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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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A Place in the Sun: 1940

A Place in the Sun: 1940

January 21, 1940. "Stephen A. Lynch Jr. residence, No. 3 Sunset Island, Miami Beach, Florida. Living room, general view. William Pahlmann, decorator; Robert Law Weed, architect." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.

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I would hope those walls are a deep rose color and the drapes a dusty rose, but if I remember the decade correctly, they are more likely to be a deep green with chartreuse drape.

Looming Presence

What is that item in the extreme left foreground that looks like the underside of a trampoline or of an industrial-strength cot?

UPDATE: Ah, it's a screen. I found this image on EBay.

50 Shades of Grayscale

Yes, the room is a cold space —- in black and white. But the deep tone of the walls suggests a vibrant color that most certainly would have warmed the mood.

Still searching for it

Based on visits to other rooms just like this, I bet there's a crystal bowl containing 10 year old hard candies.

Clapper beta?

It would be great if the hands on the table on the right clapped to turn on the lamp.

Well it's not on

Star Island, but I guess it will just have to do.


Cozier than a doctor's waiting room, but not by much.


My eye was immediately drawn to the floor tiles. I can well imagine this same shot taken forty years later with the edges all dried and curled.

[Those are ceramic tiles. - Dave]

Uninviting still

As a young fellow in the late forties and early fifties, I can say these sorts of rooms were found fairly often- and were never comfortable to be in. I can't imagine this would have been any different even earlier. Glad it's over, like the others have said.

I don't know much about art

but Mr. Lynch's collection looks like it was assembled in a hurry from the local thrift store. Still, tastes change. Eighty years from now, what will folks think of the homes of 2018?


Too sterile looking for me. Let's live in it for a little.

S.A. Lynch

The Sunset Islands are man made islands in Biscayne Bay created by Mr. Lynch. The area is home to the rich and maybe famous. Mr. Lynch was the son of a Civil War veteran. He made his money in the early days of the film industry.

Mid-century modern??

That looks astonishingly like 1950s/1960s mid-century modern furniture. I've never seen such futuristic design in a photo as early as 1940. Mr. Lynch was definitely ahead of his time.

[The credit belongs to Mr. Pahlmann, avatar of mid-century design. -Dave]

Five Ashtrays

And some joints ready to go. Gotta love Miami.

Wow, nothing to warm you up here.

Having spent my formative years in the 1950s, I recognize some of the sparse and weird design influences going on here, but, it's still very strange by today's norms. Glad we moved on from this strangely spartan and cold design model.

Spotlessly clean

I'm guessing Mr. Lynch doesn't have a dog. Or a cat. Or kids. Or friends.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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