Bogey and Bacall interior design for the living room & two bedrooms in the Wren & Willow cottage

1940s living roomMonday we saw the Wren & Willow cottage’s kitchen renovation, and Tuesday, their two glamorous, deco-style bathrooms. Today, a look inside the living room and two bedrooms — all designed with a 1940s big-screen Hollywood aesthetic that give this little jewel of a house even more sparkle and shine. We’ll also hear the (other) surprise happy ending for this 900 s.f. worker’s cottage.


The 1940s living room:

midcentury-house-ideas-14Remember: Laureen started out as an interior designer. She knows what she is doing! When you look at actual, real-people interiors from the 1940s, they are not super cluttered. Laureen seems to have followed that ideal. Her furniture and design choices aim for quality (rather than quantity) and she depends on each element to add dramatic, graphic punch, rather than going for layers with more items. Given that the house is small, less also makes it feel like more. All photos by Aleks Akinshev of the Wren & Willow team; I’m thinking that his use of the wide-angle lens is making the space look bigger than it actually is….

midcentury-house-ideas-11midcentury-house-ideas-16midcentury-house-ideas-12midcentury-house-ideas-17Laureen provides some more details about the interior design:

We also wanted the look of a 1940’s living room, so we furnished the room with Art Deco furniture, and purchased an early Setchell Carlson television as a centerpiece for the room. In order to make it a functioning television, our team mounted a modern flat-panel TV to a telescoping lift attached to the back of the Setchell Carlson, which when activated, raises the modern TV up for viewing.

The light fixtures are a mix of restored antiques, including  original recessed lights, rectangular shaped, with chrome trim, and art deco designed glass. We installed several in different rooms throughout.

The master bedroom:

midcentury-house-ideas-7midcentury-house-ideas-23midcentury-house-ideas-241940s-bedroom-1Oh la la…


The den / guest bedroom:

midcentury-house-ideas-6 midcentury-house-ideas-3

And now, the (other) surprise happy ending:

Laureen says:

While remodeling the house, we fell in love with it, and rather than use it for additional office space as was originally planned, we sold our 3,600 sq. ft., 1928 English Tudor we lived in for 20 years, and moved in to this charming 900 s.f. 1940’s dream house.

The house is located in Ruston, Washington. What is fun about that detail is that ASARCO was a copper manufacturing plant started in the early 1900’s in Ruston. Our house, along with several very small houses in town, was originally built for its workers to live in… And now, our company purchased that house, and I (as a worker) live in it!

It is wonderfully sweet, quaint, and truly feels like “home sweet home”.  Every time I enter the front door, I feel as if I am on a 1940’s film set. I am sure Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall will peek around the corner. It just feels so great living there. I have to pinch myself every day!

What’s next for Wren & Willow?

An aluminum Pom Pom tree for Laureen and husband Tim — and a 10,000 s.f. mixed use space on the adjacent property by Wren & Willow, that’s what!

Laureen wrapped up our long email conversation:

Good Morning Pam!

laureen-scrivanMy husband, Tim Skrivan and I have been married for 37 years, raised three children and have six grandchildren, including my six-year-old grandson who plans to be the next President of the company!

The big plan is for Tim and me to live in the 1940s house for a few years and rent it from Wren & Willow. We then would like to use it as an Airbnb. I think the unique style and close proximity to a park, zoo, movie theatre, water and lots of restaurants, all within walking distance, will be a big draw. We intend to build a 10,000 SF mixed use space on the property and will build two condominiums at the top floor, which has a magnificent view of Puget Sound, additional office space for the company, and retail space at ground level. We plan to live in one of the condominiums and Airbnb the 2nd one. The drawings for that building are being engineered now. The facade will look like an old-fashioned city carriage house. This will be another fun future project for Wren & Willow.

More fun information, I just purchased from eBay, my very first pom pom Christmas tree and have been searching around for vintage ornaments. I intend to have the tree and house decorated by Thanksgiving with all of the 1940’s & 1950’s style Christmas decor I can find. I don’t know if you plan to feature vintage Christmas photo’s this year, but I would love to send pictures to you once it’s all decked out for the holidays. Theme is retro Santa, including a three-ft. blow mold. Sooo much fun, I can’t stand it! [Pam notes: HECK TO THE YEAH, I plan on featuring a Christmas uploader this year! Watch the newsletter!]

