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December 2007

Stickley on Craigslist part 2 - and more

I got over a dozen emails from those of you who found our Stickley-on-Craigslist aggregator (a page that lists all the Stickley items for sale in 15 major American cities' Craigslists, filtered for those that include photographs), so I not only wanted to remind those of you who may be shopping for a major holiday gift for your Craftsman furniture loving spouse, but also to introduce something new...

I've made variants of the same pipe for a few other search terms. Remember to bookmark this page, as these aggregators will always show the most recent entries for these terms, whether you check them today or next year:

And remember, if you use Firefox or Safari (now available for Windows, too!) or another browser that lets you use live bookmarks, you can simply drag the rss feed right into your menu bar - or add it to your favorite newsreader or start page.

Also, while I was playing around with Yahoo Pipes, I created a news aggregator - similar to Google News, but this one not only pulls in news stories, it also illustrates them with new and hopefully related photographs from Flickr:

this month's ebay finds

Plenty of interesting furniture, metalwork, glass & more on Ebay this month, with more than the usual number of small gift items available:

fine furniture on

Speaking of buying handmade gifts this holiday season, I took a quick look at, a site which lets all sorts of craftspeople market their wares easily, and found that plenty of talented woodworkers are selling some really nice furniture:

buy handmade this holiday season

There are plenty of reasons to buy only handmade gifts this holiday season, chief among them that handmade objects have more soul & personality than even the finest machine-made mass-produced goods. Of course, there are also environmental and social reasons: money stays in the craftperson's community, and doesn't (as often) go into the coffers of WalTargetMartEtc. or another international conglomerate that cares not at all about its customers or the quality of the products it sells. From

Buying Handmade makes for better gift-giving.

The giver of a handmade gift has avoided the parking lots and long lines of the big chain stores in favor of something more meaningful. If the giver has purchased the gift, s/he feels the satisfaction of supporting an artist or crafter directly. The recipient of the handmade gift receives something that is one-of-a-kind, and made with care and attention that can be seen and touched. It is the result of skill and craftsmanship that is absent in the world of large-scale manufacturing.

Buying handmade is better for people.

The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left us dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. We are encouraged to be consumers, not producers, of our own culture. Our ties to the local and human sources of our goods have been lost. Buying handmade helps us reconnect.

Buying handmade is better for the environment.

The accumulating environmental effects of mass production are a major cause of global warming and the poisoning of our air, water and soil. Every item you make or purchase from a small-scale independent artist or crafter strikes a small blow to the forces of mass production.

There are plenty of ways to do this. Visit one of the many hundreds of folks selling their wares on, for instance, or your local artists' guild, or contact a local community or technical college and find out who your neighborhood's cabinetmakers and furniture carpenters are. Either way, down with plastic and up with real gifts!

Jay Curtis: "ArtGlass & Metal" in the Arts & Crafts tradition

Jaycurtisglassclose Jay Curtis is a craftsman specializing in etched glass and metal, and his techniques include "water-jet cutting, hand painting, airbrushing, leading, beveling and glue-chipping." His work ranges from the whimsical to the elegant, and much of it is very strongly influenced by the floral designs of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

One recent line of products includes etched "special occasion" bowls, available for sale through the website.

Photos of Jay's more Arts & Crafts-influenced work are up in our art glass album on Flickr.

finding arts & crafts in unexpected places

One thing we talk about regularly is finding Arts & Crafts vernacular in what can only be called unexpected places. Sometimes the use might be inappropriate but still well-executed; sometimes neither. Reader Jean Emery wrote to tell us about her own experience at finding Spanish Colonial architecture in the last place you'd expect - upstate New York:

This is a visual response to the post about transplanting or recreating the arts and crafts vernacular. I hope this picture comes through. I'm a fourth generation San Diegan transplanted to upstate New York and I've always taken a great interest in a group of about twenty or so Spanish colonial homes built in Albany, probably in the 1920s or so. They're so California!  But, as you can see, they haven't fared very well here. I would love to buy one, but they generally are in pretty poor shape, have been terribly re-muddled. The stucco doesn't take well to repeated freezing and thawing, and the original windows weren't at all energy efficient so have been replaced with ugly double-panes.

