The Virtual House



back to the spare bedroom
Paint tin and brush
Paint and brush

In the 1950s and 1960s, people started to give existing homes the ‘open-plan’ treatment. The wall dividing a living room and dining room was often knocked down, or replaced with a glass sliding door.

For people who couldn’t afford to completely transform their homes there was always do-it-yourself (DIY). Handy-men - and in the 1960s it was still men - used a range of new materials to modernize their homes and especially their kitchens. Formica gave old table-tops a new lease of life. PVC blinds replaced curtains, plastic wallpapers were wipe-clean and floors were covered with patterned linoleum (lino).

The first portable electric drill was made in 1917. It weighed 11 kilos. Some modern drills weigh less than 2 kilos! Modern materials – better iron and insulation for motors and tough but light plastic casings – have made this possible.

More recently, improved battery technology has made cordless drills practical, too Although the electric drill still burns up valuable fuel with every hole it makes, many people see it as the most important tool for DIY.

People with modern tools can work much faster, tackling building jobs in their spare time instead of paying someone else to do it. That means your mum can put up those new shelves in the evening and still have time to watch the 9 o'clock news.

  back to the spare bedroom