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The New Look

Welcome to the 80% finished almost-all-new Hewn & Hammered. The shop is not yet online, but please do explore some of our new features - bigger & better photo albums, a calendar (which doesn't yet much much content, sorry - please send in events!) and the home registry, which we hope you'll add your own house to. And remember - visiting our advertisers pays the bills. Let us know what doesn't work - I'm sure there are a few things (at least!) here and there. And if you have some constructive criticism regarding the design, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for returning again & again - knowing that we now have several hundred regular visitors makes this worth doing.

An Arts & Crafts Haven, Intact but in Peril

From the June 22 New York Times article, which also includes a short slideshow:

SOMEWHERE close to New York City — but far, far away, up a narrow driveway and into the woods — lies Crow House, a rambling Arts and Crafts mix of architectural styles: an eccentric "not to everyone's taste" kind of stone house designed and built in the 1920's by Henry Varnum Poor, for many decades one of the country's most famous painters and potters.

Although Poor, who died in 1970, is largely forgotten, his house now stands at the center of a complicated round robin of conflict that involves preservationists who have formed a group to save it; his son, who vows not to watch the house deteriorate and has just signed a contract to sell it to a local entrepreneur; Poor's granddaughter, who opposes her father's decision to sell but feels powerless to prevent it; and town officials who had begged in vain for more time to consider making the house into a museum.

Preservation advocates say they fear that the prospective owner, who has already shown the site to an architect, will tear down the house or substantially alter it. Land values are high in this part of Rockland County: Crow House is only a 45-minute drive from Midtown Manhattan.

The photograph of potter Henry Varnum Poore's home, Crow House, is by New York Times photographer Fred R. Conrad.

Set in Stone and Tile

The Los Angeles Times has a nice photo album of shots taken at historian Robert Winter's Pasadena home. There are a number of nice pieces of Batchelder tile, a wonderful cave-like living room full of great rugs and furniture, and more. There's also a neat photo of the Lloyd Wright House  which follows the six of Winter's home (it relates to the article in the latter link).

If Winter's name rings a bell, then you've probably read at least one of the books he's made with longtime collaborator, photographer Alexander Vertikoff- The Architecture of Entertainment: LA in the Twenties, American Bungalow Style, Craftsman Style, Batchelder Tilemaker, and plenty more.

T. M. Uli & Son


Tim Uli and his son make A & C furniture in San Saba, Texas. Tim has been making furniture for over 30 years, and his work ranges from traditional Craftsman pieces to his own furniture and lamp designs, which he calls a "craftsman / shaker / asian" style. He specializes in a wide range of seating types, and his Morris recliners, chaises and loveseats are especially popular sellers (and check out this collapsable gate-leg table - one of my favorites). His work is done traditionally - steam-bent chair parts, ammonia fumed finishes, etc. - and he builds by custom order only - no inventory is kept on hand.

After ten years making furniture in Maine - he was a member of the Guild of Maine Woodworkers and a founding member of the Salt River Artisans Gallery in Boothbay -  Tim moved to Texas and has remained there ever since. His prices are reasonable and his work quite attractive; should you need a custom built piece made anywhere in Texas or nearby, please do drop him a line.

Highwater Bungalow, Sacramento

Seen on a drive through an east Sacramento neighborhood recently. Apparently, the homeowner wanted to make it even taller (amazing that the city allowed this to begin with...). The neighbors "talked him down" (ouch, bad pun, sorry). Note that it will be the tallest structure within several blocks, and is totally and completely out of character with the rest of the neighborhood - every single house on this street is a modest bungalow on a relatively small lot.

I noticed the owner kept the electricity connected and the front porch light on; maybe he's worried that a low-flying plane might hit it.

It will be interesting to see how the project turns out!

Tiny Bungalows

Kasturi's weblog, Not Native Fruit, says this about living in a small Berkeley bungalow:

... a small house is like a spiritual master. It teaches you to be disciplined, to minimize your possessions, to keep things clean and neat, to respect other people's needs for space. You get organized, living in a small house, or you go bananas. The choice is yours.

Although, as someone who grew up in one of these small homes, I can tell you that size is relative. I live in a 1300 sq ft home here in Sacramento now, and doesn't seem small at all - probably because I grew up in those Berkeley bungalows.

