|This 30 minute documentary, directed by italian filmmaker Giorgio Carlevaro, is the only film record of the historic work done on Hollyhock House. The film covers the entire length of the rehabilitation and offers a peek into the powerful personalities of Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall.|
Brooklyn-based David Surgan collects and deals in Heintz metalware - the distinctive silver-on-bronze designs made by Otto Heintz's Heintz Art Metal Shop in the late teens and early twenties. The striking Heintz motifs, on vases, bookends, bowls, lamps, desk sets and all sorts of other miscellany, are applied in silver on top of a base of bronze in a variety of colorful finishes - a green "verde" patina, a deep black called "royal," brown and blacks and deep, chocolatey, almost purplish browns. It is without a doubt some of the most detailed, original and beautiful metalware of the entire A&C period.
I had the opportunity to chat a bit with David at a show in 2005, and found him to be a warm, pleasant, funny guy who really loves what he sells and is eager to educate others. His advice is good and he'd be happy to talk to you about Heintz, should you have any questions; his new website is as much an educational resource as it is a catalog of his own stock. He exhibits at a number of shows, from the Asheville annual show & conference to the San Francisco show and plenty more on both coasts and in between. Drop on by and say hello, and consider investing in one of these especially beautiful and important pieces of American craft history.
On Saturday September 30 and Sunday October 1, join Historic Seattle for the 2006 Seattle Bungalow Fair. Over 50 Craftspeople in metal, tile, glass, textiles, ceramics, and lighting, antique dealers, architects, and interior designers will be exhibiting their work; the show and sale are opportunities to learn about early 20th century architecture and design and to ask questions and get answers from knowledgeable people in the field. It is also an opportunity for those who have been won over by Arts & Crafts period furniture and decoration to be visually stimulated and to think about ways in which to incorporate the many old and new offerings presented here into their homes. See details on the lectures and workshops planned for this year's Fair, or ger directions to Town Hall. Tickets are $8 pre-registered, $10 day of fair; children under 12 are free. Admission does not include a ticket to the special lectures, some of which have an additional fee.
Saturday September 30: 10 am - 5 pm; Sunday October 1: 10 am - 4 pm
above: the Fullerton model as shown in a 1920s Sears Roebuck catalog, and the Jesse Baltimore house in Washington, DC's Palisades neighborhood recently. An effort is being made to save this fine example of one of Sears' finest models.
The Jesse Baltimore House has been nominated to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites. Meanwhile the DC Parks and Recreation has applied for a permit to raze this historic house.
Built in 1925, the Jesse Baltimore House is a Sears Roebuck "Fullerton" kit house at 5136 Sherier Place in Washington, DC's Palisades neighborhood. After living in the house for 33 years, the Baltimore family sold it to the National Parks Service in 1958. Although NPS retains ownership, it transferred jurisdiction over the house to the DC Department of Parks and Recreation in 1971.
Since passing out of private hands, the Baltimore House has been rented to a succession of tenants, used as a group home, and remained vacant for more than 10 years. Concerned about demolition rumors, Historic Washington Architecture nominated the house to the DC Inventory in March, 2004. A few days later, DC Parks and Rec applied for the raze permit.
BAHA - The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association - has, on their website, a number of good articles on important structures in the east bay. Bradley Wiedmaier has written a short essay on the South Berkeley Community Church, an especially interesting property on Berkeley's Fairview Street, near the Oakland border. The content of the BAHA site is not released under any kind of creative commons or other license and copyright belongs solely to them; a short excerpt follows, but to read the full article you must visit their site.
South Berkeley Community Church is one of the truly great monuments of the Arts and Crafts, Mission Revival, and San Francisco Bay Area styles. Boldly scaled and sumptuous in the sequence of its interior spaces, the building is also modest in size, fitting in a neighborly fashion into its residential setting. The monumentally scaled corner entrance tower is actually shorter than many nearby residential structures. The architect, Hugo W. Storch, assembled a series of components that transition through an amazing range of variation, both on the exterior and in the interior. In this building Storch recalled the structural variety, play of scale, and component collage previously used by Ernest Coxhead in St. John the Evangelist Church of San Francisco, which burned in 1906. The monumental scale coupled with the diminutive reality of the arches, the details, and the sequence of varied components used by Storch are an inheritance from Coxhead’s Bay Area Style sensibilities.
