A couple has scrapped modern life to live like it's the 1930s. Even their clothes, car, furnishings, and appliances match that era, including a mangle and a gramophone.
Lisa and Neil Fletcher have transformed their lifestyle and home into a slice of pre-war Britain, from their flooring down to the doorknobs. They only watch black and white films and TV; have vintage light switches; and own a 1930s fridge, lawnmower, vacuum cleaner, and car. They listen to music on gramophones and have wardrobes bursting full of original 1930s fashion from vintage shops and car boot sales.
They pay for everything in cash and prefer to use a landline over mobile phones—and Ms. Fletcher even prefers to do the laundry by hand using a mangle.
Ms. Fletcher, 58, had the dream of living out an authentic 1930s lifestyle and convinced Mr. Fletcher, 55, who's an engineer, to get on board after they married in 1991.
The Fletchers have lived in three houses, and moved into their current abode six years ago, which they've been turning into their 1930s haven ever since. The house is complete with an original fireplace, furniture, and even appliances—including a working enamel cooker and 1935 Westinghouse fridge.
Not everyone they know fully understands their lifestyle, but the couple say they'll never go back to modern-day living.
"I was always interested in history from a child. I never liked shopping like other schoolgirls, but I used to drag a huge history book around with me," said Ms. Fletcher, from Watchet, Somerset, in England.
"After Neil and I married, I bought a few art deco pieces for the house until eventually he got on board and started buying them as well. We decided to go full '20s and '30s high style—for me it had to be full-on glamor. ... everything in our house has a story—if I woke up and it was all modern, I'd lock myself in a cupboard and not come out!
"When people see us in the street they sometimes ask if we're off to a wedding because of how we dress. I think people see us as completely barking mad, but I couldn't imagine anything else."
Ms. Fletcher shared how shortly after getting married, when she introduced the idea to Mr. Fletcher, he believed it would be "too art deco." But eventually, they agreed to go "full '20s and '30s."
The couple decked out their first home, a cottage, with as much original 1930s design as possible but also adopted the lifestyle. Over time, they fully embraced the vintage lifestyle.
"I never thought I'd actually find the clothes," Ms. Fletcher. "I always wanted to dress this way [vintage fashion], but nobody who does ever tells you where they get their clothes. Eventually I was tipped off by someone about a business, and they have basically supplied me with my entire wardrobe.
"We also go to car boot sales and charity shops a lot. I've got a real thing for gloves—we joke that if I buy any more, I could look after a coach party."
The couple moved into their current home in Watchet six years ago, which is a much more spacious three-bedroom house. The property had been entirely gutted by previous owners, so they set to work restoring it. While transforming their current home, over the years, they have kept a sharp eye out and managed to get hold of original second-hand items from the period.
The house's original linoleum flooring in the kitchen was found beneath the tiling, and they have now restored the floor to its former glory. Their 1930s renovation goes right down to the detail of the skirting boards, light switches, doorknobs, and original cabinets.
The pair snatched up an original 1929 Jackson grey enamel cooker for 250 pounds (approx. US$300) second hand, which is in perfect working condition and used every day. They also have a 1935 Westinghouse fridge, which was purchased on eBay—and one of only a handful of its kind still being used in the world.
"Buying everything second hand, it all comes with a story. Everything comes from somewhere," Ms. Fletcher said. "We bought this fridge when the owner told us 'if you want it, you have to come tomorrow' so we had to drop everything and rush to London that day to collect it. We always end up on lots of little adventures."
Their kitchen also has a full 1930s dinner service with original cutlery, glasses, tablecloths, and crockery for their traditional Sunday meals. But their most prized possessions are their three gramophones, on which they listen to their 1930s music from vinyl records.
Ms. Fletcher said one of the things that prompted them to move into a larger home was the fact that they had so many records in their collection "that it was making the ceiling bow." "I love my gramophone and I love my music," she said. "When I go into the kitchen and lay the tablecloth with all my bits and pieces, then play our music, I just think how lovely it all is."
Not only is their house entirely 1920s and 1930s, but their entire lifestyle reflects the era. Aside from a mobile phone that Mr. Fletcher uses for work, they stick to a landline phone. They keep their use of online banking and cards to virtually zero in favor of traditional cash-in-hand purchasing.
They have one tiny TV purchased for 100 pounds (US$120), which they only plug in when they want to use it, although only to watch black-and-white shows and films.
While her husband is out at work, Ms. Fletcher stays home to cook and clean and opts to wash by hand and dry using a traditional mangle. Their lawnmower, vacuum cleaner, and cars are also original and in keeping with the period.
Every week they sit around the table for a traditional Sunday dinner—and everything is homemade, with no processed food in sight.
Ms. Fletcher said: "I cook everything from scratch and do all my own baking. You'd be surprised the amount of food that came out in the 1920s and 1930s, and everything we eat is from that time. We do eat a lot of pies like cottage pie, which I suppose is a bit old-fashioned. Nothing modern like fajitas—never has a tortilla come into this house!"
The couple, who have no children, know they don't fit the mold, but they live the life that works for them.
"Sometimes we've wandered through a modern home showroom, just out of curiosity," Ms. Fletcher said. "They must have thought we looked strange walking through with our hats and handbags! But you see it look so clean and neat and lovely and realize it says nothing about you at all, there's no identity. Whereas everything in our home has a story, it comes from somewhere and has its own history."
She says they get mixed reactions to their lifestyle, with some people supporting it and others a little bewildered.
"I hope people will accept what we do and why," she said, "some are very complimentary but other people have been very rude in the past. ... I don't think our families really understand it, but we're not all the same, and it can't suit everyone. They were surprised by how nice our home was when they came to visit, though!"