Skip to main content

Rambling thoughts on furniture, the 1960's, mid-century stye, and the farmhouse look

Our 1958 Ranch House

Have you ever seen a beautiful Eastlake house? 1870-1885 ca. ? Denver has many. They are beautiful ...Eastlake staircases, door surrounds, doors, windows, filled with Eastlake period furniture. Eastlake beds with headboards seven feet tall and matching dressers and bureaus and armoires? It wasn't popular for over 20 years, but it was indeed a style of its own. I would love living in a fully furnished period Eastlake house. 

The rage here is now mid-century modern ( 1950's; 1960's )....I grew up in our 1958 brick ranch house. Before that, we lived in an overseer's "shack" from the 1850's with no screen wire windows and a double fireplace.  Today there is a magazine that highlights the "farmhouse" style. If you want to sell primitives, just advertise them as "farmhouse furniture" and they will sell. I'm not going to mention "painted" furniture ( white, turquoise, red, blue) that is the rage now in central Alabama.  Underneath most of the paint is cheap 1920's and 1930's veneer furniture glued together. 

Oak was quite in style in the 1970's and 1980's.  Now, it's OUT.  I can't sell a piece of oak here.  The dressers got up to $400 in the 1970's and 80's, but now,  maybe $60.   Remember the round oak tables?  They were $300 up;  now, the same, maybe $60 to $100 if you can even find a buyer.  ( unless, you paint and stress them in turquoise).   I still love solid quarter-sawn oak.  It will come back in maybe 20 years??    

We had a three piece green sectional couch; remember those?  My mother's matching drapes had green trees on them.  

Our television had three channels, then later we got four channels.  We got a color television about 1966.  The first two shows in color here were on Sunday night...Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color and Bonanza.  All the rest of the shows were black and white. The NBC peacock was invented and that would come on to tell you the show was in "living color."   The best radio station was WSGN-610.  The cool students listened to it. 

My sister and her friend Martha would build me sand castles in the yard in the early 1960's and tell me the sand fairy or sand man  had done it.  My father never removed the sand pile in the middle of the front yard from when the house was being built in 1958.  He never put in shrubbery until a family friend let him dig up extra plants from their yard in the late 60's.   He had carpet put down and never had it changed until my sister paid to have it taken up in 1998.  To him, when he stopped building on the house in 1958,  it was good for life, no changes necessary. That's the Depression generation way of thinking.  If you change the sink faucet, the old one goes underneath it with the cleaners.  If you change the sink or toilet bowl, the old ones go to the barn.  My sister has a friend whose husband saved the plastic from the morning newspaper, and the ties from bread.  My grandmother saved all the plastic tubs that butter and margarine came in; there were probably 150 in the closet.  The Great Depression scarred that generation for life. It got passed down to me, I realized, and I try to fight the urge to save. At least I don't wash and save mayonnaise jars. 

I remember the first time I ever ate "salad" was at my Aunt JoAnn's house.  I had never had lettuce salad before. This was in the mid 60's.    The only "salad" we had at our house was potato salad. She made a vinegar-oil dressing and it was good. She also was the first person I knew who cooked with garlic.   My cousins always went to Florida ( Daytona Beach ) every summer on "vacation."  We had cows so we had no off days and never went on such a trip except three times. Once my father had a cow sale in southern Mississippi so I got to be ridden through New Orleans. Another year we drove to Panama City Florida for one night so I could see the ocean ( I was probably about 12 by then) and the third time we rode for one night to Chattanooga to see Lookout Mountain and Rock City. That was it.  Vacations were, to my father, a waste of time.  

My style? Primitives and Empire Old South. I love Federal and Colonial also. We all have our preferences and respect each other's "druther haves" ... New England has "Pilgrim Century" furniture and houses...nothing after 1720...but we can't much collect that in Alabama! 

My house was built in 1817 by ancestors Benjamin and Hannah ( Harless) Wilson. The front room is 20 x 30 .  

I grew up with "mid-century" so it's doesn't do anything to inspire me, but I'm glad there are people who admire it. We all thought back in the 60's as children that our houses in 2018 would look like the Jetson's. I guess they were right about moving sidewalks ( in some airports) and microwave ovens and computer screens that allow you to see whom you are talking with.  We never got the flying cars and the robot "Rosie" maids. 

My gr gr gr grandmother's 1866 tombstone is actually Renaissance Revival style! My friend from Denver had to point that out to me, as I had never noticed that.  God help me today if I die and they order me a modern tombstone, stressed and painted turquoise!!!!

Lucretia Cunningham's marker. Bottom has been cemented years ago due to breakage. The style is Renaissance Revival as it was purchased shortly after her death in 1866.


Post a Comment