Storch reworked the Mission Revival style by mixing it with the freedom of the Arts and Crafts style. His South Berkeley Community Church went up at the same time that Julia Morgan was working on St. John’s Presbyterian Church, James W. Plachek was planning the North Berkeley Congregational Church, and Bernard Maybeck was building the First Church of Christ, Scientist—all City of Berkeley Landmarks. Joeseph Worcester’s Swedenborgian Church in San Francisco and A.C. Schweinfurth’s First Unitarian Church in Berkeley, both built in the 1890s, influenced the four later church designs.
Situated on the edge of New York City's borough of Queens, Forest Hills Gardens is probably the most successful - and best known - example of an English planned garden community in the United States. Originally built as a commuter suburb - even in 1915, just six years after its construction, it was less than 15 minutes from Manhattan's Penn Station by rail - the community was originally planned and built by the Russell Sage Foundation and Cord-Meyer Development Co. beginning in 1909. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of the father of landscape architecture and a great craftsman and technician in his own right, collaborated with architect Grosvenor Atterbury to make a community that worked both internally and as part of the world-class city they both realized New York would soon grow into.
This thriving community still offers a lush, green and very much park-like escape for several thousand residents, and suggests solutions for our conflict between limiting sprawl and creating living, working, and above all livable communities. Forest Hills Gardens was home to many visionaries of the time, including Frederic Goudy, one of the foremost typeface and graphic designers of the age and an important figure in the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Goudy even published a monograph in 1915 detailing his own family's many reasons for relocating to the community; unfortunately, the book has not been reprinted, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a copy today. Gustav Stickley's own magazine, The Craftsman, also featured articles and drawings on the community in 1911.
Susan Klaus has written a terrific book on Olmsted's relationship to the community, focusing on the planning of the community and with many illustrations of its history to the present. It's worth a read if you are interested in planned communities in general and how the Arts & Crafts Ideal can be applied to so much more than simply architectural design. Additional photographs of and articles on the community are available online.
Big, boxy houses preside over the landscape of 21st-century America. But the modern design-meets-warm touch of Arts and Crafts cottages and bungalows seems to be more popular than ever, almost 100 years after the movement's heyday.
Several new books and a new magazine about Arts and Crafts style are available now, and this fall, several new furniture lines evocative of the era will debut.
"Certainly [this] has to be a reaction to the ever-increasing mechanization and artificialness of life, and specifically houses," says Bruce Irving, former producer of PBS's This Old House, now a renovation consultant in Cambridge, Mass.
"The rise of McMansions, PVC trim... engineered factory-finished flooring, and even prefabricated houses must make people long for a time full of the real, handmade deal."
These days, technological advances pervade everyday life. "But many of us need a balance, especially in the environment we come home to each day," says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance.
Among the offerings at the spring International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C., were Hooker Furniture's "Simply American," a collection of bedroom and home-entertainment furnishings rendered in Arts and Crafts styling; Copeland Furniture's Frank Lloyd Wright collection; and the "Artisan" collection from Cresent Fine Furniture.
"Just as the original Arts and Crafts furnishings came into prominence in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in response to industrialization, today's designs represent a growing interest in simplicity," Hirschhaut says.
Last year, Old-House Interiors magazine published a pilot issue on Arts and Crafts style.
It met with such success both in the numbers of copies sold and advertiser response, says editor Patricia Poore, that in the spring "we launched Arts & Crafts Homes as a separate quarterly, vowing to include contemporary practitioners of Arts and Crafts, as well as covering the historical antecedents of the continuing movement."
Though fans of the style acknowledge that interest in it ebbs and flows, this current revival is no mere flash of fashion, says Jane Powell, author of Bungalow Details: Interior (Gibbs Smith, $39.95).
"Since the Princeton exhibit in 1972 that reintroduced the style, the Arts and Crafts movement has secured a place as a classic style in the same way 18th-century style has," Powell says.
John Claypool, executive director of the Philadelphia chapter of the American Institute of Architects, says the Princeton exhibit was a "re-recognition of the movement, starting with the furniture of the period, and the interest in houses followed."
