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Small homes of the 1920s

Posted by lavender_lass (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 5, 11 at 9:55

My farmhouse was built in 1904, with an addition in the 1950s, but I've always wanted the design to reflect the 1920s. That's what my garden style seems to be, so I thought it would be fun to design the house that way, too.

I love the big, bulky, but simple trim around the doors and windows. I've always wanted something that's kind of a blend of cottage and farmhouse, with a bit of whimsy. I'm not an Art Deco person at all.

Anyway, I've been reading and discovered that in the late 1920s, there was an interest in what might best be described as folklore or fairy tale style. It combined characteristics of English cottage and French provincial styles, had lots of color and painted furniture.

Apparently, this was a result of WWI and the time Americans spent in Europe. The storybook style in California, with the charming little cottages, came out of this movement. One of those was the inspiration for Snow White's cottage in the Disney movie.

So, as some of you know, I've been trying to create a bit of a fairy tale look in my kitchen and combine the best of english cottage and french farmhouse to create my own look. Well, I guess it turns out, I'm just trying to recreate what was popular 90 years ago! LOL Well, at least I'm in the right decade :)

I'm going to keep researching and trying to find more pictures, but if anyone else has any pictures, links, book recommendations, etc. (for home or garden) I'd really appreciate it. In the garden, I've tried to keep all the flowers that were around before or up to the 1920s. My 'newest' roses are probably the hybrid musks. It seems to be a good fit, so now I'm off to do more research.

Here are a few pictures and a link to storybook style homes, if anyone is interested :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Storybook style


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

I love the storybook style! I think it would be too expensive to recreate on a large scale (and it would confuse the building inspector!) but I plan to build a few storybook outbuildings on our property once the main buildings are done.

I wonder what the building inspector would say if I built my house a little crooked, and with a sag to the roofline? It would be fun to build a place that REALLY looked 100 years old! It would also be an interesting mental challenge for this life-long toolmaker who makes a living by excruciating precision. And then I'd have to prove to people it was intentional, not a result of shoddy workmanship! Maybe if it was on the blueprints.....


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

There is a book called "Storybook Style" by Aaron Gellner and Douglas Kiester. I got it when I moved in to a similar house. It would be a good book for you and would provide a lot of inspiration. Also, the books "The Bungalow" and "Outside the Bungalow" by Paul Duscherer could be helpful. Another is "Cottages by the Sea" by Linda Leigh Paul. This one focuses on Carmel, CA, which is home to some great examples of the style.

The Spadena House in CA is probably the arcetypal reference for Storybook Style. It was built by an art director to serve as a movie studio HQ in 1921. So whimsical was the goal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Spadena House


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

Just what I was thinking, jakabedy: Carmel, CA. I google that place for inspiration frequently. Aren't they the most charming little houses!? Not quite the same, but somewhat related is the set of plans by New South Classics.


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

When I was a kid I lived on this street and baby sat at the house in the three pictures. It was a storybook house with turrets and curved front door and inside had custom kitchen cabinets with curved top doors on them. There was a fireplace you could stand in and upstairs in the main part of the house was a fun balcony room that over looked the lower living room dinning room kitchen.you climbed up a curved stone like stairway in the turret to get there. There were only these rooms on this main part of the house.

Then you walked out through the court yard, there was no pool then, to the back part of the house and there were three bedrooms and a family room in that wing. Was really kind of weird. they did have intercom between the two houses and it kind of freaked me out to baby sit with baby in another building away from me. They said it was fine.And with baby monitor I could even hear her breathing.

Off topic. To make this house even more enchanting was a long trestle table with high backed chairs and terracotta tile floors and the living room was sunken a step and the topper was they had one of those music boxes that played large metal disks with the little punched tabs that made the music as the disk turned. I can not remember the name of them. I loved that house and dreamed of buying it some day.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures 16-17-18


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

I think that's a nickleodean, if I'm not mistaken.


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

Found a picture of one kind of like the one they had. I thought I remembered a horn with theirs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Music box


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

The storybook or fairtale themed home brought to mind an article I read not long ago in Old House Journal about the "mushroom houses" in Charlevoix, MI, designed and built by Earl Young. He started them in the 1920s, got stalled by the depression and finished them in the late 30s. He used local boulders, some of them massive, and many of the houses have undulating roofs that look like mushroom caps. I could see hobbits and fairies and Snow White's dwarfs all feeling at home in these houses. I've linked the article below. Just for fun.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mushroom houses of Charelvoix


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

These are so unique! If I had the money to hire someone else to build me one or remodel one for me I'd have one.


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RE: Small homes of the 1920s

Those mushroom houses are fabulous. Truly a dream home in my world.


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