Reforms That Influenced American Living

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In the early twentieth century, an incredible artistic movement occurred that prompted an aesthetic reform for American living. The movement was known as Arts and Crafts. A mix of progressives consisting of designers, architects, and artists promoted simplified architectural style, handicraft production, and wholesome environments. The following essay will examine the many social and economic influences that shaped the new housing developments as well as what effects the ‘modern’ bungalow style housing had on the American family.

In 1900, Americans were very receptive to the new bungalow style home. According to historian Gwendolyn Wright, Americans have long used domestic architecture to encourage certain kinds of family and home life. The Arts and Crafts movement helped demonstrate this by promoting simplified and wholesome environments through quiet lines and minimal decoration. In 1901, a man named Gustav Stickley created a magazine that offered his readers model house designs to build on their own homes. This would allow many working-class families to become homeowners. Another designer named Edward Bok was very influential on the development of the new style of housing. In Wright's article, she says "Bok wanted to encourage middle-class women to become more involved in the home thereby relinquishing their recent tendencies to abandon domestic duties for jobs for women's clubs activities." He wanted a house free from "senseless ornamentation", one that was equipped with the latest sanitary fixtures and decorated with unpretentious furnishings, with a few handmade necessities. Bok thought that many women made the mistake of over furnishing their homes because they fear being seen as “bare”. He has many arguments about why a simply furnished home would be better, especially for women. Many architects were hesitant to accept Bok's designs, but when the depression came in the 1890s they became very open to the idea of his suburban dwellings. In 1901, Bok...
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