As a movement, Arts and Crafts wasn't rejected, Claypool says - it's just that the world moved on. In the 1950s, for instance, "the bungalow was considered too dark and the amount of wood was too expensive," he says.
"Yet Arts and Crafts continued to exert its influence in open floor plans, the ways rooms flowed into one another, and in planning, since the plan books that had been a hallmark of the movement continued."
There are strong Arts and Crafts influences in architecture today, notably in the work of The Not So Big House author Sarah Susanka - "the design and the details," Claypool says.
In fact, Susanka's efforts have inspired planning for Ruskin Lane in Media, a proposed development of 11 Arts and Crafts-style houses. They will be much larger - 2,700 to 3,200 square feet - than an early 20th-century bungalow, but with the same attention to detail.
A joint venture of the Arcus Design Group and Mingioni Construction, Ruskin Lane's designs are based on existing Arts and Crafts houses in the Media area, says architect Jeff Balch. (Nearby Rose Valley was a utopian Arts and Crafts community.)
Though the style was "a celebration of beautiful materials beautifully wrought," as Irving puts it, the movement was political as well, says Powell.
"The Arts and Crafts reformers believed that good designs in homes and furnishings would result in an improved society," she says. Underlying this was the premise that the industrialization that created the middle class and produced the "overstuffed" houses of the Victorians exploited the workers who mass-produced the items that filled them.
Though the political underpinnings may not be as well-recalled, Arts and Crafts "still speaks to people," Powell says.
"Remember, they were the first modern houses, with electric lights and indoor plumbing. Even in this century, they remain very livable."
Regional differences in the style developed, such as the California bungalow (where it first took root) and the Chicago, or Prairie, style. A veritable library of plan books appeared, and soon Sears Roebuck & Co. and other firms were selling mail-order kits that could be assembled by local contractors.
The ultimate bungalows were those designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene - most notably the one Greene & Greene built in Pasadena, Calif., for David and Mary Gamble (of Procter & Gamble) as a retirement home in 1908. It is now a house museum jointly owned by the city and the University of Southern California.
The Greenes designed both the house and its furnishings, which feature the rose from the Gamble family crest. The rose also appears in woodwork (the house has almost 80 species of wood), fireplaces, and other architectural features.
As important as the Gamble House is, Claypool says, "it is a secondary movement with a distinctive style of its own - more refined, more decorative, and more of a Japanese influence."
Still, it has a long reach. L. & J.G. Stickley debuted Greene & Greene-inspired furniture in its expanded Pasadena Bungalow collection at High Point in April. More than 20 pieces have been added to the line, all crafted from sapelli wood from the coast of Africa. One, the Gamble House Chest, retails for $4,723.
Bungalows may have been cheaper than Victorian mansions, but restoring one can be pricey, even though almost everything needed for a period redo is reproduced today.
"The expression of details in all of their handmade splendor makes for some pretty expensive trim-out," says Irving, who was in charge when This Old House restored a bungalow in Santa Barbara.
Which may be why a lot of 21st-century bungalow owners turn to more modern materials for renovation, sometimes with unfortunate results.
"People have this need to make their space their own," Powell says, "and when all they see is what is readily available at home centers advertised on television, that's what they use."
Creating more space or updating a bungalow for modern living can be quite the trick, as author Paul Duchscherer notes in his new book, Along Bungalow Lines (Gibbs Smith, $39.95), which is lavishly illustrated with photos by Linda Svendsen of additions and renovations.
Bungalow Details: Interior author Powell advises adding on "to the back so people can't see it from the street."
"I don't even mind if they add a second story," she says, "as long as it looks like a bungalow and not a '70s tract house."
I recently spent a weekend in Point Reyes Station, a small community - mostly an artists' colony but with more and more B&Bs and other attractions built for weekenders - just north of San Francisco. I did a fair amount of window shopping while I was there, and noticed the beautiful Arts & Crafts-influenced tiles marked "Blue Slide" in one shop. Today, I found an article by Joanne Furio in the San Francisco Chronicle on the makers of these tiles:
For inspiration, tilemaker Gordon Bryan doesn't have to go very far. His studio in Point Reyes Station overlooks golden hills where cattle graze. When not working, he can be found birding, gardening, surfing or on his 22-foot fishing boat. So it's not surprising that the cow, the black-headed grosbeak, the oak leaf, the willow and the herring have all found their way into his handmade tiles.
