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August 2007
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October 2007

Hewn & Hammered forums

Our redesign is still a few months away, but we're slowly introducing new features which we hope will make the site more useful and interesting to you. Chief among those changes is a new forum where you can ask questions and hopefully get advice  on a variety of old-house and design issues.

Up at the top of this window, on the left hand side, you'll see a small text link to the forum. Go ahead and click there and post a sample question, show off a recent project, for example, or plans for your dream house, or ask our other readers for advice or feedback. Right now the forums do not require any kind of registration, but if we're overrun with spam we might require you to register.

Arts & Crafts gems from the New York Times' archives

The New York Times recently decided to open up much of their historic archives for free, finally realizing that the ad revenue generated by increased access is far higher than what they could make in fees or subscriptions. As a result, there are plenty of interesting articles suddenly available to all of us that we'd have had to pay for in the past. I spent the morning searching for various Arts & Crafts related keywords, and here's what I turned up:

Sacramento CA: Mission sofa, $175

More a sofa than a settle, the owners of this sturdy piece want only $175 for it. Personally, I'd put a slipcover on it or reupholster, but you really can't beat $175 if it's in as good shape as it looks. If you're in or near Sacramento, this looks like a great deal. I'm trying vainly to pare my own cluttered house down, or else I'd take it myself!

bits & pieces on ebay, September 25 2007

I'm trying to keep to my policy of only including items here that are listed honestly - i.e., not labeled "Stickley-era," "possibly Roycroft," etc.

These are mostly unsigned items, either underpriced or honestly priced in my opinion (although I did include a few interesting signed items, too). While there were plenty of other good deals this week, many were expiring today or tomorrow, so I didn't include those.


  • high-backed Stickley rocker
  • slat-back/arm bench with leather seat
  • small bookcase / magazine rack
  • sofa table with interesting tenon detail
  • Limbert daybed with spade / leaf cutout
  • Limbert child's rocker with original seat
  • light wood wall shelves


  • matte green hanging flowerpot
  • Seiz Pottery doorbell
  • matte blue Zanesville bowl
  • pink & green Fulper vase
  • nautilus shell motif tile in oak frame
  • unsigned green glossy low bowl
  • lot of 40 Mexican talavera tiles, 4x4, floral design


DIY Networks' Wood Works: a mission-style ottoman

Picture_1 From the episode abstract:

Based on the design motifs of the Arts and Crafts style of the 1920s, the Mission-style ottoman in this Wood Works project features strong lines, mortise-and-tenon joinery and a natural wood finish. Precisely milled wood and subtle details such as the beveled through-tenons suggest strength and fine craftsmanship.

"The Connection" - October 26-28 2007 on the Roycroft Campus

Knottroycroft Last week, Sandra Starks sent us a press release on an upcoming conference at the Roycroft campus:

East Aurora, NY - The great minds of the turn of the 20th century is the theme of this intimate gathering of Arts & Crafts enthusiasts.  It is the International Arts & Crafts Movement and the great men and women who espoused its philosophy that changed the world a little over one hundred years ago.  From the 1860s to the 1920s, this historic social and artistic eruption that turned against the Industrial Revolution and embraced a human connection to our material surroundings was meant to discover a better way to live.

The Arts & Crafts Revival, now approaching the same number of years as the original wave, has also become a phenomenal reaction to intellectual progress i.e. the electronic world.  This revival and the education it offers is another opportunity to balance life for the future with the hand and heart!

All of the Roycrofters celebrate our treasure of Arts & Crafts sites in Western New York and we recognize that, as it was then, we are all connected to the rich legacy of Arts & Crafts worldwide.

For more than 20 years, the Roycroft Campus has intermittently hosted long weekend conferences with a focus on brining together top-notch scholars to emphasize the wealth of knowledge and share it with colleagues and friends from near and far.

art by Raymond Knott, from the conference's identity

Continue reading ""The Connection" - October 26-28 2007 on the Roycroft Campus" »

historic window workshop in Sacramento, CA

Sacramento's Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association and the Sacramento Bungalow Heritage Association are fighting a winning battle against cheap, unsightly and - in the long run - inefficient and environmentally damaging vinyl, aluminum and composite windows. Their solution? Fix your old wooden windows before switching over to something that seems like a good deal - but actually isn't.

This coming October 6 and 7, they're offering two workshops on the basic repair, maintenance, weatherization and repair of historic wood windows.

Volunteer instructors from the community will demonstrate how they worked on their own windows, preserved the character of their historic homes, and saved their pocketbooks!  Historic windows were made to be taken apart and repaired, and with basic guidance, anyone can make their windows work as they originally did - with ease of operation and weather tight – and beautiful!

We ran a short piece about these workshops and the woman behind them two years ago; again, much thanks to Janice Calpo not only for the heads-up, but more importantly for making Sacramentans aware of the benefits of our old homes' original windows!

