From Palaces to Pre-fabs

From Palaces to Pre-fabs by Ruth Artmonsky and Stella Harpley

Although how we furnished our homes in the latter part of the 20th century was largely influenced by two men - Terence Conran of Habitat and Ingvar Kamprad of IKEA - a number of women attempted, in their various ways, to influence our taste when it came to how we lived. Early on were the Victorian/Edwardian women, often associated with the Suffragette movement who both designed and sold furniture. These were followed, after WWI, by others also breaking social rank - the society hostesses - totally untrained but full of confidence, who having their own 'interiors' admired, saw a way of supplementing their incomes, by imposing their tastes on others. Meanwhile a few women were proselytising their concerns for well-crafted and designed products, through retail outlets from small financially precarious shops, to running part of the prestigious store, Heals. Wartime threw up an altogether more professional group - the 'doers' - those e,powered to 'do it themselves' . Additionally there were a handful of professional furniture designers and another small group looking to the design needs of the masses rather than the comfortably off. From Palaces to Pre-fabs sets out to restore the reputation of such women working in what was the largely male-dominated world of interior design.

From Palaces to Pre-fabs
Pioneering British women interior decorators and designers
Written with Stella Harpley
107 pp