What Real Estate Agents Need to Know About Roaring 20s Homes

With the advent of Art Deco design, home styles veered sharply away from traditional styles, and a new era of home architecture emerged. Gerard Splendore explains what you should know about houses from this period.

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American home styles have changed and continue to change across the country and as the tastes and lifestyles of homeowners evolve. As the country has gone through both good and not so good industrial and economic changes, living styles have adapted out of necessity.

In this new series, I’ll guide you through the dominant home styles of the last 12 decades, beginning in 1900. A basic understanding of each architectural style that defines a decade will position you as a knowledgeable agent with your clients and make finding a home with them easier Your buyers easier for everyone.

From the perspective of more than 100 years, it may seem strange to speak of “the modern age”, but that is how the 1920s are referred to. living styles a sharp departure from traditional styles and with the introduction of the Art Deco style of design from France, a new era in residential architecture emerged.

Art Deco first appeared primarily in commercial buildings in New York, such as the Chrysler Building. In 1922, Chicago’s Tribune Headquarters was another example of Art Deco on a grand scale.

Glamor and sophistication are the sentiments most associated with Art Deco. inside rooms featured geometric lines, bold colors and statement mirrors. Metals, particularly chrome and aluminum, were seen both inside and outside homes by the 1920s, in contrast to wood and brick. Neo-Gothic buildings with the Gothic pointed arch featured decorative finials, interior and exterior patterns, and scallops in the stonework and woodwork.

The so-called “Roaring Twenties”, a period of rebellious thinking, and the avant-garde movement in art and design reinforced the introduction of Art Deco. New technologies in materials, plumbing and heating have been incorporated into the Art Deco style house.

Eclectic, non-pure design that incorporated both modern and classic design elements, deliberately breaking with traditions that existed before the First World War. The Beaux-Arts aspects of Art Deco included neoclassical French and Italian styles.

Art Deco can be described as the pastiche of styles in its determination to avoid direct historical references. It is one of the most influential decorative styles of the first half of the twentieth century. Functionalism and purified architectural forms that show radical extremes are part of the Art Deco vocabulary.

Coinciding with Art Deco, introduced by Walter Gropius in Germany around 1919, is the Bauhaus movement. Purity of form and the reality of nature are further facets of the Art Deco style.

During the 1920s Art Deco style combined several aesthetics, what does the actual house look like from the 1920s? Servants and multiple generations living in one house became increasingly rare. Simple, low-maintenance interiors became a priority, and modern kitchens with newer, streamlined appliances, including washing machines, were on display.

Houses now had telephones, and “alcoves” to house a telephone, some with built-in seating, were features in new houses. Often located between the bedroom and the bathroom, phone niches were alcoves in the wall with a box under the small shelf to hold the phone.

The first personal phones were too small to accommodate the ringer and other electronic parts of the phone, so these parts were housed in a separate box that screwed into the back of the lower compartment. A cord connected the two parts of the phone and the shelf conveniently held the phone book and pencil and paper for messages. A telephone nook is a sure sign of a 1920’s house.

Garages were rarely seen in Art Deco homes, although cars gradually became available. Homeowners who owned cars parked on the street near their homes.

Realtors who can identify historical features of homes from different eras can easily converse with their clients about why homes are configured or designed the way they are. If historical styles are important to buyers, the agent who can talk about them has an advantage. When buyers are looking for more contemporary or modern homes with modern amenities, the informed agent need only look at the age of the home to determine if it is a good fit for their buyer.

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