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Russ Billington: Arts & Crafts mottos from England

Love_laughter_red_rose Russ Billington is an artist living and working in the village of Pimperne in Dorset, England. He's recently begun producing a line of hand-drawn and painted mottos, as nice as anything I've seen from the Roycrofters and other great graphic artists of the Arts & Crafts Movement. Each is on 100% cotton Arches, and in addition to his stock of standards, he will also adapt or customize any motto of your choice. Russ takes personalized projects as well; do drop him a line if you have something unique in mind.

Each piece is 8 x 12 on a sheet approximate 12 x 16 inches, and they start at US$125.

For enquiries in the US and Canada, contact David Ford at To contact Russ for a custom project, email

Stickley on Craigslist, June 2007

A few choice bits of Stickley from around the country: - the single most awesome thing I've seen all week

I guarantee you will be as hooked on this as I am. Floorplanner takes those mediocre house-plan / design packages out there (including the really crummy online, browser-specific, super-crashy versions like Home Despot's) and puts them all to shame. First of all: it works. All the time. In every browser I've tried it in. It's fast, colorful, has an enormous number of colors and patterns available, lots of furniture, easy wall / door / window / angle drawing tools, and it's just so much darn fun! Plus they are constantly adding new tools and objects. Play with it and email me your best Craftsman creations - I'll put them up on Flickr!

we're #1 (for houseporn, at least)

I noticed today that we were getting an awful lot of visitors who found us from Google searches for "houseporn." 200 today alone! After checking, I found that we were the number 1 result for this rather odd search term. Not that I'm complaining.

So, to accomodate all of you, some very G-rated houseporn (my favorite kind):


This was created with BigHugeLabs' neat Mosaic Maker. Too bad it doesn't generate a clickable html/javascript mosaic!

The photographers are as follows. Click on each link to see the original photo:

1. Heintz Art Metal Collection, 2. details, 3. IMG 1431, 4. Detailed woodwork, 5. Our Dining Room, 6. Arts & Crafts door, 7. Secessionist style Art Glass Door, 8. Plinthy, 9. Roycroft Hanging Lantern, 10. MG 0447, 11. Rockridge - 30, 12. Kitchen Remodel - After, 13. Maybeck church

restored Indianapolis bungalow sparkles

Bilde Abe Aamidor has a short piece in this weeks' Indianapolis Star on the recent restoration of a 1920 Arts & Crafts home in that city's Southside neighborhood.

This Southside Arts and Crafts home looks much the way it did when it welcomed its first family in 1920.

The one-story bungalow has the same yellow bricks and clapboard siding painted in period Rookwood antique gold, and even the original wood storm windows and storm doors have been retained, or faithfully restored where necessary.
This is neither McMansion nor artifact of some famous, long-dead architect.
But it is everything home ought to be, says Paul Krasnovsky, director of choral activities at the nearby University of Indianapolis, who has owned the property for more than 20 years.
Yet he didn't always feel that way.
"When I first looked at this house, I didn't want to buy it," said the divorced father of two.
"The previous owner had layers of drapes on the windows. It was so dark and constrictive. And the carpets just smelled."
Even worse, an earlier owner had cut down the bottoms of several interior doors so they could clear the thick shag carpeting she had installed. Krasnovsky ripped out all the carpets and was pleasantly surprised to find original wood flooring in good condition underneath.

photograph by Gary Moore for The Star

delicious Craftsman links from all over

Delicious is a great way to keep track of your bookmarks between machines - and between people. I've been steadily adding to my own bookmarks, and hopefully will soon have several hundred links - furniture makers, blacksmiths, tile dealers, sellers of architecture salvage, antique buyers' guides, auction notices, do-it-yourself directions and lots more.

Eventually, I'll get around to organizing it all, but until then, I'm sure you'll find plenty to browse.

for sale: real estate, West Coast edition (again)

Dug these up from classified sections, Craigslist(s), flyers, redfin & other sites over the weekend. Lots and lots of beautiful old houses all over the western US:

craigslist & ebay: library card catalogs are great!

I've always liked library card catalogs - the old wooden ones with dozens of tiny drawers. Something about the grid or all the little nooks and crannies appealed to me. As a kid, my parents had a wooden filing cabinet, previously used to hold criminal records and fingerprint files, that they had bought at a police auction; it still had a number of old mugshots in it when we brought it home, and I guess the promise of hidden treasure is another reason I like these types of items.

If my house wasn't already crowded with furniture, I'd seriously think about picking up one (or more) of these:

and here are a few on ebay

One thing I've noticed is that even the starting bids on Ebay are far higher than what folks selling via craigslist hope to get. Part of that is that Craigslisters want to sell to locals - they won't deal with shipping, and don't bother asking - and some of the Ebayers are willing to crate & ship. Another, something borne out by my own experience, is that people who use community sites like Craigslist are simply less predatory than vendors on Craigslist.

saving historic Seattle bungalow a “no-brainer”

reader Keith Harrison forwards this article about a fellow preserving some of his own neighborhood's character by saving an historic 1917 Craftsman home that was slated for demolition. Nicole Tsong has the full story at the Seattle Times; here's a short excerpt:

Frank-Michael Rebhan was not looking for a new house when he walked his dog past 6317 Phinney Ave. N. in late January.

He already owned a small house a few blocks away. But this sandy-gray beauty was a 1917 Craftsman-style home with leaded stained-glass windows, dark wood built-ins and box-beam ceilings. And a notice said it was slated for demolition.

Rebhan had an outlandish idea: What if he saved the home by moving it to his own lot?

Rebhan hadn't even been inside yet, but the 37-year-old quickly did some intense calculations. He added up costs for moving the house, demolition of his own home, excavation and the other issues involved in moving a house.

He figured out how much it would add to his current mortgage and realized: "It's a no-brainer."

for sale: homes in Phoenix, Arizona


from Nicole Serrin:

historic 1912 bungalow in the Roosevelt historic district: 3 bed, 1.75 bath, 1702 sq ft; carefully restored. $775,000 [48 W. Willetta St.]

1930 Tudor Revival home in the Medlock Place historic district: 2 bed, 2 bath, 1795 sq ft, with a separate 532 sq ft studio or guest house. Lot is big - just under half an acre. $747,000

1935 Tudor Revival with some Mission features in the F.Q. Story historic district: 2 bed, 1 bath, 1152 sq ft; lots of neat detail. $330,000

Preservation Brief 33: Historic Stained Glass

I find that all of the National Park Service's Preservation Briefs are interesting, and several have been especially useful in my own home repair projects; take, for instance, brief #33, which I had reason to consult this past month. It's a general primer on historic stained glass, written specifically for those of us with stained glass windows or panels in our old homes and the need to either maintain or repair them. Neal Vogel & Rolf Achilles' essay on historic stained glass windows is full of extensive information on history, dating, identifying and documenting, composition (even going a bit into chemistry and other materials sciences issues), ways to halt deterioration, tips on photographing stained glass and various repair techniques. If you have stained glass in your home, you need to read this. And, like all the other briefs, it's full of useful technical information but not written in an overly-technical style; it's accessible, readable and (as always) interesting.