Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Under the Guidance of Ruby Ross Wood

Can someone please tell me what it means when one would rather stay at home reading old magazines than to go out on the town? Well, whatever the diagnosis, I'm finding myself engrossed at night with my new stash of 1930s House & Gardens. There is a lot of good material in them that I'll feature in future blog posts.

So far, I'm intrigued by these five rooms that were created specifically for the May 1934 issue of the magazine. Some of the rooms' color schemes seem a little muddy, but there is a certain charm to the decor. (I especially find the valances to be rather striking.) It's worth noting that Ruby Ross Wood assisted the House & Garden editors in creating these design schemes. That makes the rooms especially intriguing, don't you think?

Because the condition of the magazine was so delicate, I had to photograph the photos rather than scam them- hence the photos' wonkiness. I'm also including the manufacturers of each room's furnishings beneath the corresponding photos. You might be interested to see that some of them are still in business today.

Image at top: The Living Room; furniture by Kittinger; Drapery and upholstery fabric by Schumacher; floor covering by Alexander Smith & Sons.

The Library. Furniture by Baker; drapery and upholstery fabric by Orinoka Mills; wallcovering by Thomas Strahan Company; floor covering by Armstrong Linoleum.

The Dining Room. Furniture by Baker; Drapery fabrics by Celanese Corporation; upholstery fabric by Greeff & Company; floor covering by Karastan.

No. 1 Bedroom. Furniture by Kittinger; Upholstery fabric by Greeff & Company; wall covering by Thibaut.

No. 2 Bedroom. Furniture by Tapp, de Wilde & Wallace, Inc; wallcovering by Thibaut; floor covering by Mohawk.


  1. I find it interesting that some of the valances are so short. Bedroom #1 in particular although, it seems to echo the wallpaper border.

  2. Anonymous8:12 AM

    Thank you for these. Photos of Wood's work are hard to find.

  3. Kerry, I thought the same thing when I looked at that photo.

  4. Anon- finding photos of her work is like finding a needle in a haystack!

  5. A fascinating post, especially from a historical point. The use of color is the real story here, I think. Unfortunately the product placement got in the way of better design, but it is a great reflection of meant-to-be-achievable (as opposed to the fantasy Art Deco sets of the movies) residential interior design of the mid 30s.

  6. Agreed, that the story is fascinating from the standpoint of color, unusual and subtle combinations
    which were Ruby's trademark. But it's also nice to
    see a pair of comfy chairs near the bay window of
    the dining room, taking the edge off the usual grimness of a dining room when not set up for
    Thanks Jennifer, for today's treat.

  7. Classicist- So true; these rooms were far more attainable than a Cedric Gibbons designed set living room.

  8. Toby- In fact, when I read the corresponding article, it mentioned a dining room, and I thought to myself "What dining room?" Looks far more livable than your average dining room.

  9. so interesting to see that what looked good in the 30's, pretty much looks good now. By the quality of these photos I don't think you have a disease at all, you just happen to love the design. That is a good thing in my book :)

  10. B. Brooks7:36 PM

    Colors seem very much in keeping with contemporary theory and conventional good taste. Harold Donaldson Eberlein would approve.