Tudor and Cottage Styles of the 1920's and 1930's

Cottage Styles of the
1920's and 1930's

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Cottage Styles

While the craftsman style of the Ragtime Era emphasizes the rustic and earthy, World War I put an abrupt end to that idealistic/naturalistic turn. Symbolically, Elbert Hubbard (of the Roycroft community) went down with the Lusitania, Gustav Stickley overextended his business plans and went bankrupt, and the public taste turned toward lighter, airier houses.

For myself, I haven't quite reconciled that shift with the prosperity of the twenties. Other cultural issues of note: The loose fitting, almost grecian layers of the pre-war clothing styles gave way to skinny, vertical styles, hair got bobbed, and the automobile became commonplace. This is the earlies period for which we can return via moving pictures to get a visual reference and the oldest among us can still relate first person stories.

The growth of the middle class continued in the twenties, and many smaller houses were built during this period. The roof no longer provides a cozy, wide overhang, the front porch becomes less important, sometimes just a niche or even non-existant.

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Spanish Mission and Colonial Styles (ca: 1920's)
English Cottages and Tudor (ca: late 1920's to early 1940's)
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Spanish Mission and Colonial Styles (ca: 1920's)

Although the Craftsman style continued through the end of the 1920's, several other common styles appear frequently, including:

Spanish Mission Style:
These houses are easy to identify with thier white stucco walls and red tile or flat roof. These houses were built commonly in California even earlier, and have many imitators in the Denver Area.

Colonial Style:
These houses were designed with details such as white woodwork and round white pillors by the front door. This was a more up-to-date style than the other styles of the twenties. The philosophical reference was looking back to the American Revolution, a sort of nationalism fostered by WWI.

Architectural Police Tip:
Spanish Mission houses too often get painted rosy pink rather white or beige. Santa Fe colors (Pink and Teal) look "eighties," and will soon look very out of date. Green on the other hand, which jars modern sensibilities, is historically correct if of a greyish or pale shade.

English Cottage and Tudor Styles (ca: late 1920's to early 1940's)

English Cottages
Steep roofs, brick or stucco and half-timber walls, round-top doorways.

A curious aspect of the English cottage style is that it imitates the great Arts and Crafts English Country houses of the late 19th Century. Thus this 1920's American style is an imitation of a Late-victorian English design that is an imitation of rural, vernacular cottages mixed with medieval themes! Interior decorating becomes easy and can be very imaginative if this is kept in mind. Seek out British Arts & Crafts "antiques" being imported by the container on cargo ships. These seem to have flooded the market recently.

The Tudor style might be considered a higher-style version of the English cottage, but more typically brick or stucco with haof-timbers and tall chimmneys that bulge toward the top. Here we get very strong reverences to the British Arts & Crafts country manors of the late nineteenth century. Even gothic references appear in the wrought iron hinges on massive round-topped doors.

Suddenly, the interior wood trim has become much narrow and lighter in color, and it may be made of walnut or mahogony. Door knobs, lighting fixtures and other hardware may have an Art Deco treatment. Ceilings may occasionally still be high in the formal part of the house, and they are often coved at the upper edges. Kitchens are modern and functional, and may include a breakfast nook.

Architectural Police Tip:
The historic features of these styles seem to be respected; People really appreciate the modern and elegant nature of Tudor and Engish cottage houses.

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