I want to say again, Pam, you were such a help to me in locating many materials for our house. I can’t begin to tell you how valuable your newsletter is. As a general contractor, we have to source so much information for our clients, especially since we pride ourselves in the restoration and renovation of historic homes. Your expertise of the 1940’s, ’50’s and 60’s has been so important to us and our clients. I love history, born and raised in Philadelphia, so it is in my blood, but you have done such amazing research, that it has taken a lot of the researching from our plate. All I need to do is click on one of your newsletters and there it is. Absolutely amazing!

Suppliers & Resource List for 1940’s Wren & Willow House Living Room, Master Bedroom and Guest Room:

Gorgeous, every inch! Thank you SO MUCH, Laureen — and your entire Wren & Willow team — for sharing all these photos… your story… the resources… the INSPIRATION… and for the very kind words about the blog and how it’s helped. I even learned about a few new sources for some items I didn’t know about. You’re making my job easier this week — allowing me to squeeze some time in for wreath-making FINALLY!

xoxoxoxo, Laureen, you are amazing! Please keep in touch!

Want to see more of the Wren & Willow House?

Link love:

  1. Jay says:

    Wow! When looking at the kitchen photos the other day I caught a glimpse of the living room so was looking forward to seeing more of it. Laureen, you were born and raised in Phila. That explains why the living room reminds me so much of the interiors I saw when growing up. My parents married in 1950 and many of their friends and neighbors married in the late 40s and early 50s. I grew up in the Phila. area.

    Can’t wait to see the house decked out for a vintage Christmas.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Eh-eh-eh, the lampshades in the same fabric as the windows – FUN-NEE!!! Nice bar, too.
    Yeah, we all come to a point in our lives where “just a little place” just seems to make more sense, maybe to stay, more likely as a resting place. 940 sq ft – nice to visit (mine’s 980 – !) but life will intrude and “stuff” creeps in no matter how meticulous you are in trying to keep it in check.
    I’ve enjoyed Laureen’s adventure and also the one of the TX(?) realtor who re-habbed the ranch house featured this year. As I’ve stated earlier, we, as MCm fans have many obstacles to overcome if we wish to preserve the decades of MCM and it starts with realtors and designers/contractors. They are cutting their nose to spite their face by either damning with faint praise (“well-maintained” or ad doesn’t highlight obvious features) or dismissing entirely (“needs updating” – to me that’s getting a new furnace and central air. To others it’s tear everything out, go to the big box and replace it all with flavor of the day – guaranteed to not fit right from the start and will look “dated” next week. And then sell the house because it fought back.
    I’ve counted several markets they’re not attracting – MCM enthusiasts, starter homes, and eco-conscious. I’m making it my mission to contact realtors to create and edit their ads to showcase the fine features of this era instead of ignoring or dismissing entirely.

  3. kara says:

    Again, I can not tell you how much I love what you did. It is with such an eye, and has such warmth, it is truly a masterpiece.

  4. Laurie Louise says:

    This is one of the best houses you’ve ever showcased, Pam. So perfect. So inspiring. I was hoping the surprise ending would be a give-away on the blog…two free nights maybe…one can dream…. Having the visionary get to live in her realized vision is even better. Thanks for lifting out spirits!

  5. Nina462 says:

    Sweet! I love the TV…& that they added a telescoping flat screen to the back. Awhile back you had a thread about tvs…..I gutted my 1960 Motorola (when it died) and put in my old tv in the cabinet. You have to use an old tv to do this, as flat screens are not square.

  6. Ranger Smith says:

    Wow, the attention to detail is amazing here. As was mentioned above, the sconce shades that match the drapes are a great touch. Such an impressive space. If it was available via Airbnb I’d almost have to make a special trip to Tacoma.

  7. TraceyC says:

    Since I love all things Art Deco, I was giddy with delight to see more rooms! When I look at the sofas in their living room they remind me of the Rowe Horizon sofa and love seat I bought for my living room as I was trying to create an Art Deco feel and had a very difficult time finding sofas. I think my sofa is almost an exact match to their vintage one.
    Love the dark bedroom furniture with the chrome handles. Are those vintage also? Still looking for a dresser to refinish like the one they have in the bedroom. Thanks for the dream rooms. Can’t wait to see vintage Santa Christmas.

  8. pam kueber says:

    I just looked up the Rowe Horizon sofa — very nice!! I might do a stand alone story on it… where to find deco-style sofas in general, a roundup. THANK YOU for the great tip!

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