A Look Inside a 1960’s House & Garden Magazine


I have an obsession with vintage magazines.


I think it’s because they let us into the lives of people and society in the past – what they were buying, how they were thinking, what events were occurring. Minute details in the pages can give us fascinating insight into the minds of its readers at the time. So after finding this 1967 House & Garden magazine amongst a pile of 90s Marie Claire’s in a local charity shop, I bought it before barely turning a page.

During the 60s, House & Garden was run by legendary editor Robert Harling. Described by The Guardian as a ‘brilliant typographer and editor whose imagination helped transform domestic taste in Britain’, many owe the success of House & Garden to him. He was all about bringing real life and people into otherwise bare spaces, and as a result he invented what we now know today as lifestyle features.


One notable lifestyle feature is of this cosy attic holiday home near Copenhagen. Who would have thought this would look as inspirational today as it would have then?


A Pinterest-worthy nook. The rugs were collected by the owners and designers of this space - the Rasmussen brothers – during two consecutive railway trips they made to the Middle East. They carried them home in rucksacks.


Note the cool Scandinavian light fixtures. The brothers won many architectural Scandinavian competitions based on their designs.


A Japanese garden in Hertfordshire.


The 1960’s housewife could live an ‘unlaboured life’ since cleaning appliances had become far less time consuming.


A building you’d see today on Grand Designs, this impressive Essex Studio House was built with practicality and space in mind.


I’m no artist but I long for a studio like this. With the concrete floor and exposed beams, we’d probably call this ‘industrial chic’ these days - but then, the stripped-back materials were just a way to save money.


We witness Robert’s provocative writing style in this critical yet humorous take on The New Classes by author Robert Millar. Millar created a class system based on what a persons home and possessions look like - with the ‘Elites’ being at the very top and the ‘Artisans’ at the bottom. Robert (Harling) says that class to the English is ‘as dominant now as it was in Jane Austen’s day’. Hopefully this isn’t something we agree with today.


Illustrations by Derek Alder – this one is priceless.


This page covers the then must-have international furniture, primarily from Denmark. The ‘New Style Love Seat’ at the top of the left-hand page was retailing at £81 and 10s back in 1967 – that’s £1500 today.


‘Our man in Copenhagen’ is an advert for Scandinavian furniture at ‘direct selling prices’ in an ‘undercover showroom’ at Gees Court, London. Sounds mysterious! More affordable Scandi furniture was clearly sought after back in the 60s.


More traditional than it’s international counterparts, STAG furniture ‘you can live with for a lifetime, and still get a nice glow every time you look at it’. Perhaps this was implying that the new international furniture scene was a bit of a fad.


‘At once blending with the décor of the past and today. And looking right into the future’. Quite a promise for an ordinary-looking dining chair.


Note the coupon. As inconvenient as it would feel now, wouldn’t it be exciting waiting for your catalogue to arrive?


Clairtone: ‘quite simply the finest stereophonic radio gramophone in the word’.


Some 60s horoscopes to leave you with. Note the questionable prognosis for Taurus – ‘violent domestic quarrels’ are not something we’d typically expect to see written in our stars today.


To see what House & Garden are up to today, click here.