Monday, June 20, 2011

Vintage Interior Design Tome

Probably about 15 years ago I was “junking” with my Grandmother in Washington Maine…I don’t expect anyone that is not from that area would know Washington Maine but it’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere (back roads baby, back roads).  There is not much to see or do in Washington so if you’re there it’s probably because either you live there or you are on a specific mission.  Well, we were the later….my Grandmother knew of a guy who had a barn full of old “collectables”.  To say he sold antiques would be far too generous…imagine a barn full of 1970’s Sears & Roebuck gold, orange & avocado green furniture and accessories.  I think he had the largest collection of mugs with every business name, school and slogan imaginable in existence.  It appeared to be mostly all of the stuff from yard sales that doesn’t sell and ends up at The Salvation Army…that being said there is ALWAYS a gem somewhere in the mix on these kinds of ventures so I was game for a look….
I didn’t find much at the barn that day but we did stop by a more “legitimate” antique shop (not to imply the barn was not legitimate – just less traditional J) somewhere near this barn for a quick browse and there I struck what I thought at the time was interior decoration gold.  It was a 1961 Better Homes & Garden decorating book – so cool! 
Since this first find I have been on the constant lookout for vintage decorating books at a reasonable (i.e. inexpensive) price and let me tell you they are hard to come by.   Every now and then I’ve found one at an odd church rummage sale or library book sale but they are an unusual find.  I’ve been told that the publishing of books on interior design is really a post WWII thing – prior to that it wasn’t something widely read about and only the very wealthy used interior designers.  Not sure if that’s true or not but it sure sounds like a reasonable explanation.
Well, last weekend I struck decorating gold again.  At an estate sale I found a 1947 House & Garden’s Complete Guide to Interior Design.  Dust jacket intact and all! 

I couldn’t believe it when I saw it and I really couldn’t believe when I saw the price - $1!!!!  The pictures in this book are incredible – some black & white photographs but many color watercolor drawings of spectacular dining, living, bedroom & kitchens! 

Wallpaper on the ceiling...hmmmm

That lamp reminds me of the one I saw at
Zimmans in my last post.

It covers the regionality of interior design as well as just core basics (which by the way from what I can see have not changed much in the 60+ years since this book was published).  
How awesome is this now considered retro
stove...I see these in decorating mags

This pic reminded me of my friend Jamie
who has a catwalk that looks over her
living room and who I tease about having
a maid...see it's even relevant in 2011

Brown with pink accents...sound outdated
to you?  I love this room!

The visuals of a Doris Day & Rock Hudson movie (Pillow Talk has some of the most fabulous décor in it) play through my mind as I peruse this book…so much inspiration here.  Love it!

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