Vintage Modern Elements: Telephones
Add Memories of Long Chats and Party Lines to Your Home Décor
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe as "collected." I got into design via Landscape Architecture, which I studied at the University of Virginia. I've been writing about design online for quite a few years over at Hatch: The Design Public Blog.
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta... More »
I realize someday soon there may be a point when all landline phones will be obsolete, and it makes me sad. Today's technological cordless numbers tend to lack the charm of those that popped up closer to Thomas Alva Edison's lifetime. There's something about unwrapping that pesky spiral cord or hearing an old-fashioned ring that makes me long for the days when I'd have a nice long chat with a loved one, rather than receiving a text that says "How RU," having someone's attention taken away by a boiling pot rather than the cashier they are rudely ignoring, and settling into a comfortable chair rather than settling into gridlock traffic.
This vintage-style phone is a part of a nice little assemblage of prints, a fun plate, the window and the vase of flowers. By the way, this is a new phone made to look vintage. The telltale sign is that the numbers are buttons and not a real rotary dial. Now that ten-digit dialing is a fact of life locally, thank goodness. Rotary dialing was one bit of phone history I don't miss.
Ah, the wall-mounted phone. Great for kitchens where we could be tethered to the line but still be able to move freely to work on dinner while gossiping without dragging the phone off a table. Isn't this silver version a perfect choice for The Shabby Nest's kitchen?
Usually all these cords would bug me, but here it just works. Placing the phone, plugs, tray, and adding those red switchplate covers helps make this a fun composition. Check out the way they are using that metal tray as a magnetic bulletin board. Clever!
This room is such a great mix of old and new, and the black-and-white phone straddles the line between vintage and modern.
Not quite a phone, the 2011 San Francisco Decorator's Showcase Home features an antique intercom system. Its aesthetic has a bit of a vintage telephone look. Such a system saves vocal cords in a home with over 30 rooms.
As far as vintage placement of telephones, most Victorian and Arts and Crafts homes had a nook like this meant for phone-talking. This is where the only phone in the home would be located. Usually there was a bench and a side table with a drawer for a pencil and a notepad, which became known as a telephone table.
Often smaller homes without such grand entry halls would have a simple niche in the wall of a hallway. I like the way this wall-mounted phone carries on that tradition.
This placement of this vintage phone in an upstairs hallway lends a bit of nostalgia to the space.
I was born in 1972, so the doughnut phone is something that goes into the my personal icons vault along with Farrah Fawcett's haircut, T-Tops, and Donnie and Marie. This is the one I keep on my bedside. It weighs a ton and its ring is obnoxiously loud (it predates the "ringer off" button), but I love the look so much I'm keeping it.
I took this photo a while ago, and if I had any tulips, I'd take my own advice and retake it with natural light, no wires showing, and cropping the bed showing on the left and the speaker showing on the right.
I wonder if the person who lives here was born in 1972 as well?
This Ball Chair with the red interior is well accessorized with a vintage rotary phone atop a stack of books.
This is another vintage style phone I have in my home. It always reminds me of the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer is mad that Pottery Barn is sending him so many catalogs, and Jerry says "Hey, let me have one of those. I wanna order one of those old-lookin' phones."
Wow, file it under "you don't realize until you see a picture" — my dresser needs a refinishing and some new hardware; I think it's looked like this since 1972.
The look of this simple black phone adds lots of vintage modern style into this home, but you may want a phone that makes calling 911 as easy as possible next to your bed.
Wondering exactly what vintage modern style is? We may not be able to define it, but we know it when we see it:
Vintage Modern: What does it Mean?
Vintage Modern: Featuring Heirlooms and Found Items
Ideabook published on April 29, 2011.
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