Built-in breakfast nooks were a popular item in the early 1920s and especially so in kit homes. After the grand Victorian home fell from favor, the bungalow craze took over and suddenly The Little House was the best house to have. (As Henry David Thoreau said, “Simplify, simplify, simplify,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson is purported to have responded, “I think one simplify would have been enough.”)
Bungalows were a fine idea whose time had come, but there was one problem: space! Creative builders and architects improvised by creating intimate spaces in small areas, such as a built-in table and matching benches for the morning meal. It was a wonderful idea, and also saved the housewife some work. It was far easier to set up and clean off a small table in the kitchen than frittering away the hours dealing with meal preparation at the formal dining room table.
Below are pictures from catalogs and magazines of the time, showing the breakfast nook of the early 1920s. At the bottom is a picture from a 1919 issue of Popular Mechanics, showing a “convertible” breakfast nook! Table by day, stiff-as-a-tabletop bed by night.
Hopefully, some history loving old-house homeowners will be able to use these vintage photos to restore the breakfast nooks in their own homes.
To read more about breakfast nooks (and see more pictures), click here.
A little scant in terms of detail, but still cute. This image is from the February 1911 Ladies' Home Journal.
This simple breakfast table was offered with the Sears kit home, The Verona.
This fine looking table was offered in the Sears Preston, a spacious Colonial kit home. Note that the benches don't have backs! Nothing says comfort like a hard-plaster wall!
This page features the breakfast table offered in the Sears Magnolia. These seats have backs!
This "breakfast alcove" came with the Sears home, The Honor.
The "Pullman Breakfast Alcove" came with your Sears Ashmore. More modest than the others, it has simple benches with no seat backs.
The image below appeared in the June 1919 issue of Popular Mechanics and provided the ultimate space saver. By day, it was a cute little trestle table with matching benches. By night, it was an extra sleeping space for your overnight guests.
Easy to make and simple to use, this "convertible" breakfast table provided extra sleeping space for visitors.
As seen in the 1919 Popular Mechanics, this breakfast nook could be folded out into a bed. Overnight Guests - it's what's for dinner!
And the real deal - in the flesh - a 1930s breakfast nook as seen in the Sears Lynnhaven in southern Illinois.
Awesome rooster towels not included.
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