We've recently moved into a new house. New to us that is, because it was built in 1932. While we were house hunting, our ideal was a Victorian or Edwardian house because we like the style, history and architecture. Then we found this; a standard 1930s three bed semi which has had all its original features stripped and replaced with hideous fake beams and flowery borders sometime in the 1980s. Three things clinched the deal. First, the short distance to work for both of us and then the fantastic views front and back (we're surrounded by fields). Finally, I did a nifty side-step in my mind (as us females are want to do) from liking Victorian to seeing the potential in 1930s design.
Before we signed on the dotted line I did some research into 1930s architecture and design, as it was an era that I didn't really know much about. Did art deco last long enough to influence the 1930s? Was it common in the average home? What sort of furniture did people have? What were the fashionable colours and materials? I was intrigued to find a lot of design and style ideas that I hadn't really considered before.
It made me realise how common place and reproduced Victorian 'style' has become. Walk into any of the big DIY chainstores and you'll no doubt find a repro Victorian fireplace. In fact, I bet a lot of peole are ripping out their original 1930s fireplaces and replacing them with reproduced Victorian ones. A quick search round our local antique and reclamation places proved that 1930s furniture and features aren't that common. 1930s style began to seem just that little bit different.
Conversely, it was amazing to see how much of our modern furniture design and decor is influenced by 1930s styling. Leather and chrome? 1930s. Wood bent into curved frames? 1930s. Streamlined shapes? 1930s. Solid oak floors? 1930s. Looking at photographs of original 1930s furniture, it's wierd how modern it looks. Take these chairs for example, for each pair the one on the left is a modern design available from Ikea, the one on the right is a 1930s original.
Suddenly, 1930s design went from being a vague concept to an interesting proposition and owning a 1930s house, missing its original features, became an exciting challenge. We don't intend to slavishly follow 1930s design in every room, but we do aim to bring some life back into the house with a nod to 1930s design here and there.