We first created a site called Antique Home & Style that was intended to span the entire period of 1900 to 1960. But as we continued our research, we fell under the spell of the incredibly buoyant and optimistic era of the Mid Century.
We decided to create a separate site that focuses exclusively on the middle of the 20th century.
Mid Century Home Style starts with the end of the Depression and includes the influences of the great Industrial design movement, the Bauhaus, and Art Moderne. This period is sometimes called the Streamline period just preceding World War II for its emerging Modern aesthetic.
Not only were Americans battered by the Depression, but World War II came along from 1941 to 1945 and virtually every aspect of domestic life was touched. New home construction came to a standstill with the exception of building to house defense workers. Materials and food were rationed. Everyone who was able grew Victory Gardens. And many of the husbands, brothers, and sons were drafted into the huge American military machine that ground its way around the globe. All of this was accomplished across the US with a high degree of patriotism and cooperation. Fighting Nazis made it a just war. Anyway ... Design was simplified and in many cases home grown.
After the war ended, the industries that had built bombers again turned their attention to building and furnishing homes for the freshly minted young families who began marrying and procreating en masse. Thus the Boomer period. The late 40s and 50s were hard work, but they eventually gave way to prosperity, more cars, freeways, second bathrooms, bigger houses in the suburbs on bigger lots. During the first half of the 50s, homes remained on the smaller side and the middle class remained optimistic but cautious.
In the mid-50s there was a sea change — a transformation. The generation who had been forged in the Depression and War as children were coming of age, and their perspective was considerably more opportunistic with much higher expectations than previous generations. Those expectations included an unbridled and energetic devotion to capitalism tempered by a recognition of social reponsibilties. The proceeds of their efforts funded a lot of innovative improvements across the spectrum.
By the early 60s, the average middle-class home was 1200 square feet up from about 900 in 1939. Two bathrooms and three bedrooms were the new standard as well as a kitchen with a dishwasher, refrigerator, and deep freeze.
Taken together, the years at the mid-20th- century were a period of profound change and nowhere is that change more apparent that in our material culture.
Strictly speaking, "mid century" is 1950, but that doesn't reflect the breadth of changes that took place in the middle part of the 20th century. We've decided to encompass the last few years of the Great Depression, through World War II, the post WWII era, the 50s to 1963.
We've decided, somewhat arbitrarily, to use 1963 as our cut-off date. It marks the end of the Boomer generation, but more importantly for us and much of our material, it begins a new period in copyright law.
Prior to 1963, copyright had to be renewed to be extended. Since more than 85% of printed material was not renewed, we are confident that we won't be violating any copyrights. We use the Cornell University table on copyrights to simplify what we may and may not publish.
That said, it is possible for us to have trespassed. If you hold a valid copyright, please contact us.
In the absence of any other logical place to put this snippet of information. We rely on Pantone colors for descriptions both poetic and specific.
To reach us, please send us an email.
To reduce marketing junk and other unsolicited mail, we've opted to not publish a physical address. Because we're a virtual entity that seems appropriate, but if you want to reach us, send an email; we'll respond with phone and mailing information when appropriate.
© 2010 — Mid Century Home Style