Monday, November 3, 2008

Blandwood and the Washstand

Following the path of the washstands around the world I have found them everywhere. They first rose in rich homes because of the need for an area to get cleanse yourself during the 1900’s. The washstand itself became a symbol for social status just as everything else in this period. The more money you could spend on something no matter if it was needed or not was the ideal for most families. One home I chose in particular to place the washstand was the Blandwood Mansion in Greensboro, NC. This is home to the John Motley Morehead, previous governor to Greensboro. It is the last form of Italian architecture still residing in NC. Constructed in 1795, it was a piece of the family treasure for century’s to come. Knowing the family like to set the standard for society at the time, I can imagine them purchasing one of these washstands and having it elaborately detailed with colorful tiles. It would appear in one of the daughters rooms or perhaps even in the master bedroom area.
Most of the furniture around this period was from the arts and crafts movement. Everything was well crafted by hand so that special details were highlighted and accentuated. Compared to a modern version today, you would simply see a vanity counter placed only in the bathroom, not in a room where the bed would be. Bathrooms are still sought out to elaborate and well designed but they have become a private room.
The changes from this late 1800’s and 1900’s to the 21st century today have dramatically changed. First is the appearance of these styles of buildings the washstand might be seen in. Wealthy family had very elaborate houses with many staff and an extensive piece of land. Today’s world we are thinking about, how do we make this compact and fit into our growing society. Therefore, this is the reason why the washstand has become downsized and compacted with the sink so that it connects or attaches directly to the wall of the house. It is interesting to look at other items and notice this change as well. From artifacts to buildings, all have been influenced someway by the changes in society and population growth.


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