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Time For a New Kitchen II

I got a bunch of emails after last Friday's post on kitchen remodels asking for other resources. Well, as always, the local library remains your best bet; my own community (McKinley Park area, midtown Sacramento) has a historic library at the park with a huge section on American Arts & Crafts architecture, including lots of do-it-yourself books and various coffeetable hardbound books on Craftsman design in general. If you live in an older community, you should be able to find something like this at one of your local branch libraries.

I found a huge number of photos of kitchen remodel projects on Flickr; many people enjoy photographing the entire process, from design through the demo and the eventual hanging of pictures on (new) walls, and I'm sure such complete documentation will help other remodelers. Learn from other folks' successes and big mistakes (well, in my opinion, at least!), and get ideas for countertop material, tile, flooring, hoods, sinks, appliances, storage, cabinetry, windows, lighting and more:

Gamble House Lantern - sold!

0172_1_lg This was posted a week ago, but I'm bumping it up to the top of the page now due to an important correction.

This lantern was created as a replacement for a stolen G & G lamp, originally made for the Gamble House; once the original was recovered, this copy was auctioned off to raise funds for the Gamble House's upkeep and education programs was sold off - see below. It sold at auction last weekend  for $2,500, a bit lower than the expected $3,000 - $4,000. There are several excellent images on the ebay auction page.

reader John Hamm of Hamm Glass Studios writes in to give us the straight dope on this:

I do not know where you received the infromation stating that the Gamble House profited in any way from the sale of this lantern but it is completly false. The Gamble House had absolutely nothing to do with the sale of this piece, and in no way made any money from its sale. The "gentleman" that located the original that was stolen from the house many years ago was given the reproduction as a thank you, at a public ceremony no less, for allowing the Gamble House to purchase from him the original lantern that he located and purchased on E-bay. He then in turn put the repro. up for auction and profitted soley from its sale - an action that I personally find repugnant. You may verify this by calling the Gamble House and speaking with the director, Ted Bosley. It would have been a kind gesture if the profit from the sale had been directed back to the Gamble House, but no one there knew about the sale until the auction was about to take place.

So basically the owner profited twice: he bought stolen property (something that people are often punished for!), which was then bought back from him at the Gamble House's expense; and then he sold off the lantern that was given to him and profited from that as well. Certainly within his rights, as the radical capitalist portion of the antique-selling trade have reminded us on this very forum within the last few weeks (when I questioned the ethics of selling pottery ebay for a huge markup without telling the buyer they could buy it for less from the potter directly) - but not very ethical behavior! Thanks to John Hamm for setting us straight on this.

Gainey Ceramics

Gainey Ceramics has sold planters, vases and tile - marketed as "the California original" - since the 1950s. Their Inglewood shop has been producing functional and especially interesting items, mostly planters of a wide variety of shapes and styles (modern and classic, Mission revival [ 1 / 2 ], Craftsman and Asian) but also a variety of architectural and decorative tile.

Time For a New Kitchen

Kitchenremodelneeded Lots of house-bloggers document their projects, but Eric and Flourgrrl are not only documenting every aspect of their Craftsman Bungalow remodel, but also including all elevations, renderings, countertop & lighting choices and more. Nothing groundbreaking here, but some good ideas for those of you working on such projects yourself - it's certainly helpful to me; I'm just beginning my own kitchen remodel.

A few other accounts of recent kitchen remodels:

Book Review: Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement

Picture_1 Judith B. Tankard, Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Publishers, 2004.

This handsomely produced volume takes us through the theory and practice of the Arts and Crafts Garden from the era of William Morris up to the present in pictures, photographs, garden plans, and text.

For those familiar with the house and home aspects of the English Arts and Crafts movement, Tankard’s book will be a delight, and an education. Gardens, like buildings and furnishings, were a venue for reform and innovation, an opportunity to express integrity and beauty, and a chance to move beyond the artificiality of the dominant Victorian paradigm. For garden design, this meant rejecting Victorian orderliness and ostentation in favor of naturalism and informality. While certainly not “simple” gardens - Tankard’s illustrations portray wonderfully green lawns, orderly hedges, topiary, rustic steps and garden pools and fountains, along with roses and, typically, local flowers - the overall effect is an inviting one of comfort and ease rather than grandeur.

Garden design evoked considerable discussion during the height of the Arts and Crafts period, especially given the fact that the famous architects of the day (C. F. A. Vosey, M. H. Baillie Scott) viewed house and garden as a unified whole. As Tankard says, the Arts and Crafts movement “gave gardens a new definition as a harmonious component of the house. Gardens … were never an end in themselves, but were intertwined with the house like ivy growing on a wall, blurring the distinctions between indoors and outdoors.”

