What I Learned About Life from a 1947 Interior Design Book

'Ugly Inefficient Table vs Simple Efficient Table' from D. E. Barry's Martin's Modern Decoration and Furnishing (1947, Reed NZ)

‘Ugly Inefficient Table vs Simple Efficient Table’ from D. E. Barry’s Martin’s Modern Decoration and Furnishing (1947, Reed NZ, page 32)

Throughout the journey of researching and writing my novel, I have been fascinated, countless times, by the life lessons I uncover—or that uncover themselves to me—in the unlikeliest of places. My latest is the bizarre and fabulous advice of New Zealand’s 1940s design and style guru, architect D. E. Barry Martin (I discovered him while trying to figure out what the inside of Evelyn’s home would have looked like). Hiding within the pages of his quaint tome Modern Decoration and Furnishing: Complete Guide to Planning and Buying for All Interiors (1947, Reed NZ) are the answers to creating a peaceful New Age.

Who would have thought? And who would have thought a person’s choice of a table or an armchair could lead the way to a “better world of less greed and more unselfishness” (7).

Martin’s drawings and quotes speak for themselves. I hope you experience as much joy, laughter and contemplation looking at them as I did. All images and quotes copyright: Reed Publishing.

Firstly we must learn how to think correctly about the future and a new way of life. We must learn to understand the difference between good and bad in all things, spiritual and physical, abstract and material.

– D. E. Barry Martin (7)

'Ugly and Disconcerting vs Useful and Neat' from D. E. Barry Martin's 'Modern Decoration and Furnishing' (Reed NZ, 1947, page 40)

‘Ugly and Disconcerting vs Useful and Neat’ from D. E. Barry Martin’s ‘Modern Decoration and Furnishing’ (Reed NZ, 1947, page 40)

Few people will disagree with the fact that the greatest influence on a person’s character is his home. So, it is to the home that we must turn to prepare our minds for a better world of less greed and more unselfishness. Our homes must be the inspiration for what is fitting and beautiful.

– D. E. Barry Martin (7)

'A Crude Bulky Over-Decorated Arm Chair vs Neat Repose' from D. E. Barry's Martin's Modern Decoration and Furnishing (1947, Reed NZ)

‘A Crude Bulky Over-Decorated Arm Chair vs Neat Repose’ from D. E. Barry’s Martin’s ‘Modern Decoration and Furnishing’ (1947, Reed NZ, page 36)

I believe that correct, attractive, easy-working interiors definitely influence for the good, the characters of the people who live in them. Proper moulding of the individual on his own hearth, must influence the mind of the masses in the right direction towards a better way of thinking and a new way of life: the new world for which we all hope.

– D. E. Barry Martin (7)

'Fiddly and Useless vs Slightly Unreal' from D. E. Barry's Martin's Modern Decoration and Furnishing (1947, Reed NZ, page 75)

‘Fiddly and Useless vs Slightly Unreal’ from D. E. Barry’s Martin’s ‘Modern Decoration and Furnishing’ (1947, Reed NZ, page 75)

Let us throw away our old ideas of homes filled with knick-knacks and gawky furniture, of walls covered with drab family photos which limit our horizons and offend our friends. For our own sake and for the sake of the nations we must exterminate the ugly and inefficient. Let us strive for beauty and efficiency in our homes and we shall really move towards a New Age.

– D. E. Barron Martin (8)

Amen to that.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “What I Learned About Life from a 1947 Interior Design Book

  1. Hi CB,
    What a hoot! Peter Barry-Martin was the architect who designed the office extension at out place in the 80s. I wonder if he was a relation of DE?
    LJx

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s