Modern Retro: a quick interiors and nostalgia tour

Regular readers might have gathered that a bit (A BIT! – she says) of home improvement has been part of my world lately.  Here’s a quickie post to share some of the things that were unearthed when the interior was turned upside down.

The house was built in the mid 1920s, and there were some great artifacts to be be found when we started taking the rooms apart.  Here’s some lino we discovered under the carpets: I especially liked the patterned one.  Never seen anything like it, although on the other hand parquet patterns never get old.  The colours are quite muted but it’s difficult to tell how much of that is due to age or the tonal scheme.

1930sLino ParquetFloor







The print was so delicate and faded, I could barely make out what the little red objects were.  My guess is fruit or something plant-like, but who really knows?  20th century interiors aren’t my strong point but if anyone has any ideas or expertise, please share!

The biggest surprise was this fireplace.  It has been covered up for as long as I can remember, with a 1960s heater set into the board.  But look at this – the tiles!  And  the period detail on the surround!  Definitely some pattern inspiration to be had.

DiscoveredFireplace DiscoveredFireplaceSurroundDetailThe tiles look blue-grey in this photo, but more of a duck egg blue when the sunlight hits them.  I like colours with amorphous qualities.  They probably take far more work to create, but I think they’re worth it.

Last up is this issue of Stitchcraft magazine, now nearly 40 years old.  It looks as though this magazine is now defunct, but if this example’s anything to go by it did an excellent job of covering the bases of most popular crafts.

StitchcraftMagazineJune1978CoverUnfortunately I have missed a centimetre off the top of the cover but you may just be able to see that this issue was released in June 1978 and retailed at the bargain price of 35p.  Inflation is an amazing thing, especially as that date is post-decimalisation in the UK.  Nowadays most similar magazines are around the £5 mark, sometimes approaching £10.  Times change.

As well as knit the lacy batwing sweater on the cover, you can make these tapestry cushions, crochet a swimwear set, and even crochet some cigarette and lighter holders to wear as a pendant or two!  Of all the projects I’ve highlighted, the sweater is probably the most modern or contemporary style.

StitchcraftCrochetedCigaretteLighterHolders StitchcraftCrochetedSwimwear StitchcraftKnittedLaceBatwing StitchcraftTapestryCushions















I know the cigarette/lighter holder project might be un-PC for some, but for someone born in the 1980s it shows that Stitchcraft was very much a product of its time and how sewing and needlecrafts were well-integrated into contemporary culture – not the niche they are now, relatively speaking.  It’s a case of reappropriating the old to enable it to keep pace with the new – a bit like my redecorating project.  On that note, here’s the fireplace again, happily situated in its new home and framed by a nice new carpet.  Hope you enjoyed the quick tour.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. jan Horrox says:

    This is a really interesting post Natalie. Talking of inflation, we bought a 5 bed victorian house in Hornsey for 11000.00 which was just sold ( not by us!) for 1 million!!

    1. Gosh that’s a big leap! It’s staggering to think just how much the affordability of everyday life has changed. Glad you liked the post too – it’s been a nice change to write a little bit about my other interests. I’ll do a bit more of it in future.

  2. Jo says:

    Love the fireplace. I have a 1920s house which has similar coloured blue tiles in one of the fireplaces though they are 10cm square ones. Unfortunately the hearth has been replaced although luckily I have managed to find somewhere which can make me a new one.

    I could definitely see the sweater pattern being worn today and looking right up to date. Personally I’d give the crochet bikini a miss mind.

    1. Ditto 🙂 That said, there’s always the occasional student of mine who’s interested in, or is making, a crocheted bikini! I’m hoping to make the sweater at some point too, or at least update the pattern so that it can be used today. There may be a couple more magazines to come…

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