Questions, answers and advice for people who own or work on houses built during the 20th century.
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We have just bought a 1940 stone house in San Antonio. We understand the current kitchen is about 30 years old (St. Charles light blue cabinets). We want to redo - where do I start to figure out what was in the house in 1940? Does it matter? Help. Janet
Hi Janet, I'm in Houston, by the way.Have you decided that you want to restore it to the original or that general style? What I recommend is what I've been doing for the past year since I bought this house which is to live in it and study and research as much as you can about the time period in terms of what the house might have looked like. By 1940, the art deco/streamline moderne look was widespread so you could use a lot of that. Look for clues in your house, old wallpaper still in closets, window mouldings, interior doors. With time, you'll get a pretty good idea of how the basic house was by what's left. I called around and got ahold of the woman who lived her as a newlywed in the late 30's. She answered a lot of my questions and, while I was out on my porch this morning drinking a cup of tea, her and her daughter drove up and I took her through the house and she pointed out where old doorways were, why they added a bathroom, all kinds of great information. I still haven't decided how I want to do mine. The longer I'm here, the more I'm leaning towards restoring to original, which is not how I was leaning when I moved in. Well, have fun and welcome to the club.
Hi, Pick up the book Bungalow Kitchens. Even if your house isn't a bungalow, this is a GREAT vintage kitchen resource. A lot of the focus is on the '20s but you can get ideas from it. My house was built in 1938 and I too am restoring, and this book changed me. Also, look at rejuvenation.com and luminaria.com for "Modern America" lighting ideas. Finally, stripping paint off the cabinets and walls will give you clues.
Welcome to the 1940s house club! We just bought ours in August. We have one built in 1945. My kitchen is just about all original. The last owner re-did the floor, but that is it. There will be a book coming out soon (I hope) titled "Furniture & Interiors of the 1940s." You can look for it on Amazon.com. I hope that it is released soon because I am trying to re-do our bathroom to the era. It was re-done in the 1970s (ick!). Best of luck! I am sure your house is gorgeous.