Also, the new Stickley arts and crafts reproductions are big here in town because we're near the manufacturer in Syracuse, but they just don't have the soul and the patina of the originals. And American Bungalow has recently had some vulgar, expensive houses with customized woodwork run amuck!

I'm not really sure what the moral of all this is. I do love these bits of Mediterrean architecture plunked down in the snow belt!

Jean notes that one such home - 17 Rosemont Street in Albany (pics) - is for sale at an asking price of $178,900.

Thanks for sharing these, Jean. We do love to see this kind of thing, so if other readers have pictures to share, please do send them in!

Mission Hills Development in Northern California

Missionhillsrosenhouse "Mission Hills Development builds finer homes that are based on the Arts and Crafts movement from the early 1900's. Featured architects are Henry and Charles Greene of Pasadena, CA., circa 1900 to 1920."

These are indeed "finer" homes - finer, by far, than most of the new development I see, and at first glace at least look to be far better designed and constructed than even the chicest McMansion.

Sebastopol, CA - "the World in upheaval" is the site of Mission Hills Development's current project. Situated on 5 acres in a valley between rolling hills, this 6200 square foot house is part Gamble House and part Blacker House. Build with the same detail as these two famous Greene & Greene homes in Southern California, it encompasses five different hardwoods for its central hallways and grand rooms.

remodeling causes stress - oh, really?

This is certainly old news to anyone who has attempted, completed or is mired in the middle of a home remodel - especially if it's your own house, and certainly if you are attempting to live there through the project:

There’s no doubt that a remodeling, addition or new construction job brings stress to the homeowners. Just ask me. Last spring we added a new upstairs bedroom and a downstairs entryway and mudroom, losing our attic space, emptying our garage and losing a bay in the process. Where to put the stuff and how to find it again were just two of the stresses encountered. We chose to hire a project manager, so hiring of all the subs was his problem, but we stressed and sweated over every decision. In fact, most veterans of a remodeling project will tell you that the two key qualities you need to survive a home project are the ability to make decisions and spend money — fast.

read the whole thing at

minimizing mold in your home

Dean Dowd runs a blog devoted solely to remodeling issues at Calfinder is probably the only one of a class of sites - those that purport to find you a handyman, contractor or skilled craftsperson near you for a particular project - that actually work well, due to the extensive screening process & database that they are continually updating and finessing.

Thanks to Dean for having one of his staff write this article - specifically for Hewn & Hammered - on identifying, treating and preventing housemold mold:

Whether you are planning a bathroom remodel or have just completed one, it’s important to remember that the work doesn’t stop there. Because even the most spotless home contains some degree of mold, homeowners must stay vigilant at recognizing the signs of excessive mold growth. Mold is a substance that creeps up on old and new homes alike. When mold begins to multiply indoors, the outcome can affect your health as well as the health of your home. This includes damage to building materials, household goods, and furniture. Breathing mold in or coming into physical contact with mold can result in various health symptoms, including allergies, asthma, infection, irritation, and even toxic effects.

What is mold?

Recognizing mold begins with an understanding of what the substance is and where it comes from. Mold is a type of fungus that floats in the air and rests upon surfaces. There is no way to avoid mold altogether, as small particles of mold are found everywhere in indoor and outdoor air.

Molds thrive in areas with high moisture and humidity, such as neighborhoods in fog banks or in specific rooms of the house, such as the basement or shower. Moisture can result in a variety of ways, from faulty pipes or building leaks to poor ventilation and regular use of a humidifier. Mold spores spread via water particles and act like seeds in search of the right conditions to spread.

To grow and multiply, mold needs 3 things:

  • moisture for growth
  • space for growth
  • nutrients for growth, such as wood or sheetrock

When should you worry?

Now that you know the basic character of mold, what should you do about it? If you can easily see and smell your mold, you may have an issue that needs fixing. Mold stains look fuzzy, cottony, or leathery and can appear in various colors. Since it normally appears where there’s moisture, check for mold in areas exposed to water. Mold has a pungent musty smell. The good news is that visible indoor mold can usually be cleaned off hard surfaces.

Some forms of mold produce chemicals called mycotoxins. These can result in more serious health effects. Sampling the air for mold cannot be done visually and would require professional testing.

