They meant well.

They only wanted the best.

Published in 1975 in Des Moines, Iowa - middle of the country, middle of the decade, middle of the latter half of the century. (My copy is the third edition of the fifth printing, which sounds even MORE middlish.)

The problem with this book is simple: it was launched at the nadir of the era of postwar taste - or the apex of bad taste, depending on your view. The sixties pop influences had melted into a purply goop of depressing “mod” styles; the older styles were still around, but didn’t belong in the 70s architecture, or looked embarrassed to be around the new colors.

They meant well; They only wanted the best. But this is what they told America was “good taste.” This was what millions of homes looked like, because Better Homes and Gardens told them so.

Prepare yourself.