Old-House Interiors March/April 2012
One minor complaint shows up in my inbox year after year: “Too many of the houses you show are for the super-wealthy.” Or “please include articles about how to fix up/decorate on a modest income.” I think this issue of Old-House Interiors will please those readers. I think you’ll enjoy our two Visits: One features a quietly glamorous, not-very-big house built in 1956, which appealed to a young family who relish all of its original mid-century elements. The other shows an artsy bungalow in Pasadena, detail-rich inside and out, but hardly a mansion. (The Arts & Crafts period is especially egalitarian, as it stressed simplicity, natural and handmade items, and a rejection of “style.”)
Our architecture article, too, just happens to feature a house type familiar to all: America’s vernacular Greek Revival. Often modest—gable-front boxes or gable-and-ell farmhouses—they are marked by bold but simple details and straightforward floor plans. Neither colonial nor Victorian, Greek Revival houses lend themselves to plain-spoken treatments: painted country furniture and canvas floorcloths. High-style examples exist, of course, and many of them, North and South, have been fully restored, decorated, and furnished with period antiques. They’re great fun to study for inspiration.
That’s the point, really. I couldn’t afford most of the houses we publish, but I look at them for pure enjoyment—and to get ideas that can be adapted. Paint colors, furniture arrangement, window treatments, and the display of collections can be emulated, even if your “stuff” isn’t as pricey as what’s in the models. That said, I will continue to be on the lookout for budget-friendly renovations and down-to-earth examples. If you have a project or a whole house that qualifies, don’t be shy about sending photos.
Patricia Poore, Editor of Old-House Interiors