Tankard’s volume focuses on the homes and gardens of England, with modest attention given to the United States (and none at all to other countries). This I think is appropriate given England’s preeminent gardens and landscapes. The reader is given an extensive tour of over a hundred gardens, with full commentary on their design as well as the garden philosophy of their architects.  The contributions of Gertrude Jekyll and Thomas Mawson, the most distinguished landscape architects of the era, are given especial attention, and an entire chapter is devoted to the renowned English gardens created by the collaboration of the architect Edwin Lutyens and Jekyll.

International Arts & Crafts at the De Young: first look

(03.19 addendum: I missed it earlier, but Kenneth Baker has a more extensive article on the same show, also in the Chronicle, with a lot more attention to the social issues that made the Movement so especially resonant at the time and fuel the academic approach to the revival today, while showing the contrast to the "flattened," watered-down approach to the decorative portions of the movement, popular in current suburban developments.)

Zahid Sardar has a preview of the International Arts & Crafts show - on loan from the Victoria & Albert museum and opening today at San Francisco's De Young Museum - in today's San Francisco Chronicle. I can't recommend the show enough - not only are there some terrific American pieces, like the Wright dining room set and items from Greene & Greene's Thorsen and Blacker houses, but a range of European A&C items, including a Saarinen-designed wall rug, Russian A&C pieces and plenty of Secessionist furniture with strong A&C ties make an appearance as well. 

The addition of several items of Bay Area provenance - textiles and furniture from the Mathews family and a few pieces of Maybeck (not enough, though, in my opinion, given the importance of his architecture on the movement as a whole) give this show special connection with the Bay Area.

I recommend visiting the De Young before June 18 to see the exhibit, but buy your tickets in advance, as they will limit attendance due to the narrow pathway through the exhibit and the relatively small amount of room for visitors.

Arts and Crafts in Boston

Maureenmeister Architecture Radio is a wonderful online lecture series and covers an enormous range of topics - and I am ashamed to write that I did not know about this terrific resource until today. A relatively recent lecture (mp3; recorded at the Boston Public Library on 05.05, published 09.05) by Maureen Meister, author of Architecture and the Arts & Crafts Movement in Boston: Harvard's H. Langford Warren (the first full-length study of this very important turn-of-the-century architect, educator and movement leader) and editor of H. H. Richardson: The Architect, His Peers and Their Era is devoted to the Arts & Crafts Movement in Boston.

Old House Interiors writes of her book on H. Langford Warren that “(she) makes the point that some architects are influential because they have a lot of clients, while others exert their influence less directly - but more widely - through students… Warren's own blend of Gothic, Georgian, and Colonial forms was perceived as the proper New England style long after his death in 1917. In serving the Society of Arts and Crafts for longer than anyone else, Warren further imprinted area taste.”

Paraphrased the jacket of her most recent book: 'Maureen Meister has taught art history courses at the Art Institute of Boston, Lesley University, Northeastern University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston since 1982. In recent years she has lectured on American architecture at Tufts University.' And she has a very nice voice, too.

Bernard Maybeck Roundup

Maybeckprincipabookcover Some new (and new-to-me) Maybeck-related links:

Arts & Crafts Homes magazine

Logo Just got the premiere issue of Arts & Crafts Homes, a new magazine from the same folks who make Old House Interiors. Several things recommend it over American Bungalow, which I do also enjoy - better quality printing and sharper photographs; far better typography and better laid-out pages (in fact, generally better art direction than most home magazines, and more sensitivity to the subtleties of type); a wider range of subject material - they are not quite as orthodox as Style 1900 and American Bungalow; and a better article-to-ad ratio. Of course, that last one could simply be a symptom of this being the firsts issue, so I'll have to keep reading to find out if it stays true.

It's definitely worth picking up a copy; the current issue has extensive articles on Chicago bungalows, new work from a California artisans guild (including Debey Zito) and lots (really!) more.

March Craigslist Bonanza

Yellowcraigslistsideboardjlt Last night I picked up a great A&C sideboard (pictured) in Carmichael, courtesy of a nice fellow in a '70s modernist home who was remodeling to fit the house a bit better. $400 - what a bargain!

