishes it was,” Amy exclaimed, to which Jenny said, “We really did preserve the house.” Who says you can’t have your retro house and live in it, too?

“Fixer to Fabulous” airs new episodes on Tuesdays at 9/8 central on HGTV and Discovery+.