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Vintage Family Handyman from 1983: Housing Shapes To Come

What types of housing were available in 1983? In honor of our 70th anniversary, Family Handyman looked at some old magazines to answer that question.

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What Will Your Next House Be Like?

In 1983, the average home cost nearly $90,000. High housing demand and rising costs, though lower than today’s housing prices, caused a boom of housing innovation. Here are a few types of homes from the ’80s.

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Foamed Dome House

This domed house resembles an igloo. Besides their modern look, according to the article these houses “cost at least 30 percent less than conventional housing to build and are highly energy efficient.”

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Dome House Steel Frame

A steel frame supports this style of house. And you won’t need shingles for this roof.

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Earth-Sheltered Home

The building costs for these hobbit-style houses were “comparable to costs for conventional home construction. But reduced energy and maintenance costs tip the economic scales in favor of earth-sheltered homes.”

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Hire a Professional

Not every house builder had experience with earth-sheltered homes. In 1983, you could buy a kit from Earth Systems to build a DIY earth-sheltered home.

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Move a House

This house on eastern Long Island, N.Y. was cut in half, carefully transported a short distance and put back together for its new owners. Now that’s a renovation!

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Get a House Delivered

You can still get a home delivered today. It might actually be easier, since tiny houses are now available online for purchase.

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Precut House

Precut homes were a good option for people who had the skill to assemble a home but weren’t interested in designing and cutting all the pieces. This wood home from the 1980s has a rustic countryside look.

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Today’s Precut Kits

If you’d like to build your own shelter but aren’t ready to tackle a full-sized house, try one of Amazon’s cabin kits.

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Manufactured Homes

Thanks to standards from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, manufactured homes improved after 1976. Check out the stylish brick front and landscaping on this one.

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Types of Manufactured Homes

Although manufactured homes are factory-built, there is room for customization. This article from 1983 describes four types of manufactured homes: “The single-wide, the expandable, the double-wide and the multisection.”

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Customizing Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes were a convenient option, and the price couldn’t be beaten. They were significantly more affordable than conventional houses. “The estimated average cost of site-built houses in 1980 was $80,000, including the lot but excluding the furnishings.”

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Build a Log Cabin

Log cabins are timeless. Their cozy, outdoorsy appearance never goes out of style. This cabin from the 1980s looks just like cabins in the 2020s. As we look back on past Family Handyman issues in celebration of our 70th anniversary, we’re reminded that some things never change.

For more of our amazing vintage Family Handyman content, visit our 70th Anniversary Page.