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February 2005
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April 2005

Classic Woodsmith

GamblelqtrMike Skertich recently added a line of Greene & Greene-inspired designs to his various A&C patterned products. Named after some of the great bungalow neighborhoods of the west, his Hillcrest, Westmoreland, Piedmont and Arroyo tables include more delicate features than his previous work and many small details - from cloud lifts to inlays and plugs - taken from Greene & Greene. Mike also produces a few light fixtures [1 / 2], a clock, a tall cabinet and a Tichenor-styled bench  in a very recognizeable Greene & Greene style.

Reclaimed Wood

ReclaimedwoodfloorA number of firms sell wood flooring reclaimed from a huge variety of sources - rosewood railroad ties from Thailand, southern yellow pine from catalog warehouses, Great Salt Lake railroad trestle pilings, Douglas Fir ("distressed picklewood") from pickle vats, maple from factory floors, remilled oak, chestnut, pine and other woods salvaged from old homes and barns - the list goes on and on. In addition to flooring, some companies market millwork and beams made from reclaimed wood. It's so nice to know the provenance of your floors - to walk around on that kind of history and know that there's a story behind it. Given the increasingly competetive pricing and availability of this type of wood, the shipping costs that used to rule it out for many projects are less and less an issue.

A&C Stencils


Trimbelle River Studio produce a number of vintage stencil designs for the edification of your home - mostly borders, but they do sell a few panel & "spot" illustration designs as well. They also sell a full line of paints and other colorants and the various supplies needed for applying such design elements. I suppose a good portion of the appeal of these - aside from the appeal of doing it yourself, in this DIY age where everyone is an expert - is that they are much more flexible in terms of size or length than wallpaper borders, and can be altered significantly in terms of color and even structure.

ID me, please!


Reader Rosemary asks if anyone could help her identify or value this tabouret that has been in her family for some time, and which she recently received from her aunt. The almost-unreadable label on the underside says "Stickley Brothers Company," and she tells us that "Gustav Stickley" is also stamped on the underside. In my very limited experience I had not seen the two marks together. She's interested in knowing when the item was made, its proper name or number, and what it might be worth. I will forward her any information sent to me.

Fireplace Lowdown


Fireplace Lowdown covers "all things related to fireplaces including the most recent news and information." If you thought this was a pretty open and shut field, well, prepare to be proven wrong. Everything you ever wanted to know and more about fireplaces, chimineas, chimneys, mantels, woodstoves and every other aspect of what is certainly a fixture of most older homes.

Pictured: the Craftsman fireplace line from Avalon Stoves, available in both gas & wood-burning varieties.

Behr Naked Bungalows

BehryellowbungalowPaint behemoth Behr has an interesting guide to color in American architecture, with palettes and other information divided up by historical movement. Their section on the Arts & Crafts movement gives a brief description of the underpinnings of the movement, and some very general decorating tips. The color palettes are interesting but limited; certainly even traditionalists would be willing to accept a much wider range of tones than what are presented.


Accatalogue245x300Next Wednesday, March 23, the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan is sponsoring a lecture on The Arts and Crafts Movement in Europe and America, 1880 - 1920: Design for the Modern World. The lecture will be followed by a book signing of LACMA Curator of Decorative Arts Wendy Kaplan's richly illustrated catalog for the LACMA show, which runs through April 3 of this year in Los Angeles.

Register for the lecture online or by calling 212.817.8215. The event will be held at the New York Historical Society, at Central Park West & 77th Street. General admission is $17, with a $5 discount for seniors, students and members of the Society. Thanks to Jennifer Strauss for letting us know about this event!

Fixit: Plumbing

As every old-house owner knows, there is a constant battle being waged between good and evil - or rather, between you and your plumbing - in every crawlspace and under every sink. The more foolhardy among us attempt to fix these things without guidance, to sometimes catastrophic (and rarely successful) results. Luckily, there's help - and he doesn't cost $60 an hour, or treat you to a nice view of his butt while he monkeys around under the counter. A number of tutorials exist for repairing minor plumbing problems, if you are so inclined:

Flickr dot com


My latest internet obsession is the magnificent timewaster called Flickr, a sort of democratic and open photo organizing/sharing application. There are social aspects of the system I've hardly explored, such as discussion groupson any of hundreds (or thousands?) of topics. One great feature is the ability to label your own photos with tags. I myself haven't yet used tags, although I have uploaded a number of my own photographs (I use it primarily to share photos with my family and friends so they won't be all that interesting to you, reader x). Luckily, a lot of people do use tags, and a quick search of the craftsman tag gives us photos of kitchen remodels (here are more), beautiful houses, restoration projects (lots and lots more. Searching for other tags gives us even more, like this little Craftsman gem in Los Angeles' Los Feliz neighborhood and these compact Craftsman; some blurry furniture; architectural detail;  Missions in Carmel and Houston; A & C frescoes; a very pretty Prairie vase; ad infinitum.

