Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Old books for ideas and inspiration

The last couple of years I have been buying old books for the sole purpose of looking at the photos for decorating ideas.

My home was built in 1937 and though it is a Cape Cod style home there really isn't a distinct Cape Cod style of interior decorating. Nor are there a lot of examples to look at. The 1930's included the Great Depression. A time in which decorating your home was not the most important item on your agenda. You rarely run across a home built in the 1930's. Gear Acres was built in the time frame after the depression and pre World War II, which was another time in which Americans were vastly preoccupied with things other than decorating.

At the book stores I see numerous books on Victorian, Mission, bungalow, Arts and Crafts, and now even mid century styles. Authors have completely bypassed the 1930's. So I have resorted to old books published in the 1930's and 1940's for design guidance.

Gardening books from that era offer many photos of home exteriors and landscaping. Several of the interior design books from the 30's and 40's explain why we are now stripping paint off of our wood trim and reinstalling removed design elements. It's both horrifying and amusing to read their thoughts about why removing that built in buffet and extensive oppressive wood trim is the right design choice.

This week the postman delivered these books.
Starting on the left....How to build a house for under $3,500. I purchased that book to glean structural information. Hoping to gain a little insight into how and why they built the way they did. The book in the middle...Injurious Insects....has great photos of insects common in the garden plus a 'way cool' cover. In an attempt to stay away from chemicals in the garden, I'll read and see what they used in 1914 to curb their bug infestations. And last but not least a cookbook.....Ruth Wakefields' Toll House Tried and True Recipes. I purchased this book with nothing more than the intent of gaining a good recipe to get my "snack on". I was shocked when I opened the book to find a photo of Toll House. Seems that Toll House is a Cape Cod.......the decorating Gods work in mysterious ways. *For you Pepsi caps and cartons for codes to get free stuff from Pepsi.