When Americans Bought the Illusion of ‘Indoor-Outdoor Living’
Postwar Suburban Homes With Big Windows and Patios Sold the Idea of Leisure—and Air Conditioning
Think of postwar America, and what often comes to mind is a white, heterosexual family, pictured in a domestic suburban environment. You can tell this family lives in the suburbs because there is a lawn in the background, a tree framed in a picture window, a swimming pool glimmering behind a glass wall.
This almost-mythical family you are visualizing is drawn directly from a generation of magazine ads, commonplace during the mid-20th century, that portrayed so-called “indoor-outdoor living,” where the refinements …