And as of today, Hewn & Hammered has its own Flickr group, a collaborative supplement to our photo albums here, and any Flickr member (basic accounts are free!) can contribute photographs!

Palo Alto Stanford Heritage

2gPAST (Palo Alto Stanford Heritage) might have worked a little hard on their acronym, but the rest of their energy is even better placed: they are constantly trying to bring attention to Palo Alto's quickly-vanishing historical heritage, as more and more university-related big money renovates, destroys and builds over the historical homes of the area. As of 1997, a huge number of historic homes in Palo Alto's historic neighborhoods of College Terrace, Crescent Park and Professorville (what a name!) had been either drastically remodeled or torn down to make room for new development. Palo Alto's city government has never been nearly as interested in large-scale restoration or conservation of its historic architectural heritage, which is unfortunate; a lot of really beautiful buildings have been lost.

Continue reading "Palo Alto Stanford Heritage" »

A & C at the V & A


Fiona MacCarthy's wonderful short history of the Arts & Crafts Movement, as well as her notes on the Victoria & Albert museum's upcoming International Arts & Crafts exhibition is up on the Guardian newspaper's site. And MacCarthy knows what she's writing about: she is the author of William Morris: A Life for Our Time (and a number of other excellent books on English art movements), and is an authority on the political and social aspects of the Arts & Crafts movement. Her book on Eric Gill is especially good!

And make sure you visit the Victoria & Albert's Design a Tile page where you can make your own DeMorgan-inspired design!

The Simple Home

CakeelerBernard Maybeck patron / client Charles Keeler (a poet, playwright, inventor of religions and generally odd duck) wrote The Simple Home in 1906. It has been out of print for many years and was reprinted in 1979 by Peregrine Smith; however, you can read the original text online without the (copyrighted) Peregrine Smith introduction.

ALL the arts are modes of expressing the One Ideal;
but the ideal must be rooted in the soil of the real,
the practical, the utilitarian. Thus it happens
that architecture, the most utilitarian of the arts,
underlies all other expressions of the ideal ; and of all
architecture, the designing of the home brings the artist
into closest touch with the life of man.

Ennis-Brown House at Risk

Pt_int_stairsFLW's Ennis-Brown house, one of his pre-Columbian motif masterpieces, has been damaged by shifting soil as a result of recent rainstorms. The house remains at risk, although work is being done to stave off further damage. The structure has been used in a number of famous films (inc. Blade Runner, the House on Haunted Hill, and many others) and is generally considered one of Wright's masterpieces. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be much less stable than Fallingwater, the house built upon a stream and waterfall, which critics and some engineers said could not last. The structural damage - which will be quite expensive to repair - are one more thing for the Frank Lloyd Wright foundation, recently in turmoil due to a wide variety of legal and financial problems, to worry about.

photo album additions

We have a few new additions to our photo albums, including some photographs sent in by Christopher Campbell in our Westwood Park album. If you can supply a few photographs of interesting historical homes in your area, we'll set up an album for your neighborhood too! I would really like to feature photos of interesting interiors, remodel / restore projects and interesting external detail; please forward such images to us! OK, I'll stop harassing you about this now.

Preserve California's Missions

Mission2The California Missions Foundation is "dedicated to the preservation, protection and maintenance of California's 21 historic missions." The Foundation gives out mini-grants to help preserve and maintain the structures, which are often in a state of delayed decomposition due to their age, the original materials used, and sometimes disuse and elemental damage. What? You didn't realize there were 21 of these (mostly quite) beautiful buildings scattered up and down the state? It's true. A trip to one or more of California's missions is a great idea for a road trip for anyone interested in architecture. Many have small museums and interesting gardens and grounds, and a number of them are nestled in architecturally interesting areas and small towns. By visiting the missions and giving to each site's own restoration fund, or giving to the Foundation through their web page, you help mantain one of California's most important architectural traditions.

Photograph of Mission San Juan Capistrano in Orange County courtesy of

Mission Masterpiece in the Mojave

27613587488The National Park Service is currently restoring the massive Kelso Depot, a beautiful Mission train station unused for 20 years (Kelso was once a busy mining town, but the population today is closer to a dozen). The NPS is in the process of turning the two-story structure into the primary information center and museum for the Mojave National Preserve, the area where three deserts - the Great Basic, Mojave and Sonoran - come together. The visitor center is no small affair; it will be the primary information center for one of the largest NPS properties outside of Alaska, at almost 650,000 acres.