WOMEN AND THEIR WORK

L’Art Moderne in the Home

Herewith MacLean’s offers the second of a series of articles dealing with modernistic house furnishings. The small house owner may not desire to apply the new mode to the decorative scheme of her own home, but examples of the new trend are interesting for their own sake.

MARY AGNES PEASE December 1 1929
WOMEN AND THEIR WORK

L’Art Moderne in the Home

Herewith MacLean’s offers the second of a series of articles dealing with modernistic house furnishings. The small house owner may not desire to apply the new mode to the decorative scheme of her own home, but examples of the new trend are interesting for their own sake.

MARY AGNES PEASE December 1 1929

L’Art Moderne in the Home

Herewith MacLean’s offers the second of a series of articles dealing with modernistic house furnishings. The small house owner may not desire to apply the new mode to the decorative scheme of her own home, but examples of the new trend are interesting for their own sake.

MARY AGNES PEASE

THE new spirit in design has been so far-reaching that it has affected everything from silks to saucepans, from automobiles to fountain pens. So extraordinary have been some of the expressions of modern art that they have supplied the makers of comic strips and vaudeville entertainers with laughterprovoking ideas, and have also been a boon to the conversationally deficient. Gradually, however, more grace has been introduced into the designs for modern furniture, especially on this continent, and the effort of the designers to produce things which reflect the present age is at last being recognized and accepted. As a consequence, much more general interest has been given

to contemporary design, which really has as its aim perfect appropriateness and harmonious beauty, and not—as is sometimes supposed—a desire to create something strange and new.

This aim has been followed in producing the furnishings illustrated in this article. They are of unusual interest for the reason that they were designed by an architect-decorator after he had made a special study of Canadian tastes, habits and conditions, with the idea of developing a style that would fit the needs of Canadian people. The result expresses modern ideas without the bizarre effect

sometimes seen. Although the furnishings are simple, they are distinctive and effective and, best of all, they are not prohibitive in price.

The Re-Furnishers

Y\ THEN I went to see these rooms the W other day, I was accompanied by a couple who had been married for many years and were in the position of having to purchase complete furnishings for their house on account of having lost all their possessions by fire. Fortunately their Lares and Penates had been well insured, and they were quite hilarious over the adventure of choosing an entire new outfit. They told me that they had no regrets for the furniture that was no more, because it had been, so to speak, “wished” on them by their parents on both sides of the family, who furnished the house while the young people were absent on their honeymoon. Everything had been purchased with an eye to wearing quality rather than to beauty, and consequently had little individuality or charm.

These two, to whom the fire had been so kind, were delighted with the rooms pictured. The husband was particularly charmed with the simplicity and beauty of the design and arrangement.

The simplicity in furniture today suggests all of the blessings and none of the hardships of former days. This simplicity may be very expensive, or it may be quite the reverse, depending on the materials and the workmanship. One thing that is very noticeable in the modern furnishing is the absence of effort to hide function. The idea seems to be to beautify the common things and leave them where they belong. It is rather interesting to note that this honesty of purpose has obtained also in fashions in clothes for some years, and has resulted in a general interest in calories and athletics.

In the rooms pictured, thoughtful consideration has been given to utility and scale as well as to design and comfort. There is an almost complete absence of

ornament. The idea of the designer is that decoration should not be applied but should be built in. The value of space and of convenient grouping has also been an important item of attention by the designer.

I found the dining room especially interesting. Everything in it has been built in except the dining table and chairs, which are constructed of golden mahogany. The walls are a putty shade, and color is introduced in the chair covers, curtains and rug, which are in a henna tone and blend beautifully with the wood, adding warmth to the rather neutral

background. The shelves, as will be seen are in all cases inverted; which makes for the symmetry of the room and provides places for china and ornaments where they can inconvenience no one and will be protected from dust.

