Good Houses Spoiled by Bad Painting

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, July 8, 1914:  Nothing doing.

1914-07-24 a

1914-07-24 bSource: Ladies Home Journal (July, 1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since nothing was happening in Grandma’s life, I thought you might enjoy some pictures in a hundred-year-old article titled, Good Houses Spoiled by Bad Painting. The pictures show the “right” and “wrong” ways to paint a house.

1914-07-24 c

1914-07-24 d.


1914-07-24 e

1914-07-24 f.


28 thoughts on “Good Houses Spoiled by Bad Painting

  1. Strange arbitrary pronouncements about paint colours…Today we’d hopefully just say it’s a matter of different tastes…I too like the ‘ugly’ ones and wouldn’t have wanted this writer as a neighbour!

  2. I really like the first house with the yellow over the brick. Nothing wrong in standing out. Some places today it is hard to tell one house from the other.

  3. I’ve taken some time to catch up but just commenting here.
    Do you ever wonder about Grandma with her “nothing doing” entries? Was she unhappy or just bored?
    (Her 4th of July entry sure reveals the difference between our modern day 4th celebrations).
    Love the houses by the way

    1. My sense is that the reason she didn’t write much varied from one time to the next. Sometimes she was just busy with other things, whereas other times I think that she was feeling down.

  4. zI expect the writer would not have liked the gaily painted Victorians in San Francisco either – originally they were all painted in a solid color and the detail was very subtle.

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