Better Homes and Gardens
|The September, 1964
issue of Better Homes and Gardens magazine contains an
extensive photographic record of the three Houses of Good Taste.
The Royal Barry Wills Associates "Traditional" House
The first of the three World's Fair houses, created by Royal
Barry Wills Associates, is an outstanding example of an American
standard: the traditionally styled home with an efficient interior
and plan. Its designers, well-known for their authentically styled
Early American houses, wanted it to have the flavor and charm
that people would appreciate, along with the flexibility and
arrangement of space found in the best new homes.
As the exterior photograph demonstrates, Wills designer Merton
Barrows succeeded in retaining the appeal of the original New
England home. Two wings extend from a slightly larger central
section, just as they did on the first Cape Cod Homes. Other
details also mark this as a Wills creation: small-pane windows,
properly proportioned shutters, narrow siding, and large central
The plan indicates the guiding concept of this house - a room
arrangement that is geared to a family of all ages. Since people
tend to live around a kitchen, it occupies a central place in
the plan; the living and dining rooms are close by, and the family
room is just down the hall by the garage. This arrangement helps
generate systematic privacy for the family, with space for the
children to entertain at one end and room at the other end for
a quiet master bedroom suite and a study.
The rear exterior of the Wills house displays the functional
side to this traditionally oriented home. All three of the rooms
facing the terrace - from the living room at left to the dining
and family rooms - have large glass panels and sliding doors.
For each of the rooms, the glass panels mean more light, an unobstructed
view to the yard, and a way outside. In keeping with the leisurely
pattern of family life, the terrace plantings are kept to compact,
convenient areas. The siding, though authentically scaled, is
permanent white plastic.
Inside the Wills House
Ellen Lehman McCluskey,
Everett Brown, C. Eugene Stephenson,
all F.A.I.D., for the
American Institute of Designers
The dining room of the Wills house is formal, yet doesn't seem
studied or forced. Living room colors were carried through to
the dining room, from the off-white of the rug and walls to the
salmon covers on the Queen Anne chairs. The crystal chandelier
and illuminated corner cupboards create an effective, dramatic
pattern of light. A walnut-stained plank floor harmonizes with
the living room paneling.
TheWill living room displays a graciousness that comes from mixing
the traditional forms of several eras. Just as our heritage draws
on the influences of England and the continent, the decorating
here is a blend, rather than a dry reproduction of any single
period. This skillful blending - and the use of modern materials
- make the room livable by today's standards.
The study of the Wills house also borrows heavily from the 18th
century. The English influence appears in the Queen Anne wing
chair, Italian provincial in the desk, and Oriental in the turnings
of the occasional chair. Here the salmon accents of the living
and dining rooms become the main color scheme. Grooved prefinished
paneling combines with the milled fireplace mantel to give the
study a subdued but authentic richness.
In some of the other rooms of the Wills house - like the child's
room shown at left - the formal decorating gives way to a more
informal arrangement. Here the furniture has the whimsical touch
of the 19th-century Hitchcock pieces, from rush-seat chairs to
the stenciled storage chest and lamp tables. The wall treatment
accentuates the light feeling of the room, with striped paper
repeating the drapery pattern. Solid squares of accent color
on the wall are frames holding small lead soldiers.
Efficiency is the hallmark of this combination laundry-bath.
A solid panel of ceiling light illuminates the room, with smaller
built-in fixtures in strategic corners. A wide storage counter
is divided by the mirror into a laundry-sorting section and a
vanity-dressing counter. The white folding door at left slides
back to reveal an under-counter washer and dryer, a compact sink,
and wall cabinets for linen storage. Exposed surfaces - from
walls to floors - are hard-finished, washable.
One end of the Wills kitchen was planned as a sewing center.
Even though it is as efficient as the laundry-bath, this room
retains the traditional detailing: fruitwood-and-brass chandelier,
flowered cafe curtains, diamond floor tile pattern, and wrought-iron
chairs with comb backs. Brightly lit, the sewing counter has
space for all equipment and materials; above and below it are
deep storage cabinets, some of them with accessory racks mounted
on the inner side of the doors.
In the main area of the kitchen, the island cooking unit forms
the hub of activities, its hanging pans and copper hood adding
a plantation-kitchen warmth to the room. Ranged carefully around
the island are a double sink, long work counters, and the appliances.
On the far side of the room, surrounded by storage, is a built-in
Homes and Gardens Magazine, September, 1964
A vaulted acoustic ceiling, trimmed with antique beams, establishes
the Early American mood of the family room. Elm paneling and
dark plank floor set off the greens and browns of the comfortable
pieces. Unusual accessories - like the ship's lantern and the
coffee table adapted from a trestle table - add realistic notes
to the decorating scheme