A Dustless Kitchen

'“PODAY our hygienic dislike of dust has led to a decided preference for such objects as least collect it, and this idea is never lost sight of by the modern designer. It is particularly noticeable in the kitchen pictured, where every prospect pleases and no dust can be found. The breakfast alcove is an important and decorative part of this room. In the rounded corner a seat has been built in to follow the line of the wall. In front of the seat is a half-moon table which swings on a pivot to admit of easy access to the cushioned seat, and also to make possible its use as a kitchen table between meals. This table is a double-decked one and thus provides space for table implements and for holding an extra course for a meal out of sight until it is required. Plaid oilcloth in bright colors is used on the table, the swivel chair and the wall cushion, and also for the curtains. The kitchen china is very modern in design, and has the added attraction of being, oven-proof. The refrigerator, which does not appear in the picture, is placed in a wall recess so that it occupies no space in the room. This kitchen is full of light and color, and suggests comfort and convenience.

The living room has many points of unusual interest. The plain floor covering gives emphasis to the unusual rugs, the patterns of which are echoed in the sofa cushions in the adjoining sunroom. This room, like the dining room, has puttycolored walls, against which the soft jade covering of the chairs is in charming contrast, as is also the darkwood of the piano.

In the sunroom, the couches are built in and supplied with removable cushions. Built-in and recessed shelves are also provided for books and ornaments.

Modern in conception is also the wide expanse of window. With the new materials for building, it is possible to have windows of practically any size and shape; in fact, a whole wall could be occupied by a window. This is a move in the right direction, both from the standpoint of beauty and of health.

The bedroom and the dressing room abound in built-in furniture. The beds are stationary, as are also the couch in the dressing room and the little cupboards on each side of it. Like all the furniture in these rooms, there is nothing extreme in the design of these pieces. They are simple and charming. The dressing table is rather a unique piece, as it does not display its wares until required. When the double doors are opened, every possible contrivance for purposes of beautification is revealed. On each side of the bed, there is a well-arranged clothes cupboard. The colors in this room and in the dressing room are a lovely blend of blue and green and warm beige.

Novelties in Lighting

rT'HE artificial illumination in all the rooms has been most ingeniously carried out, and is very effective. You will notice that in some of the rooms the light comes from the ceiling by reflection. This new lighting is immensely popular, and is constantly being improved as the designers continue to explore the possibilities of indirect illumination. Aluminum is used for light diffusion in these rooms with excellent effect. It would be possible, I suppose, to use tin for this purpose with equally good result and at much less cost, especially for the hidden lighting.

One feels that these rooms may be liked more by men than by women. As stated in a former article in this department,

men are rather keen on stability in their homes, and will therefore be likely to hail the built-in ideas with joy. It is obvious that many of the decorative motifs of modern rooms are taken from the business background of the man of today, although so cleverly are they carried out that they do not suggest either the factory or the office. They do however show a businesslike tendency to eliminate as much detail and furniture as possible; which is one of the important features in modern decoration. It would, of course, be quite easy to introduce something more in the way of ornament if one felt that rooms, such as those pictured, looked lonely or too austere, but it is the aim of the designers of such rooms to bring gaiety in with color by paint or fabric or both. Lighting can also be of the greatest decorative effect if logically used.

Among the attractive features of the modern rooms are the places provided for the decorative pottery and the strange and amusing brass animals that are the modern successors to the glass-covered wax flowers and bric-a-brac of other days. For this purpose, shelves have been let into the walls and are introduced into tables and other pieces of furniture.

One of the characteristics of these modern interiors is the apparent simplicity of the color scheme. But although it is simply chosen, it gives the effect of quiet richness rather than of monotony.

Every piece of furniture pictured carries an air of dignity and suggests something of the best furniture of the past, as does all the work of the good designers. The chaste air of simplicity in the dining room chairs, for example, is not unlike the work of Sheraton or Hepplewhite. After all, art is an evolutionary process, and any change in design must of necessity have in it the elements of what has gone before if it is to live.