Thursday, October 17, 2013

Early 1900s Part 2: Architecture

In order to understand early 1900s decorating, we have to individually look at the architecture of the time.  To set the stage, the country was pulling away from the prolific Victorian styles.  Named after Britain's Queen Victoria who was queen from 1837 until her death in 1901, the style had time to become ornate, eclectic, and colorful:

Milton Carson Home, Eureka Milton Carson Home, Eureka

What we consider to be "modern architecture" today was not here in the early 1900s.  There were some hints around 1910 of what we call "modern" today.  The first is the simplified farmhouse (covered porch, dormer windows, white paint):

front view, "c. 1910 Farmhouse pine grove Rapid City, South Dakota"

1916 Sears - No. 264B110, "Sears Roebuck 1916 'Modern Home No. 264B110'"

The simplified farmhouse is closely related to the Foursquare.  Looking at the floor plan, you can see that it was a democratic shift from the Victorian home.  Foursquares incorporated the kitchen into the main floor for the servant-less housewife (see wikipedia "American Craftsman"):

The American Foursquare home, "Mysteries of Old Houses", "Yellow and Blue American Foursquare Houses"
1916 Sterling - Imperial, "1916 Sterling 'The Imperial'"

The Craftsman Bungalow is an evolution of the Foursquare.  It is more organic and horizontal, thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and the Prairie School:

Louis Sullivan, architect, Harold C Bradley Home built 1908-1909

Seattle craftsman house, "Seattle Architectural Styles Through the Years..."
1916 Sterling - Macherie B, "Sterling Systems 'The MaCheri' 1916"

But revival (traditional) styles of architecture were also very popular.  Dutch Revival:, "Sweet 1910 Dutch Colonial Revival for Sale"
1924 Radford - Dover, "1924 Argo Summit 'The Dover'"

Tudor Revival:

File:Henry B Miller House (Portland, OR).JPG, "Portland Classic Homes" Henry B. Miller home built 1911
1916 Sterling - Manseigneur, "Sterling Manse and Manseigneur 1916"

And the English Cottage:

English Cottage, "English Cottage Style - 1920 to 1940"

1925 Pacific Ready Cut - No. 496 "Pacific Design No. 496"

We'll look next at the interior decoration of these early 1900s homes, and I've got a separate post on mail order homes from this era.


  1. It's interesting that you describe the Sears 110 as "a democratic shift from the Victorian home", as my house is essentially identical, but was built between 1878 and 1886. The Sears plan was adapted from earlier homes of the Victorian era, and indeed, in earlier versions there is usually Victorian millwork on the gables. But it is a simple farmhouse, which is why it imbues practicality. I'd be interested in reading more about Victorian era vernacular homes, if you have any information about their design and furnishings.

  2. So happy for you to have a historic home like the Sears 110!

    Eddie Ross just bought a Sears home and has put things on Instagram about it. That might be fun to look at?