Whoooo wee, do I have a dream of a room coming atcha from 1954. Pull up your socks, folks...this one is for serious:
Do you love it or do you LOVE it? The turquoise chaise...the boxy, low lines of the goldenrod chair and matching couch? The accent red-seated desk chairs to the far background? Besides these obvious mid century touches, I think what intrigued me most was the choice of picking up the brown and burnt reddish hues of the built in fireplace with the beige of the wall paneling, lamp shade, and especially that Navajo rug. I was in love at first sight. When do we get to move in?
|Those curly cue bar stools are giving me fits. STOP. BEING. SO. ADORABLE.|
This October 1954 issue of Life, at the tail end of a special section on modern homes, presents a room put together by architect John Hancock Callender and interior designer Melanie Kahane. But there's a twist! (Side note: I have been watching way too much Project Runway, and am waiting for "a twist" in even the most pedestrian of situations) This stylish, g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s den and kitchenette was built out of the family's existing 12 by 20 foot carport! Don't believe me? Here's the before and afters for reference. I am really impressed:
Then again, Callender was the editor for the original 1947 architectural staple Time-Saver Standards for Architectural Design: Technical Data for Professional Practice, so I guess he knew a thing or two before he began about making something spectacular from something so ordinary. At only 440 square feet, there's still a great deal of use going on here! Below, you can see the layout along with a picture of the Robinsons, the family who's going to benefit from all the sleek modernity and efficiency. Look at Mrs. Robinson's travel-stamped circle skirt and t-strap sandals...cute!
I think it really says something about the 1950's homeowner that they would be more apt to think in terms of how they could convert their current living space into even more living space, instead of insisting upon moving or, worse, wallowing in the hopelessness of "never having enough space". By rethinking what they already have, and bringing in an expert to show them how to do it right, they can actually have a whole other "half a house" in a space that was previously just cluttered with junk to the point that Mr. Robinson couldn't even park his car all the way in the garage! It's really kind of inspiring.
What cost $5,000 in 1954 would cost $42,115.05 in 2012. Good NIGHT! So it's actually a little more expensive than what I would have thought, but still. Now the house is honest-to-goodness worth at least that much more in its retail value, because you could turn your old dining room into a bedroom, or your old rec room into a master suite.
You haven't even seen the best part yet. Did I lie to you in this post's title? Did I deceive you into thinking there would be something in this post that there was not? I did not, folks! BEHOLD:
OH! MAN! MAN. Are you seeing this?! While at first, I thought it was a cutesy nod to Piet Mondrian's famous abstract compositions, it turns out, it's even more! (Side note: Did you know that Mondrian's abstractions actually date as far back in his work as the 1920's? It always takes my breath away to see something like that, so solidly identifiable with the fifties', actually having a much earlier origin. Can you imagine how FRESH this style would have been in 1920? He and Frank Lloyd Wright, I think, get inspiration straight from the Xenutians)
IT SLIDES OUT INTO ALL OF THIS. The panels are the kind you tap to open, and swing out to a number of conveniences. You coulda knocked me over with a feather. Are you seeing all this? Records storage, projector, television, dressmakers form and sweing notions....EVEN A TOY TRAIN TRACK FOR JUNIOR. Oh, it is actually the living end, this storage unit. Sadly, it cost $1,500 to make in 1954, which pegs it as $12634.51 in 2012...but maybe if I take up carpentry tomorrow, I might be able to swing something...
Designer Kahane is featured on this blog, with scans of different rooms she did over her multi-decade career...her sense of color is just spot ON. I can't think of a room I liked as much since forties' inspirations of mine, Dorothy Draper and William Haines. I've got to look into her work some more and get back with you guys!
You can read the original article here...and again, if you have a garage and forty-two grand to throw around, this very same set up could be yours! I sigh a sigh of ages.
What do you think about the previously-a-carport space above? What would you do in your own home the same or differently? Have you seen any great interior design feats that just really motivated you to start rethinking your space? Any colors or swatches that really catch your eye and fire your imagination lately? Let a girl know!
That's all for today...see you guys tomorrow for Photo Friday!