Tuesday, July 24, 2012

1956 First Edition Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book

So I love old design books, not necessarily because I can glean a lot of inspiration from them (shag carpet matching the wallpaper anyone?) but because they are hilarious time capsules, and a good way of reflecting on timelessness vs. trendiness. And its fun to count how many ashtrays are in each of the rooms featured in this book.

I picked up this one at a thrift store in one of those "fill a bag with as many books as you can, pay $5 for the whole thing" sales, aka "we have too much shit and this is the easiest way to get rid of it." Anyways, its full of some gems, so lets Delorean it back to 1956...

Okay, so don't hate me, but this one really isn't that bad. I like the Mondriaan-style wall paper, and I can think of at least 40 readers of this blog alone that would mount cat statues on their wall.

And I kind of love these graphic couches and the primary color scheme they've got going on, even if the room is a bit matchy-matchy. But lets talk about THAT COFFEE TABLE THAT HAS A FERN BUILT INTO IT. Someone build that for me.

It has pretty timeless advice about making your home beautiful and practical. Plus, all of these pieces are gorgeous. I'd swap out the white carpeting for some hardwood floors, get less dowdy drapes and hang them higher, either paint over or replace that wood paneling to make it less of a cave, and add some personal touches like tchotchkees or photographs to it, but the bones are good.

It even tells you when you have bad fashion sense AND an ugly home!

Then sometimes you get a reminder that this was published in 1956. "Junior wants a wide open space to play and gay colors, Father needs a quiet spot to rest after a tough work day, and Mother wants a beautiful home to express her personality." It also suggests sectioning off a part of the home for Father to work on his stamp collection, "undisturbed by the rest of you." 

LOL SON, PLEASE. If Andy came home and asked that we convert the second bedroom into his Stamp Collection Room where he won't be disturbed by me, I'd laugh in his face and then wonder if he was like, secretly dissecting small animals in there or something. Mother has a job too, put down your fucking stamps and help me make dinner. 

And while some of the rooms are full of bright colors and clean lines, then there is shit like this. I don't know how this room "reflects the owners interests" unless the owner is interested in Ted Nugent, yuppies-from-the-80's art pieces, carpet you find on the free section of Craigslist, and a couch that is coveted by every ska-wannabe kid that stepped into a Hot Topic between 1992-1999.

Hope you enjoyed this trip back to Pleasantville, we'll be back tomorrow with some more easy projects!

And don't forget to enter the Radical Possibility Sponsorship Giveaway!!



  1. Love this post! I want that book! And I would totally rock the checkered couch (and many other pieces of the furniture featured here). Also, my mom just got a coffee table that has a cut-out for a plant or really large ashtray.

  2. Recently found your blog...so glad I bookmarked it. You are hilarious. And awesome.

  3. Reader #1 in favor of mounting cat statues on her wall!

  4. Hilarious lol. I keep re-reading the stamp collecting part...so funny. How long ago was this? It makes you wonder if your house will be the butt of jokes down the road. Watch, chevron pattern will make everyone roll their eyes and say "so 2012!"

  5. I LOVE this!!! And I do want a cat statue on my wall...yes.




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