May 16, 2011

A 1940s take on Mediterranean inspired home decor

Day 136 of Vintage 365


As the seasons change, so too can one's sense of what they're drawn to when it comes to interior design. In the frigid depth of winter it's entirely natural to want to surround yourself with rich fabrics, saturated hues (such as darkly hued woods, paints, wallpapers), mountains of cushions, throw pillows and blankets, heavy drapes and solid pieces that even unshakable on even the most bittingly cold of January nights.

Come the brighter, toastier - perhaps even more cheerful - days of mid-spring however, one's mind might shift towards thoughts of airy open spaces, serene colours, and cool-to-the-touch materials that somehow manage to help take the edge of the sweltering wrath of July and August.

While many a modern interior designer may think that a rustically styled Mediterranean home is - on this side of the Atlantic – a new(ish) concept, as the charmingly wonderful below from 1948 attests, some of our yesteryear decor mavens were keen on channeling a distinctly southern European vibe, too.


Few design styles so perfectly capture the warm allure and timeless beauty of summer as easily - or effectively - as a Mediterranean inspired look. In this classic kitchen - which would in no way, shape or form seem out of place a new home today - fiery tomato red is tempered by serenely mellow green and soft blue tiles, snowy white window boxes and honey hued wood furniture.

A smattering of plates depicting grapes, playfully ruffled window dressings, and a simple crockery container of flowers all add to the rustic, yet still carefully curated, feel of this spacious, beautiful room.

I could so easily image the women - dressed in her delightful peasant inspired garb - in this photo (which hails from the July 1948 edition of Country Gentleman Magazine and come by way of saltycotton on Flickr) sitting down to shuck a bowl of just-plucked peas, sip frosty lemonade with her girlfriends, or play cards late into the night, those tall windows open all the way to let as much air circulate and cool the home as possible.

There is much inspiration to gleamed from this European inspired kitchen, no matter what season you feel like decorating in. The timeless colours, old world elements, and solid styling cues of this fantastic vintage Mediterranean kitchen make it a sure-fire hit any day of the year.


  1. Great photo and interesting food for thought.

  2. Having eaten in a fair share of Meditteranean kitchens, I agree 100% with your observations. And they are fantastically cool in the summer - must be all those tiles...

  3. I really am digging the tile, and im wondering if the tiny bit of black mixed witht he green would work in my kitchen. its practiacally painted the same colors as in the picture!