I am a sucker for history, especially if it is amusing, so when someone donated a book to us of kitchen planning and decorating, I was thrilled. Why?
Because this book was published in 1972, and is rife with photographs of horrible wallpaper and awash in Avocado green and Harvest gold. Remember Harvest Gold? Don’t deny it. If you were around in the 70s, you know Harvest Gold. I am pretty sure there was some sort of law dictating that all American households must have at least one kitchen appliance in this color.
I looked at the pictures in this book, at all the dark paneling (Rec room, anyone?) and bordering-on-an-acid-trip wallpaper (Why was this so frequently in the guest bathroom? Did they *want* their guests to feel like Major Tom?), and I was entranced. Part of it was nostalgia, and part of it was hilarity. I wondered, Did we really think this décor was beautiful? We must have. Like wearing bell-bottoms, very few may actually admit it, but those of us born early enough to experience this will recall living in a place with wallpaper and appliances in colors that didn’t strike us as awful at the time. As they say, hindsight is 20/20.
Still, there is something wonderful about the interior design of the 70s. It was loud and full of life, glorious and unrepentant in its own tackiness. Even colors meant to represent nature were somehow plastic and artificial. Mind you, I’m not going to go and redecorate my home in the 70s style and slip on some double knit polyester slacks, but I do appreciate the art of interior design. Any interior design is dependent on the attitudes and beliefs of the time, so looking at any given time period’s homes will give you a glimpse into popular culture. Looking at the 70’s décor, I am reminded of James Bond, the aftermath of Woodstock, and even the fascination with NASA and the space program, just by looking at the décor. Do you see it? Look at the swirling, spacey designs on some of the wallpaper, and the frankly groovy futuristic design of many of the chairs of the era. In creating art, we mirror the world around us and the ideals of the people in it.
Still, I am ever at a loss to explain macrame owls. What was the obsession with them? They were ugly in the 70s, and they are ugly now. Perhaps I am a minority in this opinion, since I did find an internet site dedicated to them: http://www.macrameowl.com/
If you are interested in seeing more pictures of horrible interior design, check out James Lileks’ website. He also has a book out about horrible foods, called The Gallery of Regrettable Foods , available the the library.
Do you dig the 70s? Check out a bunch of books on the subject!
If you are interested in the history of interior design:
or go visit Local History’s furniture collection at the Main Library or on their webpage!
Maybe you actually like macrame wall hangings? Then take a look at Big-knot macrame / Nils Strom and Anders Enestrom . It was published in 1971, so I’m sure there must be a macrame owl somewhere.
Until later, keep on truckin’, cats and chicks.