The fireplace with mottled tiles, brass fire implements and the beautiful curved sideboard I now recognise as Art Deco. As a child I was unaware of how valuable (what I thought old and dated) were the furniture and accessories of my granny’s Irish home. Although the wallpaper and linoleum were often changed the old fireplace and Art Deco furniture and other pieces remained. I disliked the fireplace. This could be due to the fact I often had to clean out the ash, set the fire ready to light and go out into the cold night to get coal.
I now value the pieces of Art Deco and can appreciate the workmanship and design. My granny would have bought many of these pieces in the first years of her married life yet they were still there when we left Ireland for Australia in the 1970’s.
In the British Art Deco home living rooms had the fireplace surrounded with pink, green or beige mottled matte tiles. Other colours used in the room were creams, eau-de-nil or oyster. The timber furniture tended to be pale and veneered in simple designs. Up lights, frames, mirrors and other items had stepped profiles.
The fabrics used in upholstery were plain or geometric. The linoleum floors had abstract designs or were black and white check. Parquet floors were also popular. In the 1920 UK magazine ‘Idea Home’ had an article on how to make large cushions in luxurious fabrics with tassels. Cushions in this style were the latest craze in the UK the article title; ‘The Indispensible Cushion: How to make them and where to place them’
Red and black tiles made by Carter & Co in Dorset England designed with graphic linear motifs based on objects like fans and stylized flowers were also popular. The tiles were mottle matte eggshell glazes with random crackles and star burst effects and used to tile around fireplaces were also used for entire kitchens or bathrooms.
The bold geometric patterns and designs in the Hoover Building is a brilliant example of Art Deco design in the UK. The Hoover factory in Perivale West London was built in 1932 and designed by Wallis Gilbert and Partners and is a well know example of the Art Deco style in Britain.