Kasturi also has some nice photographs of Berkeley bungalows, including her own.

for sale: Old Los Altos Bungalow, $1,725,000

Small_front This 2200 square foot, 3 bedroom & 2.5 bath 1909 Craftsman sits on a 6600 square foot lot in one of Los Altos' nicest residential neighborhoods. The beautifully landscaped yards include a deck, plenty of lawn, and a redwood hot tub under a Craftsman style wisteria-covered gazebo. Gleaming hardwood floors on the ground level & a well-maintained stairway, plus a beautiful built-in dining room fixture, make the wooden surfaces really shine. Wood trim throughout, new kitchen and  bath, plate rail and lots of neat and very Craftsman features all around. Garage is detached. You can download the flyer for more pictures; a few more are in this Flickr set.

Email agent Jeanne MacVicar with questions, or call her at 650.917.7979

For Those of You Just Now Joining Us

Since we've had a huge upsurge in traffic lately, and since many folks are writing to ask questions that boil down to the same thing - what, exactly is a bungalow? - I've decided to include a short definition. This is taken from Kenneth R. Trapp's The Arts & Crafts Movement in California: Living The Good Life:

The bungalow was the major American middle-class housing innovation of those years, and the Golden State, "Bungalow-land," was said to be its birthplace. Odes were written to the California bungalow, characters in novels portrayed it as close to Nirvana: "Mama and me are planning to go out to Pasadena and buy a bungalow."

Although the prime years of bungalow promotion were 1905-15, the Los Angeles Examiner reported in May 1904 that every street in Pasadena had a bungalow, and Los Angeles and Hollywood abounded in the wide-roofed dwellings as well. The typical bungalow that came to dominate in the greater Los Angeles area combined timber construction and rustic siding or shingles with such mountain-camp references as fieldstone foundations or walls, cobblestone chimneys and piers - sometimes randomly interspersed with protruding clinker bricks - and, perhaps, log or pebble-dash accents.

Such "rustic simplicity," deemed the essential bungalow trait by one writer on Southern California domesticity, was reiterated inside. A masonry chimney breast or mixed-media surround (cobblestones, brick, rock, or tile facings) often served as the focal point of a wainscoted living room incorporating built-in benches and bookcases to create a compact but imposing fireside inglenook. The cavernous stone hearth of the Mount Lowe Alpine Tavern was illustrated in a 1909 House and Garden article on modern fireplaces that captured the old-fashioned home spirit of the colonial or preindustrial kitchen and living hall. Also featured in the article were a floor-to-ceiling rough clinker-brick model from the Los Angeles mail-order bungalow builder Henry L. Wilson and a Craftsman-like affair of tile, wood buttresses, and beams framing an overmantel mountain landscape. The latter fireplace treatment was the work of Carl Enos Nash's company, "artists as well as craftsmen," who favored scenic, matte-glazed Grueby and Rookwood tiles depicting forest, desert, and pastoral motifs in keeping with the bungalow's mission to maximize the charms of outdoor life. The living-room hearth was the most important emblem of the devoted though informal home life advocated by Charles Keeler and numerous reformer-idealists associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. Nash articulated this linkage between material environment and spiritual state: "As we sit meditating, watching the leaping flames and listening to the crackle of the fire, what can be more conducive to perfect contentment than a well designed fireplace?"

In January 1913 an account by Charles Francis Saunders in the West Coast magazine Sunset admirably distilled the interior and exterior hallmarks of the Californian indoor-outdoor house, along with the easygoing, wholesome way of life associated with it. "When you see a cozy one or one-and-a-half storied dwelling, with low-pitched roof and very wide eaves, lots of windows and an outside chimney of cobble or clinker-brick half hidden by clinging vines - that is a bungalow, whatever other houses may be."

Two Bungalows, One Lot

Siq0llgfkri4xhlqdablsg9vuxwbWhat kind of market is it when I think that two modest working class bungalows anywhere are worth three-quarters of a million dollars? I'm sure Gus would have a fit if he knew that it'd take a DINK lifestyle where both partners are brain surgeons to afford one of his houses today. But who am I to complain - I've been waxing poetic about 3/4 million dollar bungalows right here for months. Is there any such thing as inherent value, or is a good deal or the right price solely defined by market demand alone? from Craigslist:

Los Angeles - Rose Park: A Must see! Charming California bungalows, in the Rose Park historical area. 2 on 1 lot plus a studio unit. Manicured landscaping, quite neighborhood. Front unit spacious 3Bd/1 bath, beautiful hardwood floors throughout, upgraded kitchen and bath and back patio. The back house 1Bd/1 bath, hardwood floors, back yard, laundry hookups in both units. Garage, extended driveway. Good for owner occupy and/or rentals. Call agent for the info on studio. Please do not disturb tenants.

for sale: Sacramento Bungalow $399,999

Img_4314 This cozy and very well-maintained bungalow is a few blocks from my own house, and right around the corner from one of the nicest parks in the city. Sacramento is organized around its parks - each is a sort of focal point for the old residential neighborhoods - and McKinley Park, my favorite, contains many acres of playground, tennis courts, an always-busy duck and goose pond, soccer and baseball fields, a garden center, the local library (which has a great collection of books on Craftsman and related A&C architecture) and swimming pool, and a gorgeous rose garden. Living across the street from it in one of the two or three nicest residential neighborhoods in the city is certainly worth the asking price of this house - although, to be fair, you get an awfully cute and almost completely restored house for the price, too.

