Tuesday, April 22, 2008


OH yeah!

I was surfing the internet for decor from different era's and look what I found. I thought it was fun and worth sharing with all of you! Hey, I had one of those Hoosier's. I just sold it to my niece last year. Since we moved to Oregon and changed our decor, it didn't fit in any longer but my niece loves it!

Living Room

The formal parlor pretty much disappeared by the twenties, and the living room became the gathering room for family and friends.

Middle Class Living Room In this typical middle class living room, note the woodwork, the oriental-style rug and the antique-flavored chair and pier table.

By contrast, here is a more upscale living room. Note the paneled walls, again the oriental-style rug, and the Empire / Duncan Phyfe furniture. Another mark of the era, the wall sconce, is visible in both pictures.

And finally, the famous Pullman Davenport Bed. A comfortable and attractive sofa, Pullman Davenport Bed it could also accommodate those relatives visitingovernight. . . or, in a small apartment, Pullman open it could be the living room furniture by day and the bedroom furniture by night.

Dining Room

The dining room sang its swan song in the twenties. It was smaller, simpler, leaner. Families tended to eat their meals in the kitchen, using the dining room for special occasions when guests came to dinner.

The dining room was the one area of the home where wallpaper was still welcome. Typically, a scenic pattern was chosen to set off the Federal style furniture. Queen Anne and Hepplewhite were also favored for the dining room furniture. The lines of all those styles were clean, uncluttered. On the floor would be the ubiquitous patterned rug, an oriental or a Wilton. Woodwork was usually of North Carolina pine enameled in cream or a pastel gray or taupe.

In 1920, House Beautiful offered this description of an ideal dining room in the Georgian style:

The atmosphere of simple dignity which seemed to pervade the delightful dining halls of Georgian England was inspired by an orderly arrangement of a few well-chosen objects. Such a grouping is particularly appropriate to the moderate size dining room of today. Its broad casement windows and delicately paneled walls present a perfect background for the graceful sideboard and table. The very simplicity of this ensemble creates an air of distinction and effect of spaciousness.

As the dimensions of the dining room grew smaller, built-in cupboards became popular and alcoves or bay windows were designed to hold the buffet.

China was usually of a simple design, perhaps featuring some decoration in light yellow and other pastels. Linens were desirable but expensive.

The Great Depression of the thirties, followed by the wartime priorities of the forties and soaring construction costs tolled the death knell for the expendable dining room.

Dining Room 1 This large, older dining room has been updated to flapper taste. Note the Queen Anne furniture, the oriental rug, the scenic wallpaper.


Floor space shrank during the twenties; extraneous rooms and foyers disappeared, the dining room was scaled down and on its way to oblivion. The kitchen had been either a family gathering place (or a part of family living space) in the old farmhouses, or a large food preparation area staffed by a cook and helpers. Those days ended as the century turned, and the kitchen shrank to accommodate the lone housewife.

Kitchen 1 Kitchens in the twenties were designed for efficiency, a characteristic that still applies today. The biggest impact on the kitchen was electricity. The ice box had been placed in an alcove or porch off the kitchen so that the ice man didn’t come into the kitchen. The electric refrigerator made it possible for the cold storage unit to move into the kitchen, to a much more convenient spot in the food preparation layout. There were quite a few other electrical gadgets, from flat toasters to electric griddles.

Buck Range And then there was the range. The old wood cookstove gave way to the modern range which used either gas or electricity. Several of the new models offered the convenience operating on multiple fuels, such as gas, wood or coal. With such a range, the owner could use whichever fuel was cheapest and/or most available at any given time. Pictured is Buck’s Sanitary Porcelain Enameled Combination Range, which never fails “to brighten monotonous days for weary mothers and housekeepers. They burn gas, coal or wood . . . and thus insure (sic) a kitchen cool in summer — warm in winter. Moreover, they banish dirty blackening. Sanitary porcelain enameled finish wipes clean with just a moist cloth. Choice of colors — pearl gray, blue or black.”

Much was made of efficiency and the clean look. White or gray enameled walls seemed to proliferate. Kitchen with Congoleum Floor Floors were covered in some type of linoleum. Porcelain was a favorite for the large appliances. There was even a garbage disposal of sorts available: the Kelvinator, which was a shoot leading to a natural incinerator. The unit had to be included in new construction; it could not be added to an existing structure. The Walker Dishwasher Corp. introduced the electric dishwashing machine for home use.

Perhaps the handiest step-saver in the servantless kitchen was the Hoosier Cabinet.