"That is Gordon's thing," says his wife and business partner, Pamela Bridges, who helps with the company's books and serves as her husband's main critic. "He is Mr. Outdoors. He loves nature. He can be out surfing and get some of his inspiration."
The couple, who have been together 25 years, have been in business almost as long. They founded Blue Slide Art Tile in Humboldt County in 1982 and have been in Point Reyes since 1986. In 2001, they moved their tile making from a rented warehouse to a converted Chevron oil depot they expanded into a 3,200-square-foot studio in Point Reyes Station.
From a one-man operation that sold tile-topped tables mostly to relatives and friends, Blue Slide has grown into a nationally distributed artisanal firm. Bryan estimates that even the simplest tile is touched at least 30 times.
Rago Arts presents another auction weekend coming up in a few days. Previews run all week, 12-5 pm, at their Lambertville NJ auction center; the auction itself begins at noon on both Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th. The full catalog is available online, and you can also download two higher-resolution PDFs. As usual, an enormous volume of furniture, glass, ceramic and metal items will be available, as well as some graphic art and paintings and other miscellany.
A video artist and fan of both Frank Lloyd Wright and the videogame Halflife II has created a machinima (machine cinema) walkthrough of Frank Lloyd Wright's Kaufman House, aka Fallingwater. If you have the bandwidth, a 57 meg Windows Media version is also available. There's also a walk-through of the real thing on YouTube; it's quite a bit more attractive than the video game version.
Based on an idea from his teacher, master printer Gerald Lange, our good friend Hrant Papazian of The MicroFoundry has developed a unique piece of furniture for the discerning typographer. There's also a Flickr set of the first production model.
Essentially a glass-top coffee table that gracefully accommodates a drawer of letterpress type, the TypeTable nicely exhibits an instance of high craft for discernment by the typographic aficionado, and is itself crafted to high standards: sturdy but elegant construction, to a tolerance of 1/32 of an inch; 1/2-inch beveled glass; and easy movement of the type drawer into and out of the framework, ensuring that the font is not converted into a “museum piece” but instead remains a dignified, usable resource. Note that the purchase of the TypeTable does not include a drawer of type; this must be provided by the customer, although The MicroFoundry would gladly help in procuring a drawer.
With the drawer of type removed, the table reveals its attractive lattice midboard, which can be used to exhibit other items (up to 1-1/2 inches in height) making this piece of “typographic furniture” highly versatile.
The TypeTable is offered for sale at US$555 (plus delivery costs) and is manufactured on a first-come, first-served basis. Please direct all inquiries (including interest in tables that accommodate more than one drawer) to Hrant Papazian.
Saw this terrific carving on Acton Street in north Berkeley, California the other day; nobody was home. Anyone familiar with this craftsperson's work? Let me know if you think you might know who is responsible - I'd like to see more of his or her work.
The carving is not particularly deep, yet the details all really stand out - not sure if it's the light or the wood or a combination of the two, but the delicacy of the design is visible all the way from out in the street. every detail of the irises is clear, as well as the gently scalloped hex-pattern in the ground behind them.
There is lots and lots of good stuff on Craigslist this week! They've recently opened up the network to even more American & international cities, and the result is lots more neat stuff!
