Monday, December 08, 2008

Saving Ways Can Become Saving Graces

Or so House & Garden told its readers back in 1948. It seems that whenever there has been a downturn in the economy, magazines have made sure to include money saving tips amidst the images of beautiful and aspirational interiors. And in this sixty year old issue, H&G had all sorts of frugal tips. Of course, the one suggestion that came up throughout the article was the impact of a fresh coat of paint. Slap some paint on an old piece of furniture and voila! Instant and chic update.

Some of the tips they gave are a tad dated, but there are some nuggets of wisdom here. And I love how creative Mrs. Gerard Lambert was. Just how much free time did she have to come up with such clever ideas? Who knows, but it makes me wonder what other tricks were up her sleeve. But I think the real reason I'm showing these images today is because the illustrations by Charles Heilemann are just charming, don't you think?


"Line an alcove with a bold pattern. A jog or an alcove becomes an asset if you give it a personality of its own by lining it with an assertive motif."


"Dramatize a picture with shutters."



"Match your closet interior and bedrom walls by lining them with the same flowered wallpaper."


"Paint a headboard, add a ruffle"


"A towel rack of a gay color is used by Mrs. Gerard Lambert to hold magazines."

"A wicker stand, brightened by paint, holds Mrs. Gerard Lambert's garden shoes."


"Paper your walls with plaid chintz. The dashing wall and ceiling treatment which William Pahlmann used for the boy's room...dramatizes odd pieces of furniture."


"Frame a door in growing ivy."


"Paper a chest to match walls and ceiling."


"Transform a bombé chest with black lacquer."

25 comments:

  1. I'm in love with these illustrations! The plaid boys room and black lacquer chest especially appeal to me.

    I don't think I'll save much money by wallpapering my bedroom closet -- such a chic idea though. But the magazine rack is attainable!

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  2. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Thanks, Jennifer, these are great! Now if only I could find a place where chintz was cheap enough that I could tent a whole room in it and still be frugal. It's probably the same place that sells the bombé chest that I could lacquer! ;)

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  3. I sooooo enjoyed this post. I adore old magazines. The illustrations are wonderful. Isn't is amazing how decorating styles repeat themselves and everyone claims that it's something new!?!

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  4. This reminds me of the divine Diana Vreeland's " Why don't you..?" for Harper's Bazaar. And the illustrations are so incredibly charming! I think ( but perhaps this is because illustration is so rare now) it all seems so do-able, like you can just do any of these projects in one mad weekend. This is very inspring to me, as I am in the middle of working with plumbers, handy men and painters - yikes! Lovely Post - thank you POC!

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  5. Courtney and Anon- I'm guessing that wallpaper and chintz cost a little less back then than it does today! I think we'll just have to stick to paint. At least that's still relatively affordable!!

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  6. Still loving the lacquered chest and growing ivy - and I aspired to be a woman who has a rack of just garden shoes.

    Lovely as always

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  7. Great post! I love the illustrations. It would be nice to frame a few of them and hang in an office or bedroom...powder room...

    I don't think the ideas are too out dated at all.. Love the magazine rack idea!

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  8. I love the idea of papering (or perhaps painting) the chest to match the wallpaper. Feels like a fun thing for a guest room!

    Love the illustrations as well. Too bad today's shelter mags don't do much with illustration. Like chintz and wallpaper - it's probably too expensive today!

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  9. I like the framing a door with ivy. Have seen similar vine-training over interior windows and doors in 19th-century watercolours of Dutch or Swedish in teriors. Lovely idea, classic, so easy. And fyi: Mrs Gerard Lambert (née Grace Lansing Mull) was the stepmother of Bunny Mellon!

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  10. I'm so glad y'all like the illustrations. I wish more people were doing work like this.

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  11. These illustrations are so beautiful, I want to frame them. My favourite suggestion is the ivy growing around the door frame - i never would have thought of that. xv

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  12. Love the illustrations they are so charming. It's so much more inspirational to me to see interiors shown this way. I just had the opportunity to meet Carlton Varney and we chatted about the slow death of hand rendering and interior illustration. So sad!

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  13. So often the less expensive solution is so much more charming.

    The renderings are great--is that a pet gate in the doorway of the room with the black bombe chest?

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  14. What a timely and charming post. I love the illustrations!

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  15. These are wonderful - they make me want to put away the prisma color markers and learn paint with watercolors - so dreamy, soft and evocative. They put CAD to shame.

    I think they'd look wonderful framed as a series on a bright, solid wall.

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  16. What a great (and timely) post -- I will definitely have to propose some of these ideas to my clients!
    -Brett
    www.designbabylon.com

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  17. I love the Jeremiah type of interior illustration. A lot of these ideas carried into the 70's like taking a flea-market chest and covering it with wallpaper. House beautiful 70's recession era "Decorating with sheets!"
    What a charming post!
    Best,
    Philip

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  18. It is indeed a pet gate! Such commonsense ... The only idea I find egregious is the shutters framing the painting.

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  19. I was happy to see the idea of growing ivy around a doorway. I have two pots of English ivy that I'm trying to coax to grow around an arch.

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  20. I agree with you Aesthete about the shutter idea.

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  22. I just love the illustrations. I am about to drop off my serpentine front Louis Louis inspired dresser from the 20s to a car body shop to get it painted shiny black (keeping the Louis Louis brass pulls) and very excited. I'm crazy for furniture painted with car paint. I had a large coffee table done last year. Very important to keep the pets with their nails away from it though. Scratches a lot easier than I thought, but looks fantastic. Great idea for a post. Thank you!

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  23. This is GREAT! Where did you find it? How appropriate! The black lacquer is right up to date too. Fun!

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  24. Wall closets and walk-in-cupboards are things that don't seem to exist in Germany. Now the wallpaper suggestion is just great to turn an ugly big wardrobe into something bearable to the eye. Thank you for that!

    And the picture ARE charming!

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  25. these illustrations are STUNNING! i'm obsessed! thank you so much for the intro to charles heilemann's work! cheers, -p.p.

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