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Elegance Revisited: Exploring 1930s Interior Design Through the Lens of Steven Harris

The 1930s in the United States was a period of remarkable artistic diversity. While Art Deco flourished in Europe, American interior design embraced two distinct styles: the sleek, minimalist Streamline Moderne and the glamorous Art Deco with its own unique twist.

Modern living room with 1930s Art Deco influences, showcasing a pale wood coffee table, a sculptural lamp, a vintage slipper chair, and a custom-colored silk rug complementing the muted cork floors. The geometric shapes and curated artwork echo the era's glamour

This blog post delves into the enduring allure of 1930s interior design, particularly through the masterful work of Steven Harris, one of the AD 100 Best Architects. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the timeless elegance and modern relevance of this iconic era in design.

A Tale of Two Styles: Streamline Moderne and Art Deco

Streamline Moderne, born during the American Industrial Revolution, championed clean lines, curved edges, and a focus on functionality. Its aesthetic, characterized by chrome accents and streamlined furniture inspired by modern machinery, reflected the nation's embrace of progress and efficiency. Meanwhile, Art Deco exuded luxury and opulence, with its geometric patterns, bold colors, and lavish materials like lacquer and mirrored surfaces. However, after the economic turmoil of the Great Depression, Art Deco evolved, embracing muted tones and sophisticated neutrals like Pantone's acclaimed Sustained Grey, which continue to captivate designers and homeowners today.

Vintage black and white photo showcasing the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building, symbols of New York City's architectural heritage
Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash

Steven Harris: Blending the Old and New

Portrait of Steven Harris, AD 100 Best Architect and Principal at Steven Harris Architects

For over three decades, Steven Harris, principal at Steven Harris Architects, has been a torchbearer for the architectural legacy of 1930s New York. In an interview with Maison Global, Harris expressed his admiration for what he considers "the greatest age of apartment buildings in New York."

His projects seamlessly merge classicism with contemporary sensibilities, resulting in spaces that exude a luxurious yet understated elegance. Whether crafting sleek homes in the West Village or reimagining uptown Manhattan, Harris's award-winning designs strike a delicate balance between glamour and subtlety, resonating with clients seeking timeless sophistication.

A Case Study: The West 54th Street Apartment

Harris's West 54th Street project serves as a quintessential example of his design philosophy. Nestled in Midtown Manhattan, this luxury apartment renovation epitomizes a harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern luxury.

Stepping inside this luxurious pied-à-terre in the Rockefeller Apartments, one is enveloped by a symphony of warmth and richness, featuring 20th-century abstract art alongside meticulously crafted details, courtesy of Lucien Rees Roberts's meticulous 1930s inspired interior design.

A Living Room Steeped in Sophistication

The juxtaposition of 20th-century abstract art, perhaps featuring bold geometric shapes in vibrant hues, with bespoke furnishings is evident in the atmosphere of effortless sophistication inside the living room. This space exudes a captivating blend of pale wood tones, lively textures, and carefully curated pieces. Shapely furniture, sculptures, and the client's collection of vintage glass and metal exude an air of refined comfort, perfect for both relaxation and entertaining. The custom-colored silk rug complements the muted cork floors, creating a harmonious foundation for the entire space.

Modern living room with 1930s influences, showcasing a pale wood coffee table, a sculptural lamp, a vintage slipper chair, and a custom-colored silk rug complementing the muted cork floors

A Jewel Box Bedroom

In contrast to the vibrant energy of the living room, the bedroom offers a tranquil retreat. Upholstered walls in serene beige silk create a jewel box effect, enveloping the space in warmth and luxury. A warm wood headboard with built-in bedside tables adds a touch of functionality, while the vintage slipper chair upholstered in a luxurious dove gray silk exudes timeless sophistication and provides a comfortable spot for reading or quiet reflection.

Modern bedroom with 1930s influences, showcasing a beige silk upholstered wall and a classic slipper chair

A Dressing Room Fit for Royalty

Harris' meticulous attention to detail extends to even the dressing room, transforming it into a fashion sanctuary. The walls are adorned with an opulent ivory faux ostrich material, adding a touch of unexpected texture. Custom coral-colored mirror cabinetry reflects the owner's personality and creates a sense of light and spaciousness. This luxurious space provides the perfect environment to unwind and curate one's wardrobe.

Modern bathroom with a round stool and a simple picture, showcasing clean lines and a serene ambiance

The Enduring Legacy of 1930s Design

Nearly a century later, the influence of 1930s interior design continues to resonate within the luxury home décor movement. Whether it's the timeless elegance of muted tones or the sleek functionality of Streamline Moderne, these elements offer endless inspiration for creating sophisticated and beautiful living spaces.

Ready to Explore More?

If you're looking to incorporate the enduring allure of the 1930s into your next project, explore our latest Instagram posts for more inspiration on creating luxury interiors that capture the essence of this iconic era.

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