Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mid Century Magnificent (1951 Interiors from "House and Garden")

Good afternoon!

How's tricks today? Same old, same old here at the biblioteca. Like I told you, I'm still slugging my way through House and Garden's 1951 issues in my idle moments, and that oversized tome sure does pack a wallop page for page. While I thought 1947 was my all time favorite hands down year (and it may still be), 1951 is giving it a run for its money in terms of outrageously gorgeous interiors. I've been snapping photos left and right in my cubicle of illustrations, advertisements, and pictures of finished rooms that are as visionary as the twenty-first century while firmly planted in the twentieth.

Come take a look at some of the rooms that make me want to buy a house so I can just start from scratch in my new surroundings! There is so much to love in all of these...

I was looking at some house for sale in Inglewood online not that long ago whose current owner/tenant was a backdrop and mural painter by trade-- and boy, could you tell (in a good way) by his house. The whole living room featured this enormous, brilliantly done still life in the style of the old Dutch masters that took up an entire long wall-- so much more dramatic than even a wallpaper mural, an actual canvas hanging of items blown up to 1,000 x their size. I feel similarly about this gigantic textile hanging behind the sofa...while I might choose something other than this abstract peacock for my subject, I am all about the format and style of this installation. And how about the room? The texture of the squiggly-line rug and the curtains made in matching fabric to the chairs, all with that beige and green accent and then POW, red couch. I can't get over how fifties' Hollywood this looks to me-- a little outsized-bordering-on-garish, but SO much more fun than the miles of beige and "linen" colors that are in expensive houses today! Also, that Chinese-style figure lit from behind like a religious vision...I VOTE YES ON PROP THIS.

This room was not near so dark in the print version, but the overcast reference floor workroom seems to have leant its drab lighting to the tableau...mea culpa, peeps. I wanted you to see the single-bed attached to a queen size head board, but outfitted with racks to create a floating bedside table. Do you love that? I also like how the triad of pictures are lined up to the one edge of the bed, and the combinations of shaggy white carpet, tile flooring, and the yellow/turquoise contrast. They just don't make 'em like they used to! That's why we have to study these old publications so we can replicate the design process-- I love how clean and yet how fun it all looks.

Speaking of fun, lime green, emerald green, and pink, working together in perfect harmony:

I feel like paraphrasing Audrey Hepburn in Charade to tell you about how I feel here: "You know what's wrong with this room? Absolutely nothing." Things Cary Grant and this room have in common: unimpeachable perfection in line and style. The one thing that could make this room better would be to have Cary Grant in this room, fussing over the newspaper and coffee in an red ascot and perfect casual grey suit. Dream life, fulfilled. At any rate, I love the spindly, atomic legs of the chairs, the fact that two of them have arms and are captains' chairs (!!), the diminuitive side board and moderist china cabinet, and that single panel of tropical wallpaper. Adventure, glamour, excitement... this room has it, and how.

I have a green couch in my green den next to a green lamp (see this photo for details), and I was wondering if it was too matchy matchy until I saw this room. Same situation-- slightly lighter than the walls sofa chair here, apple green walls, and this guy even threw in green mats on gold frames to match the wall. So he's more guilty than I am of matchy matchiness! I wish my room was a little less Kermit-colored, but I haven't decided what color it should be instead-- this room seems to vote for no change at all. I just wonder how much less cramped the space would look with white walls and all those colorful accessories and furniture. What's your take? Also, someone please give me that wall clock.

Look how elegant this living room in the same palette is. Maybe I'm wrong to want to change! I love how low backed the couch is and how enormous the side lamps and main picture are-- a study in Billy Baldwin (the decorator, not the actor) like balance of  proportion. I forgot to take a snap of the caption-- for all I know, this is a room he did:

Hate to spoil it for you here in the middle of this post, but this is my vote for best best room. UGH. IT IS LIKE A SYMPHONY OF COLOR. I love the wood paneling and Kentile Corktile flooring (which, believe it or not, was all this room was an ad for-- there's so much more to it), the pairing of midnight blue and robin's egg blue with the sky blue of the curtains...the weird side table with built in planter/lamp, the bench/credenza to the right, and OH MY GOODNESS THAT GLOBE. Somebody on the dang Midcentury page on Facebook had one of those the other day and I was, seeing it in its correct 1951 setting, I am even more jealous.

Take a closer look at the bench/credenza's vignette, which is like a way calmer version of something in my house already:

Do you see the Indonesian puppet hanging to the right of the map? Just like the ones I bought last weekend? How do you like that! The wall map of Central Mexico and the carving on the wall tie for second as "thing I like the most" in this spread.

You can see more Asian influence, as in the first room in this post, from the above room-- the so-low-as-to-be-almost-backless couch grouping is filled out with a set of pillows, and I LOVE, LOVE that there are two tiny coffee tables spaced apart instead of one large one. You could push the two together to make a large square one if you wanted to, or pretty much pick up most of the things in the room and rearrange them. Fluidity in a room or at least the ability to change things around without working a whole day slinging furniture is one thing I'm going to think about if I ever move. The wall decal or paper mural is not my favorite but the windows and the furniture make it totally not worth mentioning that I'm not 100% into it. Move me into this room, I do not object, it's lovely!

This is a good example of what I was saying about white walls-- I think this room looks way more contemporary with white walls and colorful everything-else. I really like the tree branch in what looks like an umbrella cranks the whole set-up to a 10 from maybe a 7 or an 8. And that rug! TRY and spot the juice stains on this baby...clever and stain-camouflaging.

My folks have a similar brick-wall-o-hearth and the former owners of the house took this panel's suggestion of painting the brick white to have it blend better with the interior. Not bad, not bad. I appreciate the gallery-style pictures and clock over the couch and wish I could show similar restraint in my wall-hanging proclivities. Someday, someday, I'll learn. I usually don't like dark shades (very TGIFridays or TJ Maxx or , to continue with a trend, just plain "tacky"), but these look nice in their similarly stately surroundings.

Besides this built in tv with its tiny, 1951 screen, doesn't the orange combined with the white in this next one look like something from 1968-1969? The red rug and the LEGS on that table are so cool. And you thought color coordinating your books was something Apartment Therapy thought up (I did too, no lie, but we were both wrong!).

I like the tiny, wonderful, Tony Duquette-esque touches here, like what I am really hoping is an antique Pierrot automaton to the right of the mantle, the star burst clock, and the tortoise-shells on display on the mantle itself. And those enormous candle sticks.

Last but not least, toile, toile, and MORE toile:

I should be opposed to this as I am always telling myself I am not a fan of toile, but I guess it's capri pants and button up blouses of this material to which I chiefly object. This on the other hand, is GORGEOUS. The matchiness! Against that dark, dark purple and black iron furniture and those gold framed pictures! The outdoor style glass table as a breakfast table! This room is everything to me right now, it's definitely my second favorite after the globe room.

So... I didn't get this in any earlier than yesterday, shame on me! But let's dish anyway-- which of these rooms is your favorite? What are some key decorating tenets you tend to stick to when feathering your nest? Do you have any vintage interior design or decorating books you hold dear to your heart? Inquiring minds want to know.

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow for Photo Friday! Have a great Thursday night (we're almost to the weekend)! Til then.

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