Sunday, 11 September 2011

Best 1930s books and Eco-Friendly Home giveaway

The 1930s House Manual, Haynes
The 1930s House Explained, Countryside Books
After researching books and manuals on 1930s houses, these two are the best books I have sourced on houses of this decade. At a first glance you'd think they cover the same ground, but they complement each other beautifully.

The 1930s House Manual (RRP 19.99) by chartered surveyor Ian Alistar Rock  is part of the famous Haynes range of practical, DIY manuals that cover anything from car maintenance to military aviation aircraft. There are several titles in the Home DIY section, including a manual on Victorian houses (it would have been useful in my previous house). The 1930s House Manual also includes extra technical data for houses built from the 1920s to the 1950s, which is a bonus as many houses tend to have older-style features (for instance in our house the front room fireplace is 1930s, but the wooden surround is more Victorian in style - I had the same one but painted white in a Victorian flat I used to rent - and the 1960s house I used to rent had a reproduction 1930s tiled fireplace).

My partner and I are hands on, so a lot of the advice contained in this manual will be really useful. Of course we cannot tackle all repairs ourselves, but it's handy to know how our house was built and how it can be fixed and maintained. There are lots of colour illustrations, which are great to date features. We found photos of our front door (so it's original then), brick fireplace, staircase and even the electric fire in one of the bedrooms (minus the tiles). There is even a chapter on garden history, including pictures of garages, gates... you name it. 

The 1930s House Explained (RRP £7.99 - £6.99 online from publisher) by author and illustrator Trevor Yorke has a social history slant while still offering information on 1930s houses. Illustration and black and white photography cover materials, features and architectural details. The Interior Fittings section offers interesting pointers on interior decoration and style. Our mismatched front room fireplace is thus explained: "...eclectic mixes of traditional surround and modern tiling were not unusual". 

Its budget price might make it attractive for those who just want to know more about their home without going into much technical detail. For me, it's a good addiction to the Haynes Manual because I do love history and it has a bit more about interior decoration (furniture and decorating styles).

The EcoFriendly Home
Last but not least, here is a fascinating book about green living. The Eco-Friendly Home (RRP 14.99) by Dan Phillips is an easy-to-read but well informed book on "living the natural life". I loved the no-nonsense, down-to-earth approach and there are gold nuggets of advice for period homeowners too. 

The photography is stunning, so plenty of interior ideas to be inspired by. I love the detailed advice, down to choosing the perfect plate! Babies, children, teenagers and pets are all taken into account. There are plenty of cheap and cheerful tips too, so it's purse friendly too. 

Free competition - win The Eco-Friendly Home, worth £14.99!
I have a copy of this insightful book to give away to a lucky reader (you might want it for yourself or to give as a present). All you need to do is leave a comment using your blog name or online profile. Competition closes on 30 October 2011 and is open to UK mainland only. Only one entry per household please.

PS: In my quest for books on 1930s house I have drawn a blank on books specialising on interiors... so any suggestion is welcome. Please leave a comment even if that book is out of print, I can try the library or buy it second hand.

PS. If you are into DIY and female, there's a Haynes manual for us ladies... Tips on those niggling jobs and a few 'man' jokes thrown in! Click here for more info.

UPDATE: Many congrats to Piper & Daisy who won the Eco-Friendly Home. It's now in the hands of Royal Mail (fingers crossed!).


  1. I'd love to win :)
    I follow as pooterpinky with GFC
    On Twitter I am @compgirl1

  2. Following you via GFC

    Twitter: @littleboo_21


  3. following you on twitter kezie666

  4. Hi, following you on Twitter as @LoveWinning

  5. I'd like the book to give me ideas on my home.

  6. I would love this book for my mum :)

  7. Hi I follow on GFC @RedRoseMummy :-)

  8. I'm following on GFC.
    @Isis1981uk on Twitter.

  9. following you on GFC
    @gumbie23 on Twitter

  10. This sounds like a book all the family could benefit from - both now and in the future

  11. following you on blogger. I'm a really keen DIYer but I'm more into trying to make our place look like it's in the 21st century rather than back in the 1930's :-) Mine is a 1950's house so it's just getting to the point where everything seems to need doing at the same time.
    Couldn't imagine DIY'ing and trying to create the look and feel of a specific period too! twitter id is @piperanddaisy - blog is

  12. What a lovely looking book :)


  13. Following on GFC.
    @LouiseRWs on twitter
    thank you

  14. following you on GFC
    @fionamaclean on twitter


  15. Following you via GFC - can contact me on Twitter as @compcake

  16. I need this book in my life! :-)