By Kate Allen
Living in a studio apartment for the first time this year, I've cultivated a deep sense of appreciation for the built-in furniture that my space, unfortunately, does not have. Built-ins, especially of the bookcase species, are architectural aspects I seek out when looking for apartments. Much to my chagrin, those apartments that feature built-ins are well above my price range.
Built-ins save space, add character, and (most importantly) reduce the amount of furniture that I need to buy to make my living area complete.
As I was browsing the web for examples, the history of built-in furniture piqued my interest. While some of the earliest examples I can find exist in Victorian homes, many more instances are to be found in the 1950s and -60s modern era. Both were periods of incredible technological advancement, centered on the Industrial Revolution and the Space Age, respectively.
While the Victorian era and the Space Age on the surface appear to have little in common, I can easily imagine that their distinct and equally immense scientific breakthroughs had great impact on the design of their living spaces. For both generations, it was fast becoming an age of convenience in which orderliness and sanitation ruled (although it is hard to fathom how a Victorian mind could look upon his or her crowded parlor and be reminded of order). Perhaps it is due to this desire for order and cleanliness that both eras feature a high concentration of built-in furniture.
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