Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Father Knows Best

Don't these houses just conjure contentment and security? These lovely homes in Belleville's Old East Hilll are typical of the Colonial Revival style popular in the 1940's and 50's which channeled Cape Cod profiles and Georgian symmetry. The style was as pervasive then as today's replica craftsman styles with gables stacked on gables are now.

Bridge Street East, Belleville

I had a doll-house once which recreated the style for young housewives-in-training. These doll-houses were very popular in the 40's and 50's. Made of steel with rolled edges, brightly painted exterior emulating the real thing pictured above. Inside, curtains, drapes and fireplace were stencilled onto the walls, floor coverings just so. Tiny plastic furniture brought out the decorator in me - in limited measure.

I copied the image below from the very nostalgic C. Dianne Zweig kitsch collection blog. I am just "so back there" thanks to visiting her site.

And if neo-Georgian doesn't take you back, perhaps the little Cape Cod dollhouse on Dianne's site will.

Neat, orderly, well-bred. Not at all like the old house we grew up in. A rambling old 1860's/1900 frame farmhouse, with make-do upgrades as budget permitted. A woodhouse/summer kitchen with rough edges, old parts of the house unused but for storage. Not the perfect Father Knows Best home in a leafy urban setting. But then...I just watched a video of the original show's intro. Cringe-making. Life wasn't like that, either. It was real.


  1. Gosh, I think I had THE VERY SAME dollhouse! What a nostalgic few minutes this has been.

  2. I'm with Brenda. That image of the dollhouse took me way, way back, and what a pleasant trip it was! I never had such a thing myself, but I do remember visiting other girls who did. As you say, it was such a neat and tidy and perfect contrast to the rambly old houses we lived in. Something to dream on … until we got a little older and realized the the old rambly houses were best …