In the dining room…

Because many of us will be spending some time this week in our dining rooms participating in the annual giving of thanks with family and friends, we thought it would be of interest to share these plans and word picture of a state-of-the-art dining room, circa 1914.

Arthur C. Clausen was a Minneapolis and then Portland-based architect and writer who wrote a regular column for the Oregon Daily Journal from 1913-1914 on home design and construction. Often using interesting language (and clearly some dated expressions and ideas) Clausen was trying to influence the thinking of home buyers, architects and builders at a time when homebuilding on Portland’s eastside was taking off.

We like Clausen’s notion of the dining room as a place to welcome our best friends with the least formality and where both pleasant and problem-solving conversations flourish. Read on (click to enlarge):

From The Oregon Daily Journal, August 3, 1913

Clausen’s described dining room bears a striking resemblance to our own: bay window, wainscot and dust-collecting plate rails (he was right). Maybe you recognize elements of your own dining room? We’ll share more of his columns down the road, but this one just seemed timely.

Good Thanksgiving wishes from our dining room to yours.

9 responses

  1. This plan is almost exactly a mirror-image of the house my grandfather John B. Larsen built for his own family in 1912, the year my father was born.  It is a four-square on 42nd, between Klikitat and Siskiyou.  My house was larger – 4 bedrooms on the second floor, and a 3rd floor with a small bedroom (that was mine when I was 5 or 6 years old in the mid-’40s.)  It recently sold for over $800,000, 3,200 sq ft., and in 1920 was valued at $4,000 in the census.Thanks for your blogs…

    Jerry LarsenKing City

  2. The living room or parlor was always called the ‘front room,’ but the dining room has always been the heart of the house. Great work – happy Thanksgiving to you guys!

  3. Lately new open floor plans (and remodels older homes) eliminate a lot of walls. Now Great Rooms combine Living, Dining, Kitchen and Family rooms into one huge ‘family area’ that takes up most of the first floor. Wonder what it will evolve to in another 100 years?

  4. Yesterday I happened to call the city to get all the records on the house I grew up in since I was 15 years old (Minneapolis, MN – Uptown Area… now that I’m a bit older I have a lot of repairs to do on the house… while looking over the records I came across the architects name… I just found out today that our home was designed by Mr. Arthur Clausen in 1909. I can definitely see his work in our home from the photos and plans you posted. He was very talented and considerate from what I can gather. I hope I can get these repairs done and save our family home. I would like to send photos of the finished work if we get there… especially the dining room which is actually in the best shape out of the entire house… probably because everyone who passed through there – immediately appreciated its inherent beauty. Thank you for posting this info! – Lewis Brown

    • I’m glad you found this helpful, and definitely send along photos of your restoration. Stay tuned for more columns from Arthur here on the blog.

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