But there are plenty of other bargains out there if you can sort through all the junk ads for faux-Mission dining room collections and cheap Chinese-made junk. So - here you go - I searched so you don't have to:

and several nice tansu:

  • Santa Rosa: two lacquered tansu
  • East Bay: persimmon tansu
  • East Bay: unorthodox tansu
  • Seattle: small Korean tansu
  • Honolulu: Taisho-era tansu
  • Seattle: step tansu
  • Washington DC: tropical tansu
  • Atlanta: step tansu
  • Orange County: gorgeous, enormous tansu

Arts & Crafts Auction Weekend

Ragoarequipablue Yet again, my favorite A & C auctioneer is having a weekend auction jam-packed with amazing items. This time, RagoArts sent me a copy of their hefty catalog, which on its own is a great addition to any Craftsman book collection - the photographs of such a huge range of items make a great reference; it's $35 and can be ordered from their website. However, if you're anywhere near the auction house in Lambertville, NJ (not far from Philadelphia) on March 11 & 12 (yes, that's this coming weekend!), I doubt you could be doing anything much more interesting than attending the auction itself and picking up something special.

Now, though, that print catalog is available online (if you have the bandwidth) using the NxtBook technology, which emulates the full-page views and page-turning effects and some other bells & whistles - it's fun & a neat way to look at the catalog.

Without further ado, some selected highlights from this upcoming sale:

Sunday also includes a large number of more affordable groupings of ceramic, glass and copper items (and some other bits and pieces), some of which are quite attractive and priced to sell.

My only gripe is that there are very few unsigned items - I realize that the whole point of an auction like this is to liquidate important items and distribute them amongst serious collectors and museums, but it might be good for the movement as a whole if a larger number of inexpensive pieces were distributed amongst the stock - it could bring a lot of new collectors in, and would be a great base to do more education / outreach from. I don't think this would adversely affect the sales price of the more important items, either.

Craftsman Style in the News

Lots of articles on my favorite style of design & architecture in newspapers and magazines lately; the Arts & Crafts renaissance continues to go mainstream.   

James Plachek & Berkeley

PlacheklibrarygreenOne of the houses I grew up in is a 1917 wood-shingle quasi-bungalow at the base of the Berkeley Hills, near the Solano tunnel. The house was designed by James Plachek, who was responsible for the art-moderne Berkeley Library, Berkeley's Heywood Building, Epworth Hall, the Grace Congregational,  and a number of other structures throughout the state, including the now-closed UC Theater (also 1917), where I worked on weekends and in the evenings after school in the late 1980s. Plachek built and remodeled a number of theaters between 1915 and 1930, including the Chimes in Oakland and the Lorin (now the Phillips Temple Church) at 3332 Adeline in Berkeley. In the mid 1930s, Plachek was focused primarily on large-scale WPA projects like the immense Moderne Alameda County Courthouse on the shore of Lake Merrit, shown here in Michele Manning's beautiful plein air pastel drawing.

Before my father bought the house, the previous owners hired woodworker and light fixture designer Kip Mesirow, who made a number of alterations and improvements to Chez Panisse (in the same building where, coincidentally, my father lived as a student at UC Berkeley, before it was a restaurant) in the 1970s, and a collaborator of printmaker and illustrator David Lance Goines' - to finish the attic and turn it into a beautiful, raw-redwood-wall master suite, a sort of mixture of rustic cathedral, nordic cabin and Japanese country house.

Mesirow's improvements to both my father's house and Chez Panisse are a bit more Rennie Mackintosh and Wright  than Maybeck, embracing the austere and geometrical forms that Mackintosh loved and Wright emulated; these shapes repeat in much of the Chez Panisse style both in and out of the restaurant itself, most notably Goines' many poster and cookbook designs for the restaurant and the lettering over the restaurant's entrance. Goines even uses the Mackintosh rosette in a few of his own illustrations.

Tampa, FL Arts & Crafts Fieldtrips

Tampa's Old Seminole Heights neighborhood (more about this area in the future!) is one of the best-preserved Craftsman communities in the south. The main reason for this is OSHNA - the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association - which has done a terrific job of doing architecture / conservation education outreach in the community and beyond.

If you are in the Tampa area, you can join OSHNA for an upcoming fieldtrip on March 11. The all-day event will include a private tour of the Leepa-Ratner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College's Tarpon Springs Campus, a lecture, afternoon tea and a panel discussion on various aspects of the Arts & Crafts movement and its application in Florida and the US overall.

And unrelatedly (except by geographic proximity), the historic neighborhood of Hyde Park will be offering a home tour this coming Saturday, March 4, and the week after that there's a similar tour in Tampa Heights.