March 26, 2018


Newspaper ad detail, 1937
Above, an invitation from the French Company to visit its latest "show apartment" in Tudor City. There are several such model apartments over the years, and this one-bedroom unit (apartment 608 in Essex House) goes on display in spring, 1937.

It's designed by Virginia Hamill, the Interior Decoration Editor of Woman's Home Companion magazine, who refurbishes the place "with an eye to the future," i.e. the time when one can afford larger quarters. Thus, Hamill recommends buying sturdy starter furniture that can be re-purposed at a later date. For example, the identical wooden chairs in the living room and bedroom can one day be reunited in a "real dining room." Similarly, the Sheraton sofa is upholstered in striped ticking "at a few cents a yard," to be later recovered in a "more ambitious fabric." Daylight, however, does not seem to be of much concern to her; both living room and bedroom windows are veiled with curtains and Venetian blinds.

Total cost of the renovation: "just $655" (roughly $11,245 today). Below, the finished product appended by the magazine's original captions.
"Color scheme of the living room is red, white and skipper blue. The two end walls and the felt rug are blue. The remaining walls and the ceiling are white."

"The dining alcove needed a more interesting treatment than just a table and chairs. We lined its walls with portable bookcases holding books and our treasured collection of odd pitchers. A mahogany bridge table completes this fascinating little nook."

"The bedroom, at first glance, seems to have gone entirely frilly, but there is plenty of common sense beneath these frills. Daintily pleated skirts on the dressing table, for instance, conceal a radiator and two little chests of drawers."

"Brass stars placed on the wall above the bed give the effect of a headboard."

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