Who was the most influential residential architect of the 20th Century that you never heard of? Royal Barry Wills. Who was the most influential residential interior designer of the 20th Century that you never heard of? Hazel Dell Brown. I wonder if they ever met each other. If I had a dinner party time machine, these two would be At The Top of My List! Above: Let’s discuss Anatomy of a Kitchen Design — Hazel Dell Brown for Armstrong Linoleum, Kitchen Design 1941.Heck yeah there is more →
Remember our delicious story about Louisa Kostich Cowan, protege of Hazel Dell Brown? Hazel Dell Brown, head of Armstrong Floors’ interior design department for decades: The most influential residential interior designer of the 20th Century — who you probably never heard of. Today: 21 of her designs from 1941 — along with the entire catalog (from my personal collection) in a slide show at the end. Lovely interiors — for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and more — for us to scrutinize for an expert’s view on how to put together a room beautifully. Heck yeah there is more →
I have this opinion that Hazel Dell Brown was the most influential residential interior designer of the 20th Century. In 1921, she was hired by Armstrong Flooring to create an interior design team tasked with creating real rooms to show off Armstrong products in advertisements. She was super successful and led interior design there for decades to follow. I have done a lot of research about Hazel Dell Brown, and need to write a big story soon! I will, I promise! Meanwhile, the point of today’s story: Valerie, a longtime reader of this blog, recently scored a big bundle of renderings by a subsequent Armstrong designer, Louisa Kostich Cowan — a Hazel Dell Brown protege who herself went on to lead Armstrong’s interior design department for many years after Dell Brown. Valerie generously spent an afternoon photographing some of the designs — which we are so excited to show here today! Heck yeah there is more →
We know that many of our readers love 1940s decor. To be sure, there’s a lot to like! For example, this 1940s kitchen — with its lovely green cabinetry, bits of red scattered about the room and that fantastic linoleum floor — is just calling me to come inside and spend an afternoon baking pies. For some, creating these kinds of rooms is easy — others may need a little help, especially if the room they start out with is less than ideal. Luckily this week’s vintage catalog provides lots of ideas and inspiration. The catalog was directed by Hazel Dell Brown — an amazing historical figure, the longtime queen of interior design at Armstrong.
When it comes to studying interior design in the 1950s, the ideas captured in this 1957 Chevy ad certainly are memorable: A rainbow of eye-popping pastels, design that is long and low and angles and flourishes that suggest speed and even, flight. But just like today, there wasn’t just “one” look in the 1950s — there were several. Some looks gained popularity consecutively, as technology, tastes and social mores evolved… while some ran concurrently, recognizing that the U.S. is a diverse, individualistic, creative nation. In this “What’s Your Major?: Retro Renovation” post, I create my own categories out of seven major interior design trends that I have identified from the 1950s. That said, these are big, non-academic buckets. — I’d love to hear your ideas and analysis, too.