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Craigslist Finds for April 2006

Lots of good stuff on Craigslist all over the country this month. Here are a number of items I found interesting:

  • two nice tansus - San Francisco
  • very pretty large tansu, $4500 - San Francisco
  • contemporary Stickley bedroom set - San Francisco
  • Limbert sideboard buffet, signed, $6500 - Lafayette CA
  • Stickley streamline "Metropolitan" style bedroom set, $5495 - San Anselmo CA
  • Stickley Bros. ("Quaint Furniture" label) child's rocker, $275 – Carmel CA
  • 4 Murphy oak side chairs, $30 each - Denver
  • nice Craftsman coatrack, $95 - Austin
  • questionable ad for a Harvey Ellis rocker - note no picture of actual item (only link to a similar item); cash only; $850 - Rye NY
  • pre-1914 Stickley library desk, $900 - Manhattan
  • several small items of Craftsman furniture - Oakland CA
  • interesting Craftsman bench, $175 - Albany CA
  • nice green glazed tile, unknown maker, $5/sq ft - Santa Rosa CA
  • 14 nice old wooden doors with original brass hardware - Pittsburgh PA
  • high-backed wooden rocker, $150 - Boston MA
  • sturdy oak piano bench, $75 - Los Angeles
  • two Japanese chests (one tansu, one choba), $1500 for both - Washington DC
  • large, partially glass-fronted tansu, $500 - Denver
  • pair of Andersen Frenchwood In-Swing Prairie-style doors, $900 - Campbell CA
  • contemporary Prairie-style bathroom vanity, $400 - Chicago
  • contemporary Stickley living room set - sofa / settle, loveseat, endtables, coffee table, $3000 - Minneapolis
  • Limbert rocker, $300 - Phoenix
  • Limbert rocker, $750 - Portland OR
  • Limbert rocker with leather seat, $650 - Portland OR
  • terrific glass-door built-in sideboard, $850 - Burlingame CA
  • oak library card catalog, $975 - Albany CA
  • Arts & Crafts rocker with new seat, $150 - Milpitas CA
  • very unorthodox c. 1910 extremely heavy-duty rocker, $395 - Portland OR
  • Deco / Craftsman organic-look table, $350 - Honolulu
  • stained-glass transom window, $275 - Detroit
  • Arts & Crafts magazine rack adapted to hold CDs, $30 - Dallas
  • cowhide-upholstered oak armchair, $195 - Austin TX
  • Arts & Crafts library table with typical side shelving, $400 - Minneapolis
  • previously built-in room dividing cabinet / bookshelf, $125 - Minneapolis
  • spindle bookshelf, $150 - Houston
  • several oak items including a nice file cabinet, various prices - Manhattan
  • pair of antique Prairie / Mission glass French doors, $300 - Boston
  • copper and art glass hanging light fixture, $450 - San Antonio

How to View a Wright House

Heinz041606_285by Kevin Nance - reprinted with permission from the Chicago Sun Times
photograph: Thomas Heinz, author of the Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide (photo by Jim Frost / Sun-Times)

In the late 1960s,Thomas A. Heinz, then a student at the University of Illinois, received a book with pictures of Frank Lloyd Wright's 100 or so buildings in the Chicago area. Intrigued by the photographs, Heinz drove up to Oak Park, where he was struck by how different -- often radically different -- the Wright houses looked in real life.

"The two-dimensional photograph can't begin to suggest what he put into the house for the observer," says Heinz, now an architect, author and photographer based in Mettawa. "The typical Wright house is meant to be walked by, driven by, lived in, not just seen from a single perspective-and that's where I think Wright's buildings are so different from everyone else's, and why photographs are often so deceptive. The photographer will take full advantage to bring you the best of the building, using wide-angle lenses, narrow cropping and so on, which alters your perception of it. Seeing it in person, you get so much more of th e colors, textures and context of the building."

For example, photographs of Heinz's favorite Wright building -- the Robie House on the University of Chicago campus -- tend to make it look as if it were situated on a two- or three-acre lot, when in fact it's what Heinz calls "plunked down" on a corner and almost crowded by other structures. On the other hand, the same photographs don't convey the sheer majesty of the house's textured copper gutters, its massive brick piers and heavy limestone planters. (article continued below)

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Treadway Toomey Auction: May 7, 2006

The always-helpful Tamera Herrod writes to tell us about next month's Treadway-Toomey Arts & Crafts auction. This year's event, being held on May 7 2006, includes some really spectacular items, please check out several of them in our Flickr album; the rest can be seen in the online preview.