- 67-inch tall burlwood tansu in Orange County: $2500
- 2-piece black lacquer tansu in Los Angeles: $375
- reproduction step tansu in Seattle: $1000
- enormous futon tansu in Washington DC: $1600
- repro entertainment cabinet in Seattle: $300
- sideboard with glass doors and mirror in Madison: $1350
- sturdy-looking round oak dining table in Sacramento: $95
- set of four solid brass Craftsman / Victorian floor vents/registers in Denver: $120
- upholstered rocking chair in Washington DC: $175
- various repro Craftsman style pieces in cherry in New Orleans: $850 for all
- comfy adjustable Morris chair & ottoman in Raleigh: $300
- antique library desk with damaged top in Portland OR: $95
- contemporary Mission-esque dining set, table and six chairs, in Portland OR: $800
- solid maple computer desk with slat/spindle design on side and back in Portland OR: $200
- beautiful custom cherry corner bench, perfect for your kitchen, in Portland OR: $500
- brand-new Simpson 8-foot exterior door with two sidelights in Seattle: $750
- another entertainment center, this one in Fresno: $650
- Will-o-Ware woven willow basket, perfect for magazines or kindling, in LA: $50
- queen size mission spindle bed - head and footboards - slightly chewed by a puppy in LA: $85
- good looking A&C rocker with red velvet cushion in Los Angeles: $275
- simple cruciform-base A&C coatrack in Denver: $75
- wide Mission slat-back bench in Denver: $650
- various Arts & Crafts style mirrors in various hardwood frames in Denver: $49
- Morris chair without cushions, interesting arm design, in Washington DC: $100
- library table with drawers, in Chicago: $450
- worn but interesting leather and oak chaise, more deco than A&C, in Chicago: $75
- nice grain in this simple Shaker sideboard, in NYC: $325
- good looking side chair with leather seat but a bit pricey for just one, in Brooklyn: $300
- attractive green stained-glass , supposedly from a Frank Lloyd Wright design, NYC: $80
- unique A&C record storage endtables, c 1910, in Seattle: $400
- Randy Weersing cherry coffee table with interesting glass/drawer top, in Seattle: $895
- pedestal or plant stand, in Seattle: $150
- armchair with interesting back in Sacramento: $99
- pretty leather-upholstered daybed in Chicago: $500
- bow arm Morris chair, in Denver: $1600
- cherry entertainment center in Denver: $1500
- cherry armoire/entertainment center with free HDTV, in Denver: $3350 (!)
- desk & chair set in oak, in Chicago: $5000
- Stickley Bros. mission keyhole trestle table, in Chicago: $1700
- contemporary/mission bedroom set in cherry and curly maple, in New Jersey: $7000
- oak spindle settle with green cushions, in Syracuse: $3500
- spindle crib, in NYC: $1200
- slat settle #208 with new upholstery / pillows, in Vista NY: $2900
- Shaker-look entertainment unit in New Jersey: $1000
- various pieces - sidetable, entertainment center, coffee table, in Seattle: $150 - $3000
- simple & sturdy rocker, in Portland OR: $685
- drop-leaf dining table in lovely condition, in Seattle: $950
- Silverlake Architectural Salvage in Los Angeles posts many of their finds to Craigslist, including, this month, plenty of Spanish art tile, furniture, windows, pews, cabinetry, light fixtures, gates, vintage Craftsman entry doors and plenty more.
- slipper-form clawfoot tub in Denver: $250
- 5 stained solid pine 6-panel doors with interesting hardware in Detroit: $15 each
- vintage windows, "plenty to choose from," in Las Vegas: $25 each
- Victorian tiger-oak, mirror-back fireplace mantel, in Detroit: $750
- 2000 board-feet of 5/4 oak in the rough, 6 to 10 inches wide, 8 to 12 feet long - perfect for wood flooring or cabinetry, in New Hampshire: $1.75 per board foot
- reclaimed heart pine and other woods for flooring, beams, etc. in a variety of grades; in Louisiana, but ships everywhere: $4/sq ft and up
- set of oak and glass doors in Detroit: $300
- 1000 sq ft of reclaimed tiger oak flooring, tongue-in-groove and denailed, in Seattle: $3.25/sq ft
- 5000 very weathered and beautiful red clay bricks in Denver, plus 200 pieces of flagstone: $2500
|Here's a neat trick: instead of simply adding photos to real estate listings to increase interest, how about adding video - with narration and a guided tour?
This particular broker did just that for a recently-remodeled 1905 Craftsman in Spokane's South Hill neighborhood. The house was originally listed in May 2006 and sold recently, and while I'm not certain if the video led to the sale, it certainly is a neat idea and I expect to see plenty more both on Google Video and YouTube.
Do you find these videos interesting? Let me know if you'd like to see more of them.
