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THEA 241 (Babinskaya): Midterm

Mousetrap

You're researching how homes in the 1950's were decorated; your Professor is letting you choose one of these three regions (UK, USA, Australia).

Below you will find information about interior design in the 1950's for those three regions. Keep in mind country house styles may differ from city flats. Also, consider that in war torn and still rationing UK (and maybe Australia) a young couple with limited funds that's just inherited an Aunt's home may not be purchasing the newest in furniture trends but working with earlier pieces that came with the home.

Don't forget to research the available technology  (ex: the sofa may be 1930's but a phone will probably be the 50's).  

I'm going to be updating this guide; once you've made your style decision (aka know the country, region if there will be a mix of new and inherited pieces)  please let me know so I can make sure the library will have materials you need!

Consider: 

  • Learning the names of design/style trends 
  • Find the names of major designers at that time
  • Look for primary source images in periodicals (like ladies home journals)  that advertise the ideal home decorations 
  • Try to differentiate between high fashion design and the middle-class reality of home decoration and appliances. 
  • Look for secondary sources that review the period (encyclopedias, books on period style)
  • Don't forget about Museums and Historical Society resources.  

 

England

 

 

British Interiors

America

American Interiors

American Middle-class homes 

Search terms:

  • Mid-Century Modern 
  • Mid-Century Modest 
  • "Colonial" or Minimal Transitional" or "Minimal Modern"
  • Minimal Tudor Cottage
  • Cape cod house or American colonial styles
  • Usonian house or Prairie Style > Frank Lloyed Wright 
  • Arts & Crafts styling or  Ranch Style or Raised Ranch or Split Level Ranch
  • > William J. Leveitt or Levitt & Sons homes. 
  • Lustron Prefabricated 
  •  

Australia

"In the 1950s and 1960s Australian architects were once again inspired by postwar California, where – like in Australia – families enjoyed more prosperity, had more children and moved to the suburbs to live in their own homes.  

In both California and Australia, architects translated an emphasis on lifestyle and a desire to connect with the outdoors into residential housing. Thus, Mid-century homes had large windows and sliding doors, open-plan living and interconnected living spaces, along with sheltered courtyards and spacious gardens. " --houzz

Search Terms 

  • Mid-Century Modern
  • Postwar Modern 
  • Australia 1950s Interiors 

Primary Publications: 

  • Australian House and Garden

  • The Australian Women's Weekly

Architect and Architectures  

How did Australian homes get their look? 

  • Postwar triple-fronted brick veneer 
  • Pavilion style > Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Harry Seidler
  • ‘California Bungalow
  •  Queenslanders (19th cen- late 30s)
  • Federation style (1880 to 1910)
  • Inner-city Terrace (1850s to 1890s) 

Australian Homes & Interiors