The Importance of Home
The FOCAL POINT of harmonious living is in the home. In a world torn by war, weakened by hunger, and blasted by atom bombs, it is more important than ever before to pick up the pieces and rework them into a fabric that will endure. Brotherhood of man can flourish best in warm rooms, on full stomachs, and in good company. A home charged with security, comfort, and beauty prolongs the battery of peaceful living. By incorporating your highest values in your home, you support one of the strongest pillars of a peaceful society.
Competing with the Outside World
In a world where the name bands, the night spots, and the juke boxes are competing with the fireside, the necessity grows for building a home that will be alluring and attractive. In order to be a stabilizing force in the best American tradition, every home will have to be more colorful and more charming than the “bright lights” outside it. Never in history has there been such a challenge and such an opportunity.
Creating a Home
Creating a home to hold the finest values of living is one of life’s great adventures. If your home is friendly and gracious, it will offer an invitation and a warmth that can never be matched. Be it a one-room apartment or a Georgian country house, it will have the same basic needs. You will want it as beautiful as possible; you will want it comfortable; and it must suit the way you live.
Avoiding MistakesNo one wishes a “home” like that of the coal miner who used to trudge back wearily each night from work and step around the white string rug in his front hall, which his wife insisted on placing there. Nor do you want one like that of the pint-sized wife who always had to sit in an oversized lounge chair or sofa, purchased by her six-foot husband without her consent.
The Perfect Home
We should all like to have the complete and perfect home, which would include everything down to the apple pie baking in the oven. It is not so easy to achieve. It takes time and effort. But, in the achieving, there is an infinite reward of happiness for all who live in it.
Developing Good Taste
The first step is one that will cost nothing. You can develop your latent good taste to appreciate fineness in all things. When you know the difference between good and bad design and can recognize the difference between fine and poor quality, you will have increased your sensitivity and awareness to beauty. Then, and only then, will you see that good taste is within your reach and be inspired to create something of your own at a budget you can afford.
This book is not for the person who thinks a mink coat is of more value than a new rug, nor for the one who puts a country-club membership above a year at college. Rather, it is for the person whose love of beauty, though unconscious, is a glow within the heart. It is for the realist who yearns for better living within the framework of a better home.
The Revolution in Home Life
Today there is a revolution in political, social, and economic life all over the world. It is the aftermath of war. Homes are not exempt from it. The maid less household is a war product—face it or not. Another basic domestic change, which will be with us for many years, is that space is now at a premium. Most new houses are smaller and have fewer rooms than houses in the past.
Today we find Spanish houses with cream plaster walls and red-tile roofs in the tropical and semitropical lands of Florida and California. They are well suited to the climate and terrain there. But have you ever noticed how inappropriate a Spanish house looks in a Chicago suburb, or in Westchester? It does not go with the countryside or the variations in the weather.
There are several other “imported” Traditional styles that suit most parts of our land. They are the French Provincial, the half-timbered English country-house style, and the formal English Regency, a distinguished evolution of the Georgian style.
The French Provincial, or French country house is built of white painted brick or stucco. It usually has a Mansard roof, with a short pitch on all four sides. (The name Mansard came from the famous French architect Mansard, who lived at the time of Louis XIV.) The windows are long, built from ceiling to floor, with either solid or louvered shutters, and the tops of the windows are frequently curved. The house is compact in shape but often has one or two wings which form a “courtyard.” It may be either one or two stories high.
English Country House
The English country house is also of white brick or stucco, with dark stained beams making a patterned effect across the upper stories. It has a plain shingled or simulated thatched roof, built at a steep pitch. It is usually rambling and has large brick or stone chimneys and groups of chimney pots.
The Regency style is a formalized Georgian type of house. Today’s interpretation of Regency has a white-brick or clapboard exterior with a classic doorway and a very short, pitched roof. As a rule, there are no shutters. Its formal appearance may be heightened by one-story, matching wings, which hold garage and porch.
Many of us prefer homes based on these styles of the past. They evoke in us emotions combining warmth, coziness, and security.