The current owner put in a great built-in that I didn't even imagine was contemporary until the realtor, Jennifer Hayes (916.552.7281) told me. The kitchen makes excellent use of a tight space with nice butcher block countertops, a glass mosaic tile backsplash, and wonderful period-style stained glass fixtures, which appear elsewhere in the house as well. We have several more photographs on Flickr.

Berman Gallery

The Berman Gallery, in Rose Valley PA, carries a pretty strong inventory of A&C items - home furnishings, Navajo rugs and other textiles complementary to the Craftsman style, tile, Jarvie and Roycroft items, vases and decorative ceramic items and plenty more (including a nice stock of rockers and settles). Rose Valley is just west of Philadelphia, and their shop is certainly worth visiting should you find yourself in or near Philly any time soon.

for sale: Milwaukee Craftsman $369,000

Exterior2 Danny Parmelee sends us a listing for this well-maintained and very airy 3,000 square foot 4 bed, 1.5 bath 100-year-old 3-story Milwaukee Craftsman. Lots of nice features in this 1905 home, like 2 fireplaces, solid oak doors, multipane windows and original hardware. New kitchen has maple cabinetry and high-end appliances, and the backyard is big and fenced. Milwaukee seems to be full of these pretty foursquares. Unlike many other areas, most seem to have been taken care of quite well, with little of the painted-over wood and carpeted hardwood floors and things like that you see in some communities.

More photos on Flickr; The agent can be reached at 414.810.8210.

The East Bay Bungalow

Jimoaklandhouse John Monteverdi, a faculty member at San Francisco State, bought a lovely 1922 bungalow in Oakland's Rockridge / Upper Temescal neighborhood in the late 1980s. It's very typical of one variety East Bay bungalow, which owes its wide front porch to Southern Craftsman homes, its columns and eaves to the Queen Annes that preceded it and its stucco finish and not-uncommon light coloring and red or brown painted steps to the Mission aesthetic that lends itself so well to California.

In addition to the photographs on the front page, scroll down for a few good-sized mpeg movies and a room-by-room tour. the gallery also includes a number of photos of his excellent kitchen remodel, completed in 1998, which fits the house far better than what existed when he moved in. As far as back yard, you can see how creative many folks in the East Bay need to be to turn small and sometimes hilly spaces into attractive, useable yards.

for sale: Oakland Bungalow $695,000

Jean_front This attractive Oakland brown-shingle is more  than just a pretty facade with original period detailing. In 2003, a series of improvements and enhancements began. Outside, the shingle siding was replaced and the exterior repainted. The yard had a face lift, with a new redwood deck for outdoor dining, a redwood fence in the backyard, and fresh landscaping in both the front and rear yards (including soil amendment, irrigation, tree removal, drainage, automatic watering and sprinklers) A charming flagstone rear patio and front steps were also added.  Inside, the hardwood floors were refinished, the fireplace was repaired and the chimney repaired and reinforced. A brand new tile floor was installed in the upstairs bathroom, and in the dining room the wainscotting was refinished. Last but not least, the old knob & tube fuse box was replaced.

As you can see, the changes are not just cosmetic; especially in the basement. It was seismically retrofitted, the foundation repaired, and the retaining wall replaced. Insulation was blown into all exterior walls and into the (10 foot!) ceiling. The old water heater was replaced with a tankless, the furnace was replaced and heating ducts were  redirected.

  • located 545 Jean Street, Oakland CA [map]
  • 3 bedrooms, incl. large master with 2 closets; 1.5 baths
  • large kitchen with new appliances
  • near Piedmont, Grand and Lakeshore avenues and related shops & restaurants
  • big basement & room for expansion
  • huge lot, lovely backyard, lower terrance & firepit; driveway with room for 2 cars
  • contact Eric Wong at Windermere Real Estate with questions

for sale: San Diego Bungalow $799,000


This 2-story 1925 bungalow (1954 square feet of living space), has been lovingly restored to bring out its original features and charm. The home includes dual master suites with private bath and additional bedroom and bath upstairs. One bedroom/den/entertainment room and full bath downstairs. All bathrooms have been fully renovated. Many restored features including leaded glass windows, wood built-ins, large dining room at the center of the home with high wainscoting, fireplace and many period light fixtures.

