Monday, December 7, 2009

Then And Now

Back in the day, many people had a table like this in their kitchens or dining rooms.
But this set would be a bit too small by today's standards.

A more popular choice is the bar height model.

Or a larger, more plush upholstered model.

Back in the day, a sofa like this would have been considered as top of the line by many.
(Okay, it would have better upholstery.)
This sofa would have matching side chairs and marble topped coffee tables and end tables.
(Anyone whose parents or grandparents were from the South probably has at least one living room set such as this.)

But in our "Bigger Is Better" society, this model is a popular choice for most of America's middle class.
Back in the day, a full size rice bed was standard in the homes that were considered to be a little more affluent.
(Back in the day, there were basically two bed sizes; twin and full. There is no such thing as an Antique King Size Bed. Back in the day, people would just push two twin beds together to form one large bed.)
But today, this king size bed would be considered as spare and under-decorated.
Maybe it's a better diet, maybe it's having more money, maybe it's seeing what others have and having more free time - but what was considered as "Doing Well" in decades past, is now considered as "Being Poor" by many today.
(Although that old stuff is appreciating in value while the new stuff lost half it's value the moment it left the showroom floor.)


brohammas said...

It's not just getingbiggerbut cheaper. We have all become IKEAized in that rare is the model not made of particle board and held together loosley by hey screws.
Confront one of these new pseudo rich with the cost of an actual hard wood piece of furniture and they will fall over and expose their lack of affluence.

I do have an appreciation for the new mix of wood/modern look. The sort of clean lines in dark finishes as seen in about every Target isle in America.

FreeMan said...

I help to import all the cheap crap from China for a lot of furniture places like Jennifer Convertibles and your side of the road places. If you knew how much it really cost you would rather import it yourself directly instead of paying extra.

Somehow they have changed furniture from a permanent thing to a temporary thing. Nothing lasts over 4 years and then you throw all of that plywood away and get a new set.

But overall the quality is getting better but never compares to stuff that is handcrafted out of Portugal.

uglyblackjohn said...

Again... it's just the "Illusion" of wealth (Although for a shorter period of time.).
One would be amazed at the remodels I do where people throw away old classic solid wood funniture in favor of Jennifer Convertables or Ashley that everyone else has.

When I try to explain their mistake - they never listen.
Most people don't see the value of passing the old classics down from one generation to the next.
Most see it as wearing hand-me-down clothes.
At which point I take the old pieces to an antique dealer friend who refurbishes the stuff and sells it at ridiculous prices.
(This brotha' now has a huge wherehouse full of potential wealth that others have just thrown out in favor of something less.)

Actually, both the size and the lack of quality in today's furnishings reflect the current mindset of the American consumer.
If people weren't so fat - they wouldn't need such hefty funishings.
If they weren't so shortsighted - they would understand the value of acquiring wealth intead of throwing it away and starting from scratch each generation.

doll said...

It is not just the furniture that differentiates vintage and modern TV and film sets. Watching anything pre 1982 the lack of electronic devices is startling. Even in Kitchens the worktops are devoid of clutter with maybe just a prominently positioned toaster.

Marianne said...

Uglyblackjohn, you have my dream job! I often see great solid wood pieces at thrift stores, that only need a little TLC, and wonder who is the idiot who gave them up.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ doll - Interesting.
With the increase in apliances,
we needed the bigger kitchens.
I guess this is true of everything.
As we've acquired more goods - we required bigger homes.
Explains all the MacMansions.

@ Marianne - I don't really have a job.
I just kind of do whatever I find interesting at the time,
or whatever someone requires at the time.