Building Heirlooms: A Visit With Whit McLeod
book review: Country Furniture

Craftsman in the News, August 2006

A number of recent articles on historically important or otherwise interesting properties, neighborhoods or trends around the country:

Buffalo group restoring Frank Lloyd Wright home: More than a century after Frank Lloyd Wright designed it, and years after it fell into disrepair, an architectural treasure is being brought back to life in Buffalo.

San Antonio homebuyers looking to historic urban neighborhoods once again: Others go on a more elusive search: trying to identify the next King William or Monte Vista. Interest in San Antonio's older neighborhoods is picking up, in part because of rising gas prices, traffic congestion and a desire for distinctive architecture. Most San Antonio home buyers head straight to the suburbs.

Contemporary custom Craftsman homes win awards in Florida: For the second year, Craftsman-inspired homes near Northwest Florida's white-sand beaches took the top spot in the Aurora Awards.

Arrol Geliner pleads for home remodelers to stay consistent in style: Not long ago, in a pleasant, '60s-era neighborhood of California ranch homes, I came across a renovated house that looked all too familiar. The owner had replaced the original front doors, all the windows and the garage door in a style that could most kindly be described as Home Improvement Store Eclectic.

Union Station Dreams: Finished in 1939, Union Station is the last great train station built in America. It was constructed in a glorious Spanish Mission Revival and Art Deco style. During the nadir of rail travel it languished. But today it is busier than ever before, serving as the hub for Metrolink, Amtrak and Metro Rail.

Americans on a Remodeling Stampede: When the Hills bought their Northwest Side bungalow last year, one thing absolutely, positively had to go: the tiny, outdated kitchen. So the Hills did what an estimated 6 million American households will do this year. They remodeled their kitchen -- an endeavor that has turned into a feeding frenzy in recent years. Even though Americans are cooking less, we're pumping more money than ever into souped-up kitchens.

An article about my most-hated trend in contemporary homebuilding - Craftsman Style Comes Back in New Homes: What's old is new again. Drive around emerging communities in much of the country, and it's hard to miss all the craftsman-style homes. The covered front porch, the gabled roof, tapered columns at the entrance and limited use of bricks are architectural details more in line with 1920s and 1930s home construction than anything built in the 1980s and 1990s.

Philadelphia-area homes added to a preservation watch list: A number of historically important buildings throughout Lower Merion could soon be demolished as developers look to the construction of more condominium developments and single family homes, according to a local preservation group.

Upland, California gets an "extreme makeover": About six years after teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, this city of 70,000 residents is feeling good and is committing to a makeover.

For the Unwary, Fixer-Uppers can Turn Into Money Pits: Julie Hooper hears from people all the time who fantasize about fixing up      an old house. "My favorite thing is when a cute young couple comes in and says they want to redo a house and make it theirs," she said. So Hooper, the owner of King William Realty, shows them a house with the stuff a redo is made of: cracked foundations, sagging front porches, roofs with holes and the absence of air conditioning.

Woodland, California - home to many beautiful Craftsman bungalows - begins selling tickets to their excellent September home tour: Tickets for the 18th annual Stroll Through History historic homes tour will go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 1. This year's event takes place Saturday, Sept. 9, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Woodland, and features the Beamer's Woodland Park neighborhood.

About the House: How Trees Do & Do Not Impact Structures: Your Honor, does this lovely Liquid Amber appear capable of doing harm to anything, let alone Mr. Filbert’s 1926 Craftsman bungalow? No, I tell you, it’s a lie, a myth, a hit and a myth! My friends the trees have been sorely abused. And it’s all based on false information and a general lack of understanding about how they grow and what they do to the foundations of houses. Although I’ve read tracts by engineers and other experts on the dangers of trees, I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t so.

Landmarking a historic fraternity house in Berkeley: In 1974, the Berkeley Daily Gazette published the photo of a “mystery house” on the northwest corner of La Loma Avenue and Ridge Road. The accompanying article solicited information about this house, speculating that it might be the work of architect Ernest Coxhead (1863–1933), who designed two landmark buildings a block away—Beta Theta Pi Chapter House, 2607 Hearst Ave. (1893) and Allenoke Manor, 1777 Le Roy (1903).

Sy Oshinsky visits two Wright properties in the Laurel Highlands: America’s premier architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, once said: "If you foolishly ignore beauty, you’ll soon find yourself without it". I didn’t make that mistake on a recent trip I took to the Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania. The area includes not only pretty scenery but two landmark houses designed by Wright, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob.