Relative Valuation
Sonoma Woodworks

Beating Craftsman Style Into Submission

Here's a real estate agent selling a 1906 Hillsborough brown shingle that was supposedly "inspired by the atelier of Bernard Maybeck." The house has obviously been remodeled several times, as very little externally (and practically nothing internally, at least as far as the photographs show) looks even remotely Maybeckian. There's a sort of Queen Anne vs. Craftsman thing going on with some of the Victorian cottage glass and the curved portico. And the inside - I'm crying for what it must have been. It is, today, the most banal and generic (and totally non-Craftsman) guts I've ever seen picked to replace what was probably interesting, quirky and maybe actually inspired by Maybeck. Who knows. All I can say is, it looks like the current owners and their decorator both hated Craftsman style and are trying very hard to make this 1906 home safe for suburban tastes. Practically everything about this home is what the Arts & Crafts movement worked so hard against. Well, at least the back porch is pretty. If you've got 2.9 million to spend, I guess you can afford to put it back the way it should have been, anyway.

At least this particular agent seems to do a bit better with her other listings, although the prices in Burlingame are higher than I could have imagined.

I'm going to update my most recent criticism of sellers and their real estate agents being uneducated about their properties with an even greater pet peeve: opportunistic sellers and agents who use the cachet of "Craftsman" on properties that are anything but. In this case, the house might once have been, but the "Maybeck-inspired" beauty that may have once stood there died a messy death at the hands of someone with more money than taste.