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The craftsman
Vol. VII, No. 5 (February 1905)

Rehmann, Antoinette
The modern house beautiful,   pp. 567-570 PDF (1.3 MB)


Page 567


THE MODERN HOUSE BEAUTIFUL. AN EX-
HORTATION BY ANTOINETTE REHMANN
HE material essence of the home is a subject which really
requires the best talent and thought, for we all agree
that the home should contribute a large share to that
fulness of life which comes with our work, our play, our
friendships, and our search for things spiritual, intel-
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should be daily a joy, daily a center of affectionate interest, and daily
an inspiration. It should be a house that neither poverty nor wealth
can keep from us. It should be a house that we all can have, if it be
our heart's desire.
   What are the essentials of a beautiful house? Look at the Swiss
chalet, the Dutch peasant cottage, our own old American farmhouses;
the street architecture of Nirnberg, the Flemish squares of Brussels
and of Bruges; Elizabethan manor houses, French chiteaux, and
Florentine palaces. Look at the Villa Farnese or Versailles. What
is it that makes us look upon each and every one of these with an eye
of pleasure? What is it that unites the home of the upright, sturdy
mountaineer with that of a Louis Quatorze? The first characteristic
which all these houses possess is that they efficiently served the needs
of their inhabitants and the requirements of their location, their day
and generation.   The second characteristic is that they were all
built, consciously or unconsciously, according to the underlying laws
of architectural design.
   We have, in this country, some good village streets and some good
city squares, some fine suburban houses and some magnificent coun-
try estates; but, as a nation, we have too much the taste of the nou-
vcaux-riches and our houses fail largely in the two essentials I have
mentioned. The nineteenth century was an undisguised triumph of
mechanics over aesthetics; and it is one of the most urgent of present
tasks to again make civilization lovely. We all feel this. Then let
us have the courage to struggle against the false ideals of materialism
and commercialism, and let us bring to our homes all the possible ele-
ments of culture !
   There is a new spirit in the air which we are all beginning to feel.
Men and women are demanding greater utility, greater comfort, and
greater beauty in their homes. Call this spirit a new note in house-
hold furnishing and decoration, call it the new school of domestic
567


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