1950s decor / Decoración de los años 50

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

YESTERDAY’S VINTAGE PHOTO OF MY mother got me thinking. I decided I would share some fashion photos from the 1940s. However, while browsing through my scans, I came across a set of photos of my parents in their first apartment in Brooklyn. It was 1950. They were married in late 1947 when my father was still in the Army. When he returned six months later, they stayed with my maternal grandparents until they could afford a place of their own. My father was 23 and my mother was 22.


LA FOTO VINTAGE DE AYER de mi madre me hizo pensar. Decidí compartir algunas fotos de moda de la década de 1940. Sin embargo, mientras revisaba mis escaneos, encontré un conjunto de fotos de mis padres en su primer piso en Brooklyn. Era 1950. Se casaron a finales de 1947 cuando mi padre todavía estaba en el ejército. Cuando regresó seis meses después, se quedaron con mis abuelos maternos hasta que pudieron pagar un lugar propio. Mi padre tenía 23 años y mi madre 22.

• My mother told me she didn’t even know how to make coffee when she was first married.
• Mi madre me dijo que ni siquiera sabía cómo hacer café cuando se casó por primera vez.
• The first time (and the last) I ever saw my father cook was in 1957 when my mother had a baby who died a week later. She was still in hospital. My father made Dale and me pancakes. I can remember the two of us sitting at the kitchen table in shock (and a bit of awe).
• La primera vez (y la última) que vi a mi padre cocinar fue en 1957 cuando mi madre tuvo un bebé que murió una semana después. Ella todavía estaba en el hospital. Mi padre nos hizo panqueques a Dale ya mí. Puedo recordarnos a los dos sentados a la mesa de la cocina en estado de shock (y un poco de asombro).
Electrical work, too. He did it all.
También trabajo eléctrico. Lo hizo todo.
• I found a receipt for the solid cherrywood bedroom furniture after my mother died in 2016. In 1950, they paid $846. In 2016 money, that was equivalent to $8,472.39. My mother (the Dowager Duchess, remember) always claimed they were poor.
• Encontré un recibo por los muebles de dormitorio de madera maciza de cerezo después de que mi madre murió en 2016. En 1950, pagaron $ 846. En dinero de 2016, eso equivalía a $ 8,472.39. Mi madre (la Duquesa Viuda, recuerda) siempre afirmó que eran pobres.
• The Singer sewing machine was brand new. My father read the instructions and taught my mother how to use it. Then, there was no stopping her. To give you an idea of scale, the sofa in background (dark area at left) was 9 feet long (3 meters).
• La máquina de coser Singer era nueva. Mi padre leyó las instrucciones y le enseñó a mi madre cómo usarlo. Entonces, nadie la detuvo. Para darte una idea de la escala, el sofá del fondo (área oscura a la izquierda) tenía 3 metros de largo (9 pies).
1953. On the street where we lived.
1953. En la calle donde vivíamos.
1951. What Dale thought of the kitchen wall paper?
¿Qué pensó Dale del papel de pared de la cocina?
Early 1955. I liked it. But that should have been a red balloon.
Principios de 1955. Me gustó. Pero eso debería haber sido un globo rojo.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

34 thoughts on “1950s decor / Decoración de los años 50”

  1. The red accents really stand out. Is that the safo that met an inglorious end when it was time to move it out?

    1. David:
      What a memory! The sofa moved out of Brooklyn and to Long Island with no problem. When we moved back to Brooklyn, it wouldn’t fit in the elevator. My father tipped the movers to carry it up 16 flights of stairs (he didn’t tip them enough). When they redid the living room in 1970, my father and I sawed the old sofa in two so we could get it in the elevator.

  2. B/w ones, very 1940s – fashions, decor and attitude [not sure what I mean by that]. And in the ’53, you look very fetching indeed in a dress.,

    1. Raybeard:
      And then there’s today’s photo of me playing with a doll. But you had to know that wasn’t me in the dress. My hair was blond.

  3. Oh, look at your little socks 🙂 So nice to see your parents and mine. Looks like real linoleum on that floor where your dad is doing electrical work. Was this an apartment in an old building, or a house? Of course, you know me, I’m looking at the doors and the woodwork and the door handle hardware!

