By Barb Schmidt
Home fashion has come full circle. Many design trends first made popular in
the 1920s are back in vogue and stronger than ever. For example, the cottage-style
home, a blend of farmhouse and bungalow that is best defined by the simple
clean lines of the 1920s, has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent
The American Furniture Manufacturers Association has identified cottage
style as a popular new direction for home furnishings. The cozy cottage look
speaks to consumers who are seeking comfortable, easy-to-live-with styling.
After the International Home Furnishings Markets in 2002, the association
also reported an unveiling of what is being dubbed the new “American Style”
-- a nostalgic mixture of Mission, Shaker, country and cottage influences while
incorporating contemporary and multicultural elements.
Tricks for achieving design authenticity in the cottage-style home include
using vintage pieces where possible and carefully blending your own collection
of home artifacts into the interior décor. The most successful interior design
maintains the integrity of the home and respects the architecture of the neighborhood.
Old Homes, New Spaces
The way we use our homes has changed dramatically since the 1920s. Today's
rooms are bigger and often serve a variety of functions. Many owners of 1920s
homes dream of tearing down walls to create a great room like those so popular
in today's homes. However, moving walls is often the most costly item in a
renovation project and can leave you with a room that feels out of place in
period architecture. Before making plans to tear down walls, carefully consider
how the room will really be used and plan to create a space that is proportionate.
Bigger isn't always better in today's cottage style, especially when trying
to create a feeling of intimacy or coziness.
The bathroom often presents the biggest challenge in a period renovation. Finding
vintage fixtures means scrounging the salvage yard and retrofitting them into
a new plan. And the vintage pieces often don't meet today's new building-code
requirements. American Standard has brought back some original designs first
introduced in 1922. The Standard Collection includes three vintage-style sinks,
faucets, a bathtub, a toilet and accessories designed in the Art Deco style.
The Art Deco period is known for simplicity and great design and blends well
with today's new cottage style.
Tile and Trim
In the '20s and '30s, tile was porcelain with a smooth finish in white,
pale pink or light green with black accents. Square tile was used on the walls
with trim about halfway up. Floors were mosaic in style, often with a border
and solid-color interior. All these types of tiles are available today, and
patterns are often available from the local tile shop.
Mirrors and Metal
The trend of “built-ins” was invented during this period because of the desire
to keep everything neat and clean. Decoration was always included with a functional
piece, so hidden medicine cabinets became the rage. Everything had its place,
including towels, which were often stored on bars integrated onto the sink.
Beautiful light fixtures and particularly sconces were used frequently in the
bathroom. Frosted glass and metals were a popular option. Restored older fixtures
or new reproductions are available to enhance the bathroom's atmosphere. And
don't forget the dimmer switches for every light. Bathrooms are a romantic
getaway in your home!
1920s bathrooms featured other distinctive elements that have made a comeback
today. Hot-water-heated towel bars were the rage in those early decades but
were phased out during the Depression. When the economy rebounded, heated towel
bars didn't make the same comeback. It wasn't until the mid '90s that they
started popping up in bathrooms again. Warm towels can be one of the most luxurious
parts of a relaxing bath. Electrically heated towel bars are available in different
finishes from a variety of bath fixture and department stores. For more information
from American Standard, call (800) 524-9797, ext. 199 or visit www.americanstandard-us.com.
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