Design Works Architecture, Pittsford New York

Design Works Architecture specializes in timber frame structures - resort buildings, grand mountain estates, big giant Craftsman palaces - as well as renovations of similar types of buildings. Given their location in woody upstate New York (just east of Rochester, near the Canada border) this is not surprising; there's a very strong Craftsman influence in the area, with the Roycrofters just down the road in East Aurora.

Principal Charles Smith started the firm just a few years ago, after a history of working with other architects in the New York City area; he started out specializing on the "adaptive re-use of under-utilized structures" and that and his interest in historic renovation paved the way for his current emphasis on the Craftsman style (take a look at the "boat house," a rather unassuming name for a big, beautiful structure, which won an AIA award in 2007). His staff - project managers, architects, interior designers and construction specialists - all seem to be just as dedicated to this site-specific aesthetic, and it really shows in their work.

We've created a Flickr set of images of those projects of theirs that fit most firmly within the Craftsman aesthetic - take a look.

Architectural Salvage VI

Given the seemingly endless popularity of the DIY movement, awareness of green practices and recycling as parts of the design/build process and the high cost of new materials, salvage businesses continue to thrive:

and in the UK, where architectural salvage is a way of life:

  • Cheshire Demolition "offers one of the biggest salvage and reclamation yards in the North West. They offer everything from reclaimed doors to fireplaces."
  • The Salvage Doctor specializes in the "reclamation and restoration of cast iron architectural salvage and antiques," and carries an extensive range of radiators (cast iron, school- / hospital- /column- style, etc.), fireplaces & surrounds, woodburning stoves, rainwater systems (guttering, downpipes & fittings), gates and railings. They are located in Horsham, West Sussex.
  • In Situ trade out of their Manchester ex-pub warehouse and studio. They keep a large stock of the usual - with attention to fancy pavers, lighting, glass, flooring, entryways and doors / door furniture.
  • Cox's Architectural Salvage has operated their 12,500 sq ft covered warehouse in Moreton-in-Marsh since 1992. They are one of the largest Victorian ironmongers in Britain, and also refinish and sell their own line of nickel plate and brass hardware.
  • Toby's Architectural Antiques has shops in Exeter and Newton Abbot. They carry a wide range of exterior detail - gates, ironmongery, roofing, slate, stone, water features - as well as kitchen materials, doors, light fixtures etc.
  • Park Royal Salvage at the Lower Place Wharf in London sells everything from building materials, doors, windows and reclaimed plumbing to doors, windows, fireplaces and other old house parts.
  • Robert Mills Architectural Antiques are one of the more specialized shops of their kind, with an especially large stock of architectural woodwork, mainly panels, columns, balustrades, mouldings and friezes, window frames, etc.

auction news, September 2007: Stickley desk for $214,500

20070911__084129image1 Andrea Valluzzo, over at Antiques & The Arts Online, has the full story:

Holbrook, MA: It's not every day a Stickley desk like this comes along.

On a recent house call to look at some collectibles, a cannonball, a gun and similar merchandise, Kelley Auctions' appraiser Michael Lynch spotted the circa 1904 desk with original ebonized black finish and rare Grecian urn inlay and asked the owner about consigning it.

The woman, who was selling some of her recently deceased parents' items to finance some needed car repairs, suggested he buy it outright for a few hundred dollars.

Instead, the specially made Stickley desk was consigned to auction and after weeks of presale advertising and building interest, it crossed the block on September 5, attaining $214,500, including premium. The desk, now one of six known examples to exist, was unknown prior to the auction. Each desk is numbered; this one is marked #3.

Arts & Crafts on Ebay: September 2007

Lots of A&C copper, furniture & various knick-knacks of interest to Arts & Crafts collectors and aficionados up on Ebay this week. I'm not including prices since I'm writing this on Monday and by the time it goes up on Tuesday morning, the current bids may all be a bit higher than they are now; I did try to select only what I thought were underpriced / good bargain items.

copper: Lots of copper, some nice and some crap. Ignore all the "I was told this was Roycroft but it's unmarked" claims (or this guy, who inexplicably includes the word "Roycroft" in the name of an Joseph Sankey copper pitcher) - they diligently marked all their pieces, and while some of these unmarked pieces are nice items, they are not Roycroft so don't be tricked into paying a premium for them. Same goes for the folks who list items as "Stickley era" or "possibly Gustav Stickley?" - they're just using the shotgun approach to get as many people to see the listing as possible, and while you can't fault their sales acumen, you certainly shouldn't give money to these ethically-challenged dealers. Here are some attractive pieces which seem to be sold honestly and without the tricks listed above:

furniture: Again, avoid the folks who have no idea what they're selling. If it seems too good to be true (a Stickley Bros. armchair for $100?), it probably is; there are many dozens of cases of unscrupulous dealers affixing labels or making fake marks on unsigned pieces to drive the price up, so be careful. The following pieces seem to be listed accurately and fairly:

lighting: You would be amazed (or maybe not) at the number of jerks who list their cheap made-in-China knockoffs as a "Dirk van Erp original." However, not all ebay sellers are ripoff artists:

architectural salvage & etc.

