Resources for Period Accurate Decorating
December 26, 2013 7:43 PM   Subscribe

I own a 1931 Arts & Crafts style house in Seattle, and am looking for resources to help me give it some "period accurate" accents. (For example, my foyer houses a working, refurbished phone from the 1930's).

The kitchen has been redone in a more 'modern' style, but the rest of the house is mostly untouched - original doors, built-ins, bay window, etc. I'd like to find resources for period accurate stylings around light fixtures (indoors and out), fireplaces/mantels, etc.

Specifically I'm interested in both photographs of Arts & Crafts/Craftsman houses from the 1930's as well as recommendations on where/how to acquire either antique or reproduced items.

Any and all suggestions welcome - I'm hoping to find ideas as well as resources.
posted by dotgirl to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Do you read American Bungalow? That's a great start, both for its tons of ideas and ads as well as its location-specific articles. You can usually pick up some copies at Barnes and Noble or even Whole Foods.
posted by Madamina at 7:49 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

This brief article has some books that they recommend, including this potentially-relevant one. (Some of the suggested books might also be useful.) There's an Arts and Crafts guild in Seattle, and they have a list of local experts who could probably help with acquiring the items you're looking for.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:00 PM on December 26, 2013

In Seattle:
Talk to the people at The RE Store.
Check out the Phinney neighborhood tool library. Lots of those folks have craftsman homes.
posted by valannc at 8:08 PM on December 26, 2013

Have you tried just plain old Google image searches? I have a similar sort of house and when renovating (and trying to retro-renovate and restore instead of update) GIS fetched up lots of useful photos.

Rejuvenation has some hard-to-source things that may be of interest.
posted by kmennie at 8:21 PM on December 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

House of Antique Hardware carries some amazing stuff as far as light switches, hinges, etc.

Antique Home Style has some great original images/catalogs/etc.

There are thousands of Pinterest boards for exactly this.

And then, of course, there's the world of finding what you want in historic photos and then Ebay/Etsy/googling the heck out of the item.
posted by Gucky at 8:28 PM on December 26, 2013

This magazine is a lot of fun and the back of it is chock full of period resources.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:57 PM on December 26, 2013

Not sure what, exactly, you know about the period, so here's some 101 type information - if you want deeper stuff, just say so.

There is a series of three books that I really like as a survey of arts and crafts style:
The Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Home
Inside the Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Interior
Outside the Bungalow: America's Arts and Crafts Garden
These give you lots of pictorials of a lot of bungalow interiors and exteriors and give a pretty good idea of the style.

Reprints of period Stickley catalogs are available. The brothers Greene were also very influential, especially in the American arts and crafts movement and things like their cloud lift motif really informed that which came later. Much of Frank Lloyd Wright's work would be apropriate to your era, though the philosophy of the Prairie School was all "great planes" inspired though less common in your area than they would be in the midwest.

By 1931 things were pretty heavily art deco, but for residential architecture the transition was more one of accents rather than a massive design revolution - more curves, lighter color schemes with less dependency on earth tones, more chrome in the bathroom, and so on.

As a source for idea mining for this sort of thing, I've found Pinterst to be pretty useful along with good old fasioned Google image searches.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:16 AM on December 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

What's your price range?

If you're looking for on-the-cheap, I have found some amazing things in your era while browsing thrift stores, vintage stores, used furniture stores, flea markets, etc. (I personally am looking for midcentury. I have the feeling that there's more midcentury stuff still out there, but it's much more sought after right now, so some of the Art Deco stuff I've found has been criminally underpriced -- mostly smalls like kitchen and d├ęcor items, but there was a fabulous seven-piece waterfall bedroom set for $1K that I still think about.)

The ReStore is a great source for architectural salvage in some areas (varies greatly); thrift stores may have things like lighting fixtures. You can also find straight-up architectural salvage stores, which will be more expensive but have nicer things.
posted by pie ninja at 5:14 AM on December 27, 2013

Depending on how skilled you or your friends are with woodworking, Dover Publishing has several affordable books (like, eight bucks) with measured drawings and instructions for building Mission/Arts & Crafts furniture. Dover reprints classic stuff, so it's period-authentic, and they have a lot of smaller ideas like shelves and plant stands that would make perfect starter projects to add a little period flair.
posted by Madamina at 9:15 AM on December 27, 2013

You might find some nice reproductions at this Frank Lloyd Trust site.
posted by mefireader at 11:56 AM on December 27, 2013

The Dover stuff is OK, but unless you're kind of into making furniture already, I think I might use the Dover reprints more as a reference and get something more like this or this if I was actually going to try my hand at building some of this stuff.

That reminds me of another source - Robert Lang's Shop drawing series - most notably the interiors book though, if you're using them to idea mine, all 5 books in the series are pretty good.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 10:07 AM on December 28, 2013

Craftsman Home Connection
posted by sarajane at 5:35 AM on December 29, 2013

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