Monday, August 16, 2010

When Home is... a Workshop

‘A workshop is the foundation for home improvements’, a March 1956 copy of Australian House & Garden tells me. Yes, it’s the same magazine that talked about expanding living areas into garage spaces and such articles make me realise that back in the 50s it would have been hard to get a job as a handyman. It seems that DIY really did stand for ‘Do-It-Yourself’ back then.

And it feels like everyone would have had the skills – and the workshop – to refurbish the bathroom, make a fireplace surround, build their own back fence and chairs (!) all in the same month.

But the DIY project that stood out for me the most in this issue was step-by-step instructions for making your own cocktail table:

‘Want to make your own cocktail table quickly and easily? Here’s one you’ll have little trouble with, modern as tomorrow, very inexpensive and fitted with a tricky feature you’ll like – a top that is automatically self-dusting. Crumbs and dust will drop right through for the sweeper to pick up below.’

I like the idea of regular cocktail parties at friends’ homes. It seems very glamorous and grown up yet I don’t know anyone who entertains this way anymore. Amongst our friends, brunch is as adventurous as we seem to get at this stage of our lives.

Anyway, back to DIY. The instruction that stood out for me was: ‘To attach the table to the brass legs, your husband can drill holes through the brass rod for thin screws.’

Obviously husbands took care of DIY AND the use of any power tool back then. If my husband and I existed together in the 1950s, our house would be falling down around us. While my husband is fantastic in many ways, one of those ways is certainly not while holding a power tool.

He cooks, cleans, shops for groceries and gets up to the children in the middle of the night but when it comes to DIY we’ve had some disasters. Most notably, a very crooked towel rail in the bathroom which seems to be sloping more as time goes on.

Yes, he can put Ikea furniture together but I don’t fancy his chances with the cocktail table. Perhaps it all comes down to the state of our back shed. Today, it’s certainly not any ‘foundation for home improvements’ and definitely not with all those cobwebs growing across the doorway.

B&W picture taken from Australian House and Garden magazine, March 1956


Claire said...

Not sure if the towel rail is the best moment.. I liked the plate rack.. And I reckon I'm handier than Chad at Ikea stuff - especially when it comes to allan keys..

Germaine Leece said...

But did you know that the plate rack fell down on me when I was seven months pregnant?! Something about wrong size plugs and screws...


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