This is the second part of a look at the changing tastes of the 1930s. Part One can be seen here. In this we learnt that the images came from a work published in 1935 by a large paint company, Pinchin Johnson & Co. It was entitled: New Rooms for Old. Some helpful designs and details for transforming the ordinary interior into the ultra modern. (Please note: ultra modern) The title is clear enough and each room of the house is shown before and after modernisation.
The type of paints that were being produced by Pinchin Johnson & Co. were very similar to those manufactured by Thomas Parsons & Sons at the same time. Using the colours shown in the latter’s extensive catalogue I have tried to show the closest ones, should anyone want to draw inspiration from these images. In most instances a reasonable match can be found, but some colours would need adjustment if a literal copying was desired.
You will notice a particular theme throughout these images – one of ‘streamlining’ –
1) the ‘heightening’ of rooms by the elimination of chair and picture rails;
2) the smoothing-off of surfaces and the consequent reduction of dust traps;
3) the replacement of wallpaper with paint;
4) the increased light produced by changing the windows, improving the artifical lighting and the use of lighter colours in shinier paint, and
5) the provision of storage spaces to reduce clutter.
The words below each of the rooms are those found in the original book. Thus the caption below The Study read as follows:
“It has been said that books form the finest decorative background that it is possible to have. In most homes the books are housed in a bureau or old type book-case and so lose half their decorative value. The interior pictured here has been revised to form a lounge-study, or writing-room, in which everything is happily placed both for service and for artistic effect. The decoration carried out with Deydol Water Paint and Satinette Enamel is exceptionally restful and pleasing.”
The joinery appears to have been painted with something like the Parsons’ Deep Cream Enamel paint and the flat upper surfaces in Permanent Brown. One can see the high gloss of those surfaces. The walls have a grey Water Paint similar to the Parsons’ Cavendish Grey.
“The fitment which has been constructed across the whole of one side of this bedroom, replaces both dressing-table and wardrobe. Centred upon the window, it is finished in two distinct shades of Satinette Enamel in order to break the monotony of line, and is boxed in at the top to provide space for concealed electric lights. The door has been simplified and a full-length mirror takes the place of panelling. The window is of metal, in wood surround. The walls are pleasantly stippled. The materials used are Hygeia Flat Wall Finish with Satinette Enamel.”
The dressing-table has been painted in a brown-virtually-black gloss enamel, like Parsons’ Permanent Brown No. 6. The other joinery also in an enamel in a colour slightly darker than New Stone and the walls stippled in a something like Parsons’ Parso-Glaze in Ivory.
“The delightful and cheerful appearance of this bathroom is attained by the building-in of the bath and wash-basin, and by the freshness and charm of its decoration. You must sing in such a bathroom as this. The space beside the foot of the bath is utilised for a most useful cupboard and additional cupboard space is provided on either side of the basin. Artificial lighting is provided by panels let in above the bath and beside the basin. The materials used to create the effect shown in our illustration are Satinette the Perfect Enamel, Hygeia Flat Wall Finish and Gripon Supervar.”
The wash basin and cupboard at the foot of the bath seem to have been painted in a gloss enamel similar in colour to Parsons’ New Stone. The walls were probably painted in a Flat Wall Finish, which no doubt was similar to Parsons’ colour Terra Cotta. The bath panel and wedge-shaped element underneath the wash basin appear to have been given a marbled effect using scumble glaze and then varnished for protection. It is possible that the skirting of this element has been painted in a colour like Permanent Brown No.6.
“Many houses have a small room which is neglected or used simply as a lumber-room. With the advent of the electric fire, these rooms may be put into service for a variety of purposes. Here such an interior had been converted into a nursery, or play-room, for the little folk. The built-out fire place, with its complement of shelves and cupboards forms a snug fitment and one which encourages tidiness. The miniature desk and seat should prove an incentive to simple lessons. The scheme of decoration selected is carried out in Velveteen Flat Wall Paint, Deydol Water Paint, Satinette Enamel and Veritone Scumble, varnished with Gripon Supervar.”
The walls in this room appear to have been painted with the Flat Wall Paint and then scumbled with a glaze similar to the Parsons’ Ivory. Presumably a matt or eggshell varnish was then applied. The ceiling was painted in a Water Paint in a colour close to Parsons’ Beige. The desk unit has been stippled and then given a gloss varnish. There wasn’t a colour quite like it in the Parsons’ Parso-Glaze range – clearly the one shown here is too blue, but it does show the technique quite well. The door, having been ‘flushed’ with a sheet of plywood, has been painted in an enamel in a colour similar to Parsons’ Permanent Brown No. 4.
“A spotless and well ordered kitchen is a delight and, from an hygienic point of view, an absolute necessity in the modern home. Here is a re-modelled kitchen of which any house-wife would be proud. Everything is placed ready for use and where it is most needed. A window of a more modern character has been introduced and two lighting panels are placed, handily, above the sink. The colour scheme selected is cheerful and bright and purposely in light shades, so that dust and dirt may be instantly detected. These beautiful, sanitary and washable surfaces are created by Figaro Hard Enamel Gloss Paint and Satinette Enamel.”
As indicated, the surfaces were very shiny in this 1930s kitchen. The walls, ceiling and door were painted in an Enamel in a colour similar to Parsons’ Bathstone. A harder Gloss Paint was applied to the work surfaces, upstand and door architrave in a Mid Blue and the same sort of finish was employed in a colour similar to Parsons’ Turquoise on the kitchen units and cupboards.
Availability of Colours
Most of these colours are available from Papers and Paints Ltd.
An advertisement for Pinchin, Johnson & Co from a slightly earlier work refers to each of the finishes recommended here –
View Larger Map