Small, Cool Spaces circa 1922

Small, Cool Spaces circa 1922

Katie Steuernagle
Aug 11, 2010

It looks like we aren't the first generation to deal with the issue of living well in smaller spaces. And while the images and advice in this dusty old book aren't quite as hip as Maxwell's, it nevertheless has some tips that are still astonishingly relevant today.

Mr. Edward Stratton Holloway teaches us the following:

In moving into apartments one of the essentials is resolutely to get rid of the things one "may need some day" but never does. The disposal of such hoardings will be found its own exceeding great reward, and having experienced it one is not again likely to suffer an accumulation...Apartment life, therefore, makes for concentration, a consequent freedom from care, and a general simplicity and happiness of life.

Well said, sir. Let's see what he has to say about living in your small, cool space with children:

If, then, one possesses handsome, expensive, and easily-damaged period furniture, covered in equally costly damasks, silks, and velvets, and also has small children with few or no servants, a good place for the furniture would be "locked up in the attic" till the children grow older.

Ok, fair enough. At least he didn't say to lock up the children. Let's see what else he says:

There should be a handy desk at which to write letters or cast up the necessary accounts, so very necessary in these days of "la chere vie" -the dear life- as our French friends term it. If there are children getting their lessons, their elders with book, embroidery, or sewing will not find the table so often kicked if they provide the "kiddies" with another one.

Alright, a separate, little table for the kids. That makes sense. Anything else?

The Kitchen is the workshop of woman - mistress or maid: and in either case efficiency is not advanced by exhaustion. No man would dream of working during a large portion of his life under such inconvenience as these rooms often reveal; for he well recognises that his physical condition is his capital. Woman spends her energies regardless of this consideration, and needlessly - for the reformation usually required is by no means revolutionary, difficult, or expensive.

Oh, Mr. Stratton Holloway, what do you recommend to help us poor kitchen mistresses who are too silly to mind our physical condition?

In addition to at least one chair there should be two stools of different heights, carefully adapted to her own work. These may be pushed under the sink or placed in some other out-of-the-way but handy position. But the woman will find that she will not avail herself of these rests, notwithstanding her exhaustion at the end of the day, unless she is constantly watchful for a week or two - "it is too much trouble to sit down", and she has not habituated herself to it. Let her once do so and she will learn the difference.

Oh, thank you, Mr. Stratton Holloway. Thank you for the stools. Ok, we didn't say it was all useful and relevant.

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