Tasteful upgrades troughout the home including forced air dual-zoned heating and air conditioning, remodeled kitchen with ceramic tile floor and maple cabinetry, remodeled bathrooms with Moen fixtures, 6 foot jacuzzi tub w/dual showerheads, water heater with recirculating pump, new built-in entertainment center in master bedroom and extensive storage, professionally landscaped yard with fountain and large outdoor decks at front and back of home.

Contact Assaf Avissar at 619.325.4128 with questions or to arrange to see the property.

Arts & Crafts Conference in Minneapolis

The Arts & Crafts Movement: The Intersection of Regionalism and Internationalism — A Living Tradition (June 22 – 25, 2006 )

The eighth annual Arts and Crafts conference takes place in Minneapolis and environs under the aegis of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art History, and in conjunction with the reopening of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA). The MIA, which houses one of the finest collections of decorative arts of the period, will also be the site of formal sessions and other activities.

This conference explores how foreign influences were brought to bear on the region’s art and architecture, and how local practitioners transformed international influences to an individualized regional expression. We discuss the effect of trade and of travel between cities of major figures in the movement whose work is evident in Buffalo, Chicago, Minnesota and elsewhere throughout the nation, thus coming closer to understanding the dissemination of influence.

Download the conference brochure, or continue reading the whole conference introduction below.

Continue reading "Arts & Crafts Conference in Minneapolis" »

for sale: Pasadena Bungalow $775,000

Imgp0005Built in 1925, this home is over 1500 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a large family room, living room, dining room, and updated kitchen. Beautifully restored hardwood floors and crown molding throughout the house, along with hand milled window moldings. Amazing handmade tiles adorn both bathrooms, and the living room contains with an original brick fireplace. French doors in the sunroom lead out to a formal A & C-inspired garden. The two-car garage has been drywalled for insulation.

This home is located in the North Pasadena Heights Landmark District. It was featured in the LA Times as Home of the Week and received three historical preservation awards. Check out the listing, or take a virtual tour. The agent, Dustin Anderson at Keller Williams Realty, can be reached at 626.755.8778.

Live Oak Crafts Fair 2006

Gingkoyamamotoliveoak My favorite crafts fair in the country will be held this coming weekend. On June 10 & 11, do not miss the 36th annual Live Oak Park Fair in Berkeley, California: 125 artists and craftspeople vie for your attention, and there will be plenty of live dancers, musicians, and lots of great food and drink. It's outside, the weather should be terrific, and there's lots for kids as well.

The park in a residential neighborhood and you may have to park a few blocks away, but you'll get to walk through a neighborhood with plenty of beautiful Craftsman houses to and from the park. Here are driving directions and a map; there's also a free shuttle from the nearby North Berkeley BART station.

While you are at the fair, don't miss Jeannine Calcagno Niehaus's booth (#48). Jeannine is a wonderful ceramic artist and I have been a big fan of hers ever since I first saw her work several years ago at the same fair. She'll be there with lots of her beautiful vases and bowls and other pieces - the wisteria, gingko and eucalyptus designs are especially apt for anyone looking to liven up their bungalow. Tell Jeannine you read about her and her work here, and pick up a piece or two!

This year's image is by Yoshiko Yamamoto, whose work should be familiar to many of you - not just her graphic art, but also as author of the many books she's made with her husband, Bruce Smith. They also produce The Tabby.

Architectural Salvage on Craigslist

Lots of good stuff on Craigslist this week - including a number of salvage items all over the country. Should you need a clawfoot tub, sash window, or pedestal sink, you may be in luck...

Electric Tiffany


Reader Brenda Haines writes with info on an interesting show opening this coming Saturday at the Paine Estate & Gardens in Oshkosh WI. The exhibit runs through 8 October 2006.

In the largest exhibition of Tiffany lamps in 20 years, the Paine Art Center and Gardens showcases an extraordinary exhibit featuring 50 original lamps created by the studios of renowned American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany created the exquisite lamps between 1895 and 1920. Electric Tiffany presents superior examples of the full spectrum of his inspired use of electric light.

Tiffany Studios produced more than 400 different designs for both shades and bases in a variety of forms, ranging from table and floor lamps to hanging fixtures. Botanical themes inspired most designs, but other motifs show Tiffany’s interest in insects, Moorish art and architecture, and geometric patterns. Electric Tiffany demonstrates this immense diversity and celebrates the creativity, innovation and exquisite craftsmanship of Tiffany’s magnificent lamps.