"Own your own home!" a slogan so familiar in the twenties as to be almost meaningless, sometimes meant a new house in an established suburb, sometimes a house in a "development" or a "subdivision." But in those days, unlike the mass-produced housed of almost identical shape and style that we have seen rising near all the big cities in the last seven years, a home-of-one's-own meant a house different from one's neighnor's. Often the difference was merely in an architectural slip cover that went over the plan. Taste was a quality to be carefully strained, and the court of appeal on all such matters was first a peek into your neighbor's window and then a careful study of the women's magazines.

What does the author mean with "taste was a quality to be carefully strained" and "the court of appeal?"

Please help!

Taste was to be carefully exercised (thus not that important).
It was more important to be different (from your neighbour), than to have a tasteful design.

The court of appeal: the final judgement.
I think that rather than saying taste wasn't important, it was "stretched" so that what was considered "in good taste" stretched to cover many things.

An alternative meaning is that it was put through a metahporical strainer, but I'm having a hard time with that one.

Thanks for giving us enough context to work with.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Thank you, Marius Hancu, once again.

Best wishes,

 BarbaraPA's reply was promoted to an answer.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.