This is my fourth series on “Permanent Furniture,” a term I’d not heard until Bill Inge lent me his 1927 “Builders’ Woodwork” catalog.
And what a wonderful term it is. It defines the “built-ins” that make early 20th Century American architecture so enchanting and beautiful and practical.
Unless otherwise indicated, all images below appeared in the 1927 Builders’ Woodwork catalog.
Many thanks to Bill Inge for sharing these fun old architecture books!!
To read Part I, click here.
Click here to read Part II and Part III.
As always, please leave a comment below!
"Window seats and bookcases are very often used in combination, adding comfort to convenience."
"These niches are not intended to supplant bookcases..." In other words, we know that you're going to have a *lot* more books than this, because you're a typical intelligent American with an innate desire to learn and grow. Wow. If only they could have known that TV would soon arrive on the scene and turn us into a nation of marginally literate, non-reading, believe-anything-you-see-on-the-tv saps. (But I digress...)
Check out the fountain in the backyard. Now *that's* a view! I also love the little writing desk.
See the item in front of the pen with a rounded bottom? Now, I'm sure most of my highly intelligent, history loving readers already know this, but it was a blotter, and on its underside, it had a piece of absorbent paper or cloth. After signing your documents with a quill pen, the blotter was used to soak up excess ink.
Since they don't have a fountain in the backyard, they put up some draperies. But they do have a fine-looking Dutch Colonial out back. This is my favorite nook. Can you imagine curling up on this soft cushion, literally surrounded by all your favorite books? That lamp is in the wrong place, though.
Rather plain, but still a quaint idea.
If I still had a house with radiators, I'd install this design in a second. It's a radiator cover, plus window seat, plus book storage, plus drawer space. And it's not recessed (as many are).
Another pretty one, but still pretty. And good storage underneath that bench seat.
The simplest of designs, and yet there's a lot of storage space in those seats.
This "permanent furniture" window seat and bookcase appeared in the 1927 Homebuilders' Catalog.
This, unlike the above, is an actual photo which appeared in the 1923 Harris Brothers (kit homes) catalog. The house shown is Harris Brothers' Modern Home #1571. In addition to the window seat, it has the bookcase colonnades, built-in buffet and gorgeous beamed ceiling.
This was the only real-life example of a window seat I could find, and it's a poor example because it's really an "Inglenook" more than a window seat. And yet, it's still mighty pretty. The house shown is a Sears Magnolia, in northern West Virginia.
To read more about the Sears Magnolia in West Virginia, click here.
Read all about phone niches by clicking here.
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My blood pressure just went down. Thanks for another great post!
These are really wonderful examples of the kind of craftsmanship and home design that we rarely if ever see in contemporary homes.
It’s a shame, really, because they give homes so much character, beauty and useful planning of space and additional storage.
It would certainly have been a wonderful way to spend a cold winter afternoon, perched on a thick, comfy cushion, maybe with a homemade afghan, on a window seat that doubled as a radiator cover (warm seat!) between 2 full bookcases.
Add a fire in the fireplace, a cup of hot cocoa, and what could be better?
I think buying stock in Murphy’s Oil Soap might be a worthwhile investment, should one be fortunate enough to acquire a home with such wonderful features!
As always, an enjoyable posting of a feature we just don’t see used any longer.
How I wish I had one of these beautiful window seats to sit in and enjoy.