    1. Judy C:
      I love your questions. Yes, that was real linoleum. Who knew that would be cool again? The apartment was the top floor of a 2-family house (what you probably call a duplex; we called an apartment on 2 floors a duplex). My father’s sister and family lived downstairs. The house was owned by my uncle’s mother. The house was more than 50 years old when we lived there. It’s still standing, too!

  4. I just caught up on the recent posts I’ve missed (teaching everyday takes up too much time!)– that IKEA chair really does have a nice tall back! I’m glad your hardware finally came. When I got my new iMac this summer, it came with everything, all packaged up nicely… except the power cord — it makes me wonder if all of these places are making their workers come to work with COVID, so they can’t think clearly to pack up everything that goes in the order. I hope not. Your wall by the chair is so colorful — you’ve told us about that painting, haven’t you? Did the Dowager Duchess do that one? Or you?

  5. That wallpaper looks so much worse in color! Because of sepia pictures and black & white movies, I never think of the past as being in color.

    1. Deedles:
      It’s fascinating when you have the chance to see those memories in color. As I was writing the blog post, I remembered my father’s 35mm slides.

  6. OMG that wallpaper was bad enough in black and white but in full colour? *horrified screams*

  7. Dear Mitchell,

    Just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoyed the photos of your family and home. We are of similar age and I appreciate the hit of nostalgia.

    I am trying to learn Spanish, and read your posts in Spanish, using google translate when I need to (which is fairly often, but less so than it was). I was supposed to have been in Malaga this past summer to study Spanish for 6 weeks, but Covid ended that dream (temporarily, en shallah).

    Muchas gracias para tus notas de Fuengirola!

    1. Neil:
      So sorry for the coronavirus wrench in your plans. Málaga awaits. ¡Muchas gracias a usted!

  8. Always LOVED those white enamel sinks. That’s when sinks were sinks!
    These photos are really great to see.
    People back then really made a fashion statement. Your parents look so cool!

    1. Jim:
      I STILL prefer those white enamel sinks. When we upgraded our San Diego kitchen, we didn’t want to lose it’s original 1924 charm. So we replaced the original sink with a new white enamel sink. I loved it. My mother had very cool style that my father enjoyed.

  9. no cabinets in the kitchen? and no counter space either. I didn’t know about your deceased sibling until today. 🙁

    $800 was A LOT of money back then. my sperm donor was making $70/week when he married my egg donor in 1953.

    1. anne marie:
      There was more to the kitchen than what is pictured. I know there were more cabinets but I doubt there was much more counter space. My mother lost a baby 3 years after I was born and 3 years before Chuck. She had always said he was stillborn but told me when she was in her 80s that he lived briefly and that she knew toward the end of her pregnancy that he wasn’t going to survive. Had to carry him to term anyway; what torture. SG and I discovered paperwork about his grave after my mother died and we went to the military cemetery on Long Island and discovered he had actually lived nearly a week.

    1. larrymuffin:
      I do resemble my father (and, I’m told, my mother, too). No microwave, dishwasher, food processor, coffee maker… How did they survive?

    1. mcpersonalspace54:
      I had never noticed those lashes before. I had them, too, when I was younger. My brother’s lashes were always more golden brown but so thick and long they hit his upper lids. They’re still amazingly thick (although the hair on his head isn’t).

  10. At that price I hope she kept the bedroom furniture as long as the receipt! I love seeing these old photos. That wall paper pattern looks a lot like some of the fabric you highlight in your fashion shots.

    1. Wilma:
      She had that bedroom furniture until she died. We were tempted to ship it here, but it was huge and weighed a ton, and we didn’t think it would even fit (dressers certainly wouldn’t fit in the elevator). Such a shame. The brass handles needed to be replated but, other than that, it was mint.

  11. Such charming photos. I like the way the Dowager Duchess decorated the apartment. I guess they weren’t too poor to afford some nice furniture. The cherry in the bedroom is beautiful.


    1. Janie:
      The bedroom furniture was stunning I thought. Too bad we didn’t have room for it here. It was enormous, and 7 pieces. My mother always insisted we had no money. I learned in college to hit up my father. He didn’t have the same opinion.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I love watching that show for the style alone. (I was going to respond like Lucy but I couldn’t figure out how to spell her response.)

    1. Steve:
      Yeah, I suppose you’re right. If that was in a place I was moving into, it would be gone very quickly. Dale was nearly 5 when we left that apartment. I wonder if she remembered that wall paper. Thankfully, I didn’t.

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