Am I Being Curated?

I’ll find a home for anything Art Deco

Baz has often said that he doesn’t want me to turn our home into a shrine to the 1930s. Obviously, my love of art deco could easily have transformed our modest 1930s UK bungalow into a beautiful museum (when we came here the only remaining 1930s feature was the fireplace), but I have curbed some of these tendencies out of respect for him

This hasn’t completely prevented me from de-blanding our house by installing reclaimed 1930s panelled doors throughout, a Lloyd Loom bed and Chinese black lacquered bedroom units. Or, for that matter, from adding the sunburst drinks cabinet and a 30s church pew

He knows that if he takes his eye off me I will sneak more in

But I admit that the green uranium ceiling and wall lights were a step too far. I was constantly terrified that someone would damage them (low ceiling, freakishly tall visitors, etc) so my tame sparky Ray, who absolutely hated them, took them down again after a few weeks, so that I could relax

I’ve been picking up bits and pieces of Art Deco since I was little. It was and remains my biggest style influence. I get a thrill when we drive past an original deco front door and sidelights in situ and I still covet my mum’s ex-neighbour’s sunburst gate!

I suppose the truth is that Baz curates me. He tries to remind me that I cannot give a place to everything. At least, not in this house

There remain some beautiful unspoilt examples of thirties houses. The one I knew best was Jack’s House. My grandparents bought their brand new house in Edgware in the thirties and our Uncle Jack lived in the same house until his death about ten years ago. I lived there with him for about a year in the late eighties and it was his house I went home to during that massive hurricane, after working the nightshift. Nothing had been changed in all the years. Nothing at all. And I loved it. When finally sold, the buyers planned to strip it, including the completely original and unfashionably tiny kitchen with its black and white tiles and purpose-built larder

This summer, friends invited us to their unspoilt 1930s house in Bounds Green. Weirdly I became anxious as we approached my old area of London and I nearly passed out. It was worth the trip. They had kept everything including the little kitchen, so it was almost exactly a mirror-image of Jack’s old house, and a flood of memories engulfed me as we sat in the front room eating cake (Jack rarely used his front room, but we would sit and have coffee and cake together on Friday mornings in the back room overlooking the garden, with his enormous speakers blaring out classical music)

Jack was a one-off. One day I’ll try to finish the post about him that I started writing two years ago!

If, like me, you are consumed by a lifelong love of art deco, perhaps – like me – you lie awake at nights worrying about what has been chucked into a skip that day

Thankfully, fellow blogger Art Deco Magpie dedicates his time to the essential business of documenting and photographing some wonderful deco buildings, providing an honest report of them, raising awareness and ensuring that they are immortalised in case of the unthinkable

His blog is full of streamline passion and is well worth a visit. I loved his post about the Piccadilly Line, featuring the fabulous stations I knew as a child growing up in Southgate

And when Baz captured this image on Saturday evening I knew I could find it a home



Author: poshbirdy

Art deco/ art nouveau maniac enjoying a deep and meaningful relationship with alcohol

11 thoughts on “Am I Being Curated?”

  1. There is a line, of course and there is a place for the curator – it matters not whether we are talking Deco or Arts and Crafts or Shaker (for our American friends) … my Grandmother, a veritable forager of every antique, bric à brac or junk shop or stall she ever passed used to come back from her annual trip to the US each year laden with British Antiques which she had ‘rescued’ to bring home. Nuts really if you think about it but nuts is good. You have me thinking – is there a place … a website dedicated to preowned and rescued Deco? If not, I think it would be a winner. Uncle Jack sounds just wonderful … I will look forward to that post one day and meanwhile I am so glad you were able to visit Bounds Green and see a virtual mirror of that wonderful house you have such warm memories of, tucked in your heart. Lovely post (and chapeau Baz …. great snap too!) x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was thinking of you the other day when I was out junking and spotted some lovely art deco tiles – not enough to actually do anything with really but gorgeous all the same. My house is very old but has been added to over the years and is, therefore, a mixture of styles and, because I am a bit of a magpie, the contents are too. Although there appears to be no ‘minimalist’ style going on anywhere 😉

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  3. I love elements of art deco — the clean lines and balance — but realize that I am not able to do vintage anything with success. Probably because I get anxious with too much colour and clutter in my living space. Very boring and I do so admire people who can pull it off.

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  4. Lovely post. There’s something comforting about Art Deco as it often represents for our generation the safety of home, almost Enid Blytonish – I’m thinking of my grandparents’ Deco club armchairs and little touches of chrome. If you haven’t already visited it, I think you’d love the Musee des Annees Trente in Boulogne-Billancourt.

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  5. Hey, thanks for the kind words, most generous! Your Bounds Green friends sound like extremely good eggs. Whilst it (rightly) seems almost unthinkable to rip out pre-WW1 features when renovating a property, equivalents from an inter-war house appear to be virtually disposable in most peoples eyes. I can understand that a fiancé tiled fireplace, or fitted ply laundry cupboards aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they are integral parts to the building’s identity. Renovate and refresh by all means, but don’t gut it for gawds sake. Sorry, I’m preaching to the converted obviously, but it’s good to vent ones frustrations once in a while!
    Great photo btw.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, having real issues with wp. I have replied several times but the replies vanish! Anyway, yes, vent as much as you wish, because 1930s houses have been horribly abused by people. And they are great houses. Lovely serviceable houses with good sensible proportions, much maligned. We’re talking practical here as well as beautiful

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I was an Art Deco nut, too, until I met Art Nouveau. I’m more about organic curves than crisp angles. Art Deco is so very glam (all those Astaire-Rogers movies!), which I would like to be but am so very not.

    Liked by 1 person

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