Konrad Gauder has an article in the August '94 issue of Fine Gardening on building a scaled-down "alpine vista" in his yard in Berkeley - just perfect for the mountain cabin-esque Craftsman home that shares the site on Woolsey Street. Plenty of images of the project (and the absolutely beautiful fences and gates built by the Gauders) are also up on the site.
Konrad and Denise Snaer-Gauder own Landsculpture, a Berkeley-based firm known for "naturalistic stone placements, mosiac-like stone flatwork, curvilinear brick work, as well as furniture-quality gates, fences, decks and arbors."
In 1982, my wife, Denise, and I moved into her childhood home. It was a run-down, Berkeley Craftsman-style house, vintage 1910. The house had been unoccupied for seven years, but it held out lots of promise. What garden there was consisted of a strip of Bermuda grass sloping to the street in front of the house. Old bottlebrush, hibiscus and an invasive flowering quince decorated the foundation. Overgrown roses gave an unkempt appearance to the narrow strip of side yard, and in back of the house was a poorly constructed concrete-brick patio surrounded by shrubbery, a Japanese maple, and plum and mulberry trees. We kept the maple.
Some of the Gauders' other projects are equally impressive - a garden, fencing and stonework on Oakland's Crofton Street; beautiful fairy-tale stonework in paths, walls and steps on Skywood Way in Woodside, and more.
Charles & Hudson had a good post recently on residential fencing, and it got me thinking about all the great Craftsman style fences I've seen in the last few years - since I really started paying attention to this kind of thing, at least. Here are some pictures, fencing-related tutorials, custom designers and builders, vendors and other resources related to Arts & Crafts style fences, garden gates, arbors and other related features:
- Charles Prowell Woodwork makes very pretty lattice-based modular fencing as well as garden and driveway gates. They do custom work, too, and have shops in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Boise and Baltimore. His site also has a good article by Diana Powers on Craftsman-style fencing and his company in particular; good reading for anyone trying to pick the right look for their own fencing and gate.
- Aptos-based LMNO Arts is the team of Scott Lindberg and Cristie Thomas (and Ben, Assistance Puppy #10). Their product is wood and metal fine art for the yard - arbors, garden benches, fencing, trelliswork, rails, gates (also) and plenty more built for specific locations and specific uses. They've done work for clients all over the country, and in 2003 made a gate and columns for the Sunset Idea House. They also built a number of wood and metal features for the 2002 Idea House.
- Peter Kitsch-Korff builds beautiful wooden pergolas, decks, fences and gates throughout the Los Angeles area. He has done quite a bit of work in the Craftsman style, but has also completed many projects with a sort of modernist Zen-like austerity. The Asian influence in his woodwork may be an offshoot of his hobby, building historically-accurate Japanese, Persian and Chinese suits of armor. He's not cheap, but his prices are fair for what you get, and he always builds to reflect the unique architecture of the house or other structure that his work is complementing.
- A friend of mine bought replacement gates for his old, decrepit and generally falling-down Berkeley home from Cross Custom Works, who had a number of pre-made designs that worked out beautifully. Looks like they have plenty of different motifs available.
- The DIY Network's voluminous website includes tutorials and articles on all sorts of fencing and gate-building projects, including this attractive and modern two-sided fence (part 1 and part 2); a backyard "pool fence," complete with arbor entry; how to measure and set fenceposts; a pretty wooden garden gate with an eye-catching copper panel inset; easy instructions on planning and building your own custom picket fence; building a (relatively) simple privacy fence (a second article on the same subject is also available); a half dozen different articles on constructing and installing various types of arbors, and lots more.
- The San Francisco Chronicle had a good article last year on fencing, gates, curb appeal and how to fit a gate project with a particular house style; luckily, the article is still online.
- On Flickr, our friend Merideth has a nice shot of her side fence, arbor, trellis and gate; our friend Tiffany, in Petrolia California - up in Humboldt County - has a shot of an interesting gate by master craftsman Dave Grant; Mandolux's shot of a simple fence at what looks like a Japanese monastery; Finnigh's HDR (high dynamic range) photograph of a stepped trellis-topped fence; Liquidskyarts' photograph of a set of brick-and-fieldstone columns in front of a very pretty bungalow; Montanaraven's succesful trellis and privacy fence ... I'm sure there's lots more, but that's a five-minute tour right there.