Homes of the 1930s

Written by jessica kumor
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It is no surprise the housing market has changed significantly in the past 80 years. Styles, safety codes, materials and even the financial wringer of finagling your finances to afford such an investment have evolved.

Homes in the 1930s were the first held to a safety and planning standard by the federal government, through its Federal Housing Administration, or FHA. The FHA also held the purse strings by offering insured loan funding for builders beginning in 1934, which controlled home builders and their ability to develop house designs through the decade.

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Popular Home Types

Building regulations set by the FHA required homes to blend in with the rest of the neighbourhood. Popular home structures of the decade included bungalows, ranches and Tudors. Many cities were surrounded by a "bungalow belt," or a surrounding ring of suburbs built in the 1920s and 1930s, where the bungalow was the dominant home style. Two-story frame houses were also a popular in-town or suburb choice.

In cities, the working class lived in terrace houses or apartment buildings. In the country, traditional farmhouses or converted cottages for summer homes were the dominant design.

Building Regulations and Materials

Builders were required to test foundations, provide ventilation in all rooms and leave room in the walls and floors for home improvements to be made in the future. Homeowners became savvier to improving technology and wanted to ensure their homes would be equipped to handle future advances. Thus, spaces were left between floors and walls for future advances in electricity and plumbing.

However, hazardous materials were still common in 1930s homes, such as asbestos and lead paint. Other safe materials used then and today are linoleum, tile and wood.

Traditional Floor Plans

Home floor plans changed drastically. No longer were some concepts, such as private bedrooms, a thing for the rich. In the 1930s, each bedroom required a door that fully closed and had structural walls. All rooms were well lit and contained a form of ventilation. Bathrooms were centrally located to allow all members of the family easy access, and storage for kitchen supplies and linens were an expectation home buyers rarely budged on.

Home Furnishings

While it may seem simple, the end table became a popular fixture in the 1930s home. Convenience and comfort became the stylish trend. Standing lights, lamps, end tables and coffee tables were found in every room appropriate for such furnishings.

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