Hoosier Cabinet Never requiring the housewife to take a step when a reach would do, the Hoosier Cabinet provided bins for flour (with a built-in sifter) and sugar; spice racks, shelves, cupboards and drawers; as well as a porcelain-enameled work surface.

One last feature of the twenties kitchen: the breakfast nook. It might be tacked on to the back of the kitchen or simply a converted porch. It often had built-in benches flanking a trestle table. And so, even in the downsizing, the kitchen managed to remain, at least to some degree, a family gathering-place.


Tastes in the twenties tended to the traditional, perhaps because those styles evoked the perceived idyllic romanticism of the earlier period. The bedroom incorporated the latest technology in mattresses into the traditional styles of the Colonial, Federal and even Empire furniture from the 17th and 18th centuries. There was one invention of particular note, a handy way to have a full bed at night, but space for other activities during the day. The Murphy bed could be tucked away fully made into its closet. The bed hung on in the thirties and forties and made for some good sight gags in the films from those decades.

Here are three bedrooms showing the traditional decor.

Bedroom 1 Although manufacturers made copies and adaptations of antique pieces in fine woods, the beds in this photo show an interpretation in steel of French Eighteenth Century style.

Bedroom2 “Pastel tints can be joined harmoniously in any combination. . . . Pale green and fresh orchid--a bit of gold and a touch of pink are set off entrancingly by the dark wood shades of the furniture.”

In these two photos you may be able to make out the window treatment which was so common in the twenties: glass curtains ending at the sill, a window shade under the curtains, and draperies over the curtains, hanging at the side and reaching the baseboard.

Bedroom 3

From a Simmons ad: “I’m glad I can make my guests so comfortable at Santa Barbara” says Mrs. J.J. Mitchell, the former Miss Lolita Armour. This was a guest room in Daisy Cottage at Mrs. Mitchell’s estate, “El Mirador” in the hills above Santa Barabara.

Bedroom 4 By the end of the decade, modern geometry foreshadowed the Art Deco that would become so popular in the next decade.


The bathroom had first moved indoors in the mid nineteenth century, and by the nineteen-twenties the indoor facility was pretty much standard, at least in the urban areas. It had become a simple, functional room measuring about 5X7 feet. But in the twenties, bathroom decor became a sort of measure of one’s status. When it came to the bathroom, the flappers were indulgent hedonists. The Necessity was quieted, hidden, decorated around. The bath and sink became available in a variety of colors and styles. Floors and walls gained tiling of various materials. Towel bars were heated. And even the humblest house could have those marvelous fixtures.

Turkish Bathroom Sometimes the bathroom was exotic, as in this Turkish-influenced design.

Crane Bathroom This might be the dream design for a bathroom. The bathtub in the middle of the room, away from the walls, was popular with many people of means.

Flapper Bathroom But then this is what most middle-class Flappers would wind up with. Cute, functional, sort of the bathroom statement of the thoroughly modern Flapper.


Debbie in NC said...

Sticking tongue out that you had a Hoosier! This is my favorite post so far! Reason being like in 1979 I had enrolled at the Fashion Institute in LA for a future in Interior Design...not Decorator! I didn't want to do window treatments, I wanted to place walls and study flow patterns, etc. Hence the reason I have knocked down walls in my house and removed ALL, yes ALL kitchen cabinets. LONG story and completion is LONG overdue.

Was waiting for this to come from you :)
Hey, girl, yesterday I received your package!! I have not opened it because I got mail in late, but will today but rarely get packages so I want to sit down with coffee and "treasure" the moment! Will of course get back to you and thank you again!! ((Patti))

P.S. In the fold out bed...wonder what's keeping those pillows propped up LOL!

The Barber Bunch said...

GReat Post.

I love the pics!


Anonymous said...

How very interesting. A hoosier huh! Love this post Patti! It's really interesting how decor has changed. Love the flapper spin.

Nene said...

Well, well,...I can see I am not the only one desiring more Decorative tips and history lessons from you. This is really interesting and very informative to read and look at.

I must say, the kitchen rug/carpet pattern was enough to make my hungry apatite go away though. Other then that..."great taste for those FLAPPERS" way to go!!

You should continue post like this, very interesting and right up your profession too!


Debbie in NC said...


Yes, I loved the beautiful things you sent! I've been very sad over the past couple of days. My best friend's daughter gave birth to a 1 1/2 lb. preemie boy and he passed away yesterday. He came too early and he is God's little Angel now.

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Oriental Rug Cleaning said...

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