Rarely has home ever been treated as merely a functional place. Form may follow function in design, yet once we are moved in, it’s the “form” that takes over and gives the place personality. From the beginning we’ve been personalizing our spaces whether they be a studio apartment ot a bedroom to an office cubicle. We’re also perpetually interested in how to make our homes better, and in finding out what our fellows homes look like on the inside. This interior infatuation has been expressed in house tours, real estate ad browsing, in commercial mediums and in art. One example is this stereoview card showing a “house beautiful” in Brooklyn. The back of the card reads, in part, “Making a home attractive is one of the finest of arts. Nothing so makes life worth while and full of richness as a well appointed place to live. We are too often satisfied with cheap prints in place of pictures, gaudy wallpaper, any kind of cheap rugs, and furniture of all sorts.” It continues… “Taste is not a natural gift. Like other virtues, it must be cultivated. To teach girls how to furnish their homes properly is the purpose of Domestic Art.” (the Pratt School in Brooklyn is mentioned).
All too rare are these glimpses into more common homes, at least in terms of income if not taste, yet there’s historically been more interest in how the rich and famous decorate. For a glimpse therein, visit the Cooper-Hewitt for “House Proud: Nineteenth-century Watercolor Interiors from the Thaw Collection.” through January 25, 2009.