Arbiters of Craftsman Style: Influential Designs by Gustav Stickley, Limbert, L. & J.G. Stickley, More Will Be Offered May 7 at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but the craftsmanship of the originals fashioned by these visionaries - makers of the first truly American style of furniture - is beyond compare. 

OAK PARK, ILL. - Although it's been more than a century since Gustav Stickley launched his furniture revival in America, his influence in the industry today is omnipresent and demand for his authentic designs remains strong. On May 7, an impressive collective of desirable originals by Gustav Stickley, Charles Limbert, and Leopold & John George Stickley are expected to draw tremendous interest and prices at Treadway-Toomey Galleries' 20th Century Art & Design Auction. The event begins at 10 a.m. at John Toomey Gallery at 818 North Blvd., in Oak Park, Ill.

The auction will feature Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau and Art Deco works in the first session, Fine Art and Paintings in the second, and 1950s and Modern in the third. More than 1,000 lots has been assembled, including ceramics, glasswork, furniture, metalwork, lighting, decorative accessories, sculpture, woodblock prints, drawings, watercolors, mixed media and oil paintings.

"We've gathered an outstanding selection of Arts and Crafts furniture from all the major makers," Don Treadway, gallery owner, said. "Most of the pieces have come from private homes in New York, Chicago, Detroit and California. We're offering an array of one-, two-, and three-door bookcases, an extensive group of Morris chairs, china cabinets, desks, lamp tables, settees, dining tables and chairs, and occasional pieces such as magazine stands and tabourets."  (continued below...)

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Decor Score: A Little Effort Turns Home Into an Arts & Crafts Showplace

Decor200604101apby Rose Bennett Gilbert, Copley News Service
reprinted with permission

Q: Can you fix my broken heart? We both fell in love with the cutest little 1920s bungalow, all Arts and Crafts, but it only has two bedrooms and one bath and we just found out we're expecting twins! We've given in and decided to buy a house that's now under construction in a development. While we have a chance to choose our own materials, in the kitchen, for example, what can you suggest that's Arts and Craftsy?

A: Funny you should ask. I've just been browsing a couple of informational and inspirational books on the very subject of the Arts and Crafts aesthetic and how to have it in your own home.

(Printed in 2002) Bungalows is part of the "Updating Classic America" series from Taunton Books. Co-authors M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman include a chapter on building brand-new bungalows: how to incorporate modern technology without compromising the style and vintage charm of this most-American of home styles.

The authors show and tell how to add the details that distinguish the Arts and Crafts attitude inside the signature low-lying profile and porch found on most authentically old bungalows. For examples, you'll want abundant wood mouldings around windows, doors, floors and ceilings; fireplaces faced with stone or tile; prairie-style windows and expanses of hardwood floors, usually made of oak. Stained glass windows here and there are also of the look.

The second book well worth consulting focuses on Stickley Style (Simon & Schuster, $40). David Cathers, who co-authored the book with architectural photographer Alexander Vertikoff, certainly knows his stuff: he's also a trustee of Craftsman Farms, Gustav Stickley's experimental farm in New Jersey, now a National Historic Landmark.

Responding to the surge of interest in Arts and Crafts buildings and furnishings, a number of manufacturers have revived styles from the period. The once-deceased Stickley Furniture Co. itself now thrums anew, turning out Craftsman classics along with other traditional styles up in Manlius, N.Y. (

Arts and Crafts kitchen cabinetry is another notable revival. Even David Cathers might be fooled by the kitchen in the photo we show here. What looks like a historic site is really a recently fitted-out new kitchen that features oak cabinets from Wood-Mode ( With its straight lines, simple detailing and appropriate use of such background materials as the iridescent tiles over the cooktop and flat timbering on the ceiling, it looks for all the world like the real, old thing.

Bottom line: do a little homework and you can easily work up your new home in classic Arts & Crafts style.

Q: Ever see something in the trash that's just too good to be thrown away?

A: All the time, say New Yorkers, whose sidewalk curbs may constitute the world's longest flea market or, better yet, recycling center. Entire apartments have been furnished with finds from the street, where the free shopping's not just for the funky. Top interior design Albert Hadley (whose clients have included the Astors and the Rockefellers) once told me, "My friends are used to having me stop cabs and race back to pick up something I've seen on the curb."

No surprise then that an eco-minded recycler named Jim Nachlin has started, a Web site that alerts others to good spottings on the sidewalk, say, a pile of old wooden shutters on East 63rd Street, or two French-style chairs down on Bleecker. Speed is of the essence in the city that never sleeps. Spotters photograph the treasures with their cell phones, then e-mail location details and - most crucial - the time of the sighting. "Sometimes things will be gone in five minutes," Nachlin told New York Times reporter Michael Cannell.