September Craigslist finds, west coast-centric

It's interesting how some communities really embrace Craigslist and use it regularly, and some areas hardly touch it. I've noticed that many of the midwest and southern states use it rarely - mostly only for employment and rental advertising, while even small cities on both coasts have extremely active Craigslist communities. So, just in case you were wondering why I give short schrift to certain parts of the country in these monthly reports, that's your answer. Meanwhile, today's crop:

  • library desk with shelves, interesting detail, excellent condition: $950, San Ramon CA
  • sideboard with good grain and unique round mirror: $365, Hollywood CA
  • Limbert dresser, good condition & nice hardware: $900, San Jose CA
  • armchair with high spindle back & leather seat, signed Stickley: $450, Santa Ana CA
  • partner desk with shelves and "tug-of-war" drawers: $650, Santa Cruz CA
  • pedestal / plant stand, attractive grain: $275, Portland OR
  • rocker, leather seat & nice wide slat back: $250, Salinas CA
  • rocker, slat back, with velvet seat and back: $40, Tacoma WA
  • library table & side chair with some interesting details: $150 for both, Templeton CA
  • armoire with interesting detail, mirror on door: $1850, Spokane WA
  • settle & armchair, Stickley, matching upholstery: $2500, Northridge CA
  • dining table and four spindle-backed sidechairs: $500, Molalla OR
  • piano bench designed after a 1910 Stickley design, very attractive: $450, Estacada OR
  • cabinet doors or entry door sidelights with pretty stained glass: $275, Seattle WA

Craftsman Kitchen Remodels III

Lieselongleft_3 Fourth in our series on kitchen remodels (and about the 25th article on the subject; previous episodes here), this time we're taking a look at Southern California. High-end kitchens from the area's best contractors, relatively inexpensive DIY projects and various steps in between:

  • La Jolla's IS Architecture remodeled this 1914 Craftsman bungalow; the project included "a complicated pier foundation and seismic retrofit." Check out the before & after pictures of the kitchen & bath. They are also responsible for this very pretty coastal Craftsman and its blindingly-white kitchen in La Jolla and a very pretty wood-grain kitchen in this Spanish Revival ranch house in Rancho Santa Fe.
  • Qualified Remodeler magazine's 2007 Chrysalis Awards - the 14th year these awards have been given to residential and commercial modelers across the country - include a number of great Southern California remodels. A lot of the remodels are pretty hideous, in my own opinion - cabinets that clash with the style of the house, ridiculous French and English country cottage motifs that are inconsistent with the house and neighborhood, things like that. I understand that designers have to do what owners want, but there's no reason to submit that kind of work for an award. It's not all overdone, glitzy and ridiculous, though; for example, the winner of the 2007 Best Whole House Remodel under $200,000 award, Moving Mountains Design in Pasadena, did a pretty good job.
  • Stefan Hammerschmidt remodeled his 1924 Venice bungalow, including a spare and functional kitchen. Check out the marble counters and the beautiful stove & giant range hood. Read more about it at the LA Times' great remodel-focused blog, Pardon Our Dust, by Kathy Price-Robinson. Another recent column looks at "the best-looking DIY kitchen (they've) seen yet." Now, why can't some big fancy magazine or newspaper hire me to blog for them?
  • PaysonDenney Architects' website is a bit difficult to navigate, but the kitchen they produced for another Venice home (scroll down for photos) - right on that community's Sherman Canal - is worth seeing. I only wish the photos were a bit bigger!
  • Nest Architecture built this "Rustic Canyon Retreat" for two Los Angeles clients; the kitchen, with its butcher block island and all-around windows, is bright & airy.

photo via Pardon Our Dust

Arts & Crafts Home: newsletter #68

Mark Golding - owner of Brighton's Arts & Crafts Home shop and aficionado of all things Arts & Crafts - released the 68th edition of his electronic newsletter this past weekend. As usual, the newsletter is jam-packed. In addition to ads for interesting new items at the shop itself, Mark's loaded the newsletter with a calendar of interesting events all over the UK & elsewhere - open houses, gallery shows, lectures, special events, and plenty more. Mark also includes many useful "trade secrets" for antique collectors in this issue.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Kentuck Knob (1954), Ohiopyle PA

This wonderful FLW property - built in the "deluxe" Usonian style on a beautiful 80-acre lot - is just a few miles from Fallingwater. Along with the extensive sculpture garden, it is open for public tours.

The House on Kentuck Knob was designed in 1954 and completed in 1956 for I. N. and Bernardine Hagan, friends of the Kaufmans, for whom Wright built Fallingwater. The home, build of tidewater cypress, glass and 800 tons of local sandstone - and a very striking copper roof - is situated in western Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands, and includes a gorgeous view of the Youghiogheny River gorge and the surrounding hills.

The Hagans lived in the house for 30 years, and sold it to Baron Peter Palumbo, an English developer, art collector and architecture conservationist, in 1986.

  • slideshow of images from Kentuck Knob and its sculpture garden, including a few of Fallingwater

Thanks to Douglas Sanders' wonderful Frank Lloyd Wright Newsblog for reminding us of this very pretty and unique home!