by Leona Jaeger
Here is a style you don’t see on CIRCA as often as, say, Victorians; so let’s delve into a bit of Art Deco to tease those of you who fancy a Moderne aesthetic.
Art Deco emerged in the 1920s and 1930s (although not really labeled “Art Deco” until some years later). Its streamlined shapes and geometric patterns romanticized the modern technology, industrialization, and speed of the period following WWI. Long, sleek lines, abundant use of mathematic or geometric curvatures and angles (for example zig-zag patterns and radiating suns), and use of materials such as silver and other high-shine surfaces were made to be practical yet beautiful in form and function. Art Deco also borrowed from ancient cultural art: Classical Greco-Roman, Assyrian, Egyptian, Babylonian, African, and Central-American motifs could be found fancying up many foyers, fountains, lobbies, train stations, and cruise ships (like the Queen Mary). But after WWII, the style’s romance and opulent, utopian feel lost favor and was looked upon as too garish for more simplified post-war living. Art Deco, did, however, regain a bit of resurgence in the 1960s and 1980s when PopArt and graphic design in general were gaining in popularity.
So lets see what this lovely home has that makes us appreciate Art Deco. It only takes a second (maybe three, if you haven’t had your morning cup of coffee) to notice the streamlined roofline compete with shiny metal edging. Curvaceous exterior walls graced with stacked glass blocks give and added glint when the sun bounces off each blocks’ subtle ripples.
On the interior walls, I love that some rooms have curved corners. The very light that enters the room is made to bounce of nearby walls and brighten everything just a touch more. The fabulous barrel ceiling of the living room has the same luscious effect!
The spectacular staircase that sweeps upwards in a gracious curve and takes your view right with it leads to the landing where crown molding and baseboards mimic—enhance, even—Art Deco principles of long sleek lines and curves.The arched doors and perfectly matched doorways make me think the place a little more magical—kind of like a beautifully spoken British accent among…oh, I don’t know…chipmunks! With an updated kitchen and gleaming hardwood floors, there’s nothing that doesn’t have a magical glow in this special home!
AUTHOR LEONA JAEGER
From the sturdy practicality of a colonial saltbox, to the lavish details of a High Victorian, Leona believes that each old home holds a beauty, solid craftsmanship, and history that is a mystery and wonder to be explored and appreciated. Leona’s dream is to find a huge farmhouse with high ceilings, wide-planked floors (complete with hidden artifacts under a loose plank), a wraparound porch, and enough acreage to house a horse or two, some dogs, cats, goats, and a ring-tailed lemur. In her spare time she can be found with her face pressed and distorted against the car window, ogling the fantastic old homes in the surrounding areas of Pasadena, California where she lives with her loving husband (who patiently peels her face off the windows and tells her to breathe) and her vivacious 9-year-old daughter.