But scavengers who can get there in a New York minute, not only take home free treasures, they "reduce landfill, save money and clean up the streets," reasons Nachlin, a computer programmer who lives in a tiny apartment with a lot of clutter of his own.

Rose Bennett Gilbert is the co-author of "Hampton Style" and associate editor of Country Decorating Ideas. Please send your questions to her at Copley News Service, P.O. Box 120190, San Diego, CA 92112-0190, or online at [email protected]. © Copley News Service

Sleeping Beauty: Mission Renovation in Sacramento

The Sacramento Bee's Rachel Leibrock had the following article in the April 1 issue. This is a big deal in Sacramento; while many of the grand old walled Mission haciendas (well, only a few are actually walled) of Curtis Park, McKinley, the Fabulous Forties and Land Park are in terrific shape, quite a few are quietly deteriorating, waiting for the owners with the right mixture of historical sensitivity and do-it-yourself attitude to rescue them. The article also includes a number of photographs of Dolan & Sidwell's ongoing project.

Love is blind.

That's the lesson Judy Dolan and husband, Brad Sidwell, learned shortly after purchasing their 1927 Spanish Revival house.

The couple knew the Curtis Park house needed work, but just how much effort they'd eventually put into restoration was still a secret hidden deep within the home's ivy-choked exterior. (read the rest at - article © The Sacramento Bee, 200)

Green Gables - Greene & Greene's Fleishhacker Estate


Woodside, California - a posh hillside community above Redwood City and Palo Alto, not far south of San Francisco - is often thought to be one of the brothers' most impressive properties, although its design and building was overseen only by Charles Greene. Designed in 1911 as a vacation home for the prominent San Francisco Fleishhacker family, the house - known as Green Gables - was open for special events in the 1970s and 1980s, but is now used by the fourth generation of the Fleishhackers and is no longer accessible to the general public.

The Fleishhackers apparently believed the Greene's style to be "too Japanese" for their tastes, which ran toward a thatched-roof English country cottage, but Bruce Smith notes that after they were so charmed by him in several one-on-one meetings, they decided to work with Charles on his own.

The house itself is perhaps the most open and airiest Greene-designed property, with high plaster ceilings with coped corners, large windows and doors all around and many small details that will look familiar to anyone who knows the Greenes - bas-relief patterns on the ceilings and in woodwork, interesting custom-made tile throughout and joinery elevated to art. The house is centered on a 75-acre wooded parcel, and includes a 300-foot pool that ends in a series of arched columns resembling Roman ruins; this and other aspects of the water garden (which includes a 65-foot stone stairway) were implemented by Charles during his long-time association with the Fleishhackers. Given his many years of work on the gardens and various alterations to the house and outbuildings, I think it is fair to say that Green Gables was the single largest and most involved project either of the Greenes was ever involved with.

The enormous lot is now protected from subdivision by an easement, a 2004 gift from the Fleishhackers to the Garden Conservancy; much of it, as well as a good portion of the interior of the house, can be seen in the 1999 Robin Williams film Bicentennial Man.

Photographs of the building and the early gardens are available online from Columbia University's Avery Architectural Library; blueprints and other documents are up on the USC archive site.

Berkeley Mills in the News


The San Francisco Chronicle recently ran an article on one of my favorite furnituremakers, Berkeley Mills. Their Japan meets Craftsman style is instantly recognizeable and really enunciates many of the best features of each aesthetic. As seen in the photograph above, they do architectural millwork and cabinetry as well, not just furniture.

A good friend just completed a Craftsman-style house for his family, and he was looking for furniture that would match its authentic style. On a recommendation from the Craftsman Home in Berkeley, we headed for Berkeley Mills, one of a small handful of Craftsman-inspired furniture-makers in the United States.

When we wandered into the showroom, I did not announce that I was a Chronicle contributor, or that I was a wood butcher who'd fashioned a variety of cabinetry projects (along with dozens of houses) over the past 30 years. The guy on the floor approached us, discovered our interest, and promptly led us to a sideboard, stating in an offhand way, "This is one I built."

Greene for Sale

Greenespinksblueprint The Los Angeles Times reports on Henry Greene's Spinks House hitting the market - the asking price is $5.35 million:

Charles Greene, the chief designer of the Greene & Greene firm, needed a break. So in 1909 he took his family back to London, where he and his wife had honeymooned, according to "Greene & Greene Masterworks," by Bruce Smith and Alexander Vertikoff. During his respite, his brother, Henry, stepped in to fill the void.

While Charles visited England, Henry completed the Spinks Craftsman house for retired Judge William Ward Spinks and his wife, Margaret B.S. Clapham Spinks. They had recently moved from Victoria, Canada, because the judge had accepted the presidency of the Pasadena Hotel Co.

The Spinks House cost a princely $11,000 at a time when few homes cost more than $2,000 to build.

As in their other homes, Henry Greene continued to use a variety of woods, such as Port Orford cedar and redwood, to make the Spinks home compatible with nature. Henry — known for his linear designs — gave the home a rectangular shape.

The Spinks House sits atop a slope on a nearly 1.5-acre property in the Oak Knoll neighborhood. Its meadow-like setting provides privacy. Isabelle Greene, granddaughter of Henry Greene, restored and redesigned some of the gardens in 1989. It has extensive terraces and porches, as well as a balcony.

Ted Wells of Living : Simple believes that the price of the Spinks home is more than a little off, even for a Greene & Greene property in this neighborhood, perhaps due to the owner's pricing the parcel for future subdivision:

Not mentioned in the article is that the exceptionally high price for the Spinks house, relative to comparable sales in the neighborhood, is because the the sellers (seem to have) priced the house based on the subdivision of the lot and the development of the lower portion to add a speculative house accessed from the street below. One joy of this house is the property - and by subdividing it and losing the lower part of the slope (as was disastrously done at the Culbertson house down the street from the Spinks house, across from the Blacker house) a major component of the Greenes' siting of the Spinks house, the setting of the house far back on the lot and the perceived isolation and privacy of the house, will be lost.

The shame is that we bemoan the loss - on the same street! - of the property around the Blacker House and downslope from the Culbertson House, shaking our heads in disbelief that "people back then" would allow such subdividing to occur, and reminding ourselves that we are so much more enlightened today and that nothing like that would happen now; yet it happens, and will continue to happen, and no one bats an eye.

Greene & Greene at Auction, redux

Given the recent attention given the sale of a reproduction lantern which hung for a time at the Gamble House, this 2005 article from the Los Angeles Times, detailing the sale of Randell Makinson's personal collection of Greene & Greene ephermera, may be particular interesting to those who are not familiar with the story.

It was the auction the Craftsman community couldn't stop talking about.

In December, Sotheby's auction house put up a rare collection of furnishings and accessories from historic homes designed by the brothers Charles and Henry Greene, the architects who created the venerable Gamble House in Pasadena, as well as other celebrated examples of the early 20th century Craftsman style in Southern California.

The collection was offered by an anonymous donor whose identity did not seem of particular importance until it became clear it was Randell Makinson, the former curator and director of the Gamble House. The auction, which appraisers say was the largest of its kind, netted almost $3 million.

Free Bungalow in Venice, CA

Venicehousetomove Jim Bursch at West LA Online points us to the bargain of the month: should you have a lot crying out for a pretty, well-maintained 900 sq ft 1906 bungalow, look no further!  "If you can move it, you can have it," and that's pretty much truth in advertising. The owner is putting something new on the lot - and by the way, this wouldn't work where I live in Sacramento; there is no way the zoning board would allow anyone to raze a perfectly fine house in the historic district just to put in new development - and will either raze it, or let anyone who wants to truck it away do so.

Craftsman Homes For Sale

a roundup of selected Craftsman properties around the country currently on the market:

  • Chris Golde is selling her 2000+ square foot 1923 Prairie / Craftsman home in Madison, replete with lots of interesting and well-maintained woodwork and hardware, for $319,700.
  • Here's a bright and attractive Rockridge bungalow for sale in Oakland California for $689,000 - a lot but not out of the ordinary for that eternally bubble-icious market. Barbara Hendrickson at Red Oak Realty is the seller's agent; unlike a lot of the real estate agencies I rant about here, Red Oak does most of their work in a market full of older homes, and their agents are quite savvy to Craftsman style and the histories of the homes they sell.
  • A spectacular new / custom wood-shingle uber-bungalow on the north shore of Washington's Orcas Island for $739,000.
  • A recently-restored Atlanta bungalow in the Kirkwood neighborhood for $260,000.
  • A well-kept bungalow in Brookhaven, Mississippi will run you only a bit under $88,000 - even this pretty little house with a new kitchen and a big wrap-around deck. If I could telecommute - and if all the Thai, sushi and pho restaurants I frequent would deliver that far - I'd consider moving to the midwest just to save a few hundred thousand dollars.