What should I do about it?

Simply cleaning mold as soon as it appears can prevent it from becoming a problem. Check for mold between bathroom tiles and even in the folds of your shower curtain. Wear rubber gloves and goggles and use a regular cleaning detergent or commercial mold remover to wash it off. Afterwards, throw away the rag or sponge you used to do the clean-up and dry the area thoroughly. Wet surfaces in the home should be dried completely within 24 hrs.

Prevention is an important precaution to take to keep the nasty mold spores away. Some simple ways to prevent mold include the following:

  • regularly open windows to ventilate the house
  • immediately clean small and large spills
  • maintain a 30-60 percent humidity level
  • avoid carpeting in basements and carpets
  • add mold inhibitors to paint
  • replace carpets or other water-absorbent materials after soaking
  • quickly investigate and address underlying problems, such as leaks

If you’re worried about having a mold variety with mycotoxins, hire a professional to extract a sample and test it for dangerous substances. Attempting this alone can increase your risk of exposure.

Want more information? Here are some helpful links about mold:

Creative Commons-licensed photo courtesy of Flickr user Angelo Juan Ramos

The Sun Valley Seasons: Greene & Greene-ish in Idaho

181042_500 The "Sun Valley Seasons" (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter) are four luxurious 4,000+ sq ft single-family homes designed by Ruscitto / Latham / Blanton and built by Intermountain Construction on three lots in Sun Valley, Idaho. What makes them interesting is the level of detail - they were designed and built to resembled Greene & Greene homes, and the gabling, roofline, and much of the interior architectural woodwork is certainly in that vein.

I can't speak to the quality of the homes - I haven't visited them or seen construction pictures - and I sometimes feel a little odd looking at new construction that is so self-consciously "antiqued," in that it's made to look very similar to a particular designer's work in a particular era. However, you can see that at the very least the designers and builders certainly had a thing for the Greenes.

The people who staged the homes and did some of the finishing, though, included a few items that are completely incongruous in such a home - an ornate chandelier and other light fixtures, for instance, that owe more to Louis XIV than the Arts & Crafts movement; white beadboard in the kitchen; fake-paneled appliances, and a fountain that looks like something out of a Berkeley hippie commune. Overall, though, the level of detail is certainly impressive.

Stickley says "relax"

In the venn diagram of life, there is a small intersection between Frankie Goes to Hollywood Fans and aficionados of Craftsman design. This shirt is for those people - or, really, anyone who likes to sit in a comfy chair. Also, please let me know if you'd like to see it in other colors (the artwork, the text or the shirt) - I can indeed accommodate you. The shirts are quite affordable and are now available from my new Bountee store, and other designs are coming (and I'm always looking for suggestions, too).

Charles Rohlfs chair rescued from garbage, sells for $198,000

1009pow_rolhfs_2 Nina West writes at

A rare Arts & Crafts chair made by Charles Rolhfs and rescued from the trash made auction history last week. Expected to fetch around $30,000, it sold for the record price of $198,000.

Pulled from the neighbor's trash, the chair was given an insurance value of $25,000 by Sam Cottone, president of Cottone Auctions, outside of Rochester, N.Y., 10 or 15 years ago. The auctioneer's advice to the owner was to take good care of it, since its value would appreciate significantly over time. The owner, living in a trailer home, decided earlier this year that it was time to sell the chair.

Cottone advertised the chair with the low estimate of $30,000 to $50,000 in hopes of creating good auction buzz. The battle for the chair among 10 phone bidders and multiple floor bidders was won by a Washington, D.C., antiques dealer. It is unclear if he purchased the chair on behalf of a private client or for his own store inventory.

read the full article at

Yahoo Pipes + Craigslist = SSS (simple Stickley searches) RSS

Some of you may be familiar with RSS ("really simple syndication") - a way to publish "feeds" of regularly-changing information. Using Yahoo's Pipes application, I've just made an RSS feed of Craigslist searches - in this case, 15 Craigslist city sites are searched for the term "Stickley," and those without images are filtered out. You may view the feed here - I hope it's useful. In the future, I'll build a full page of such searches, an Arts & Crafts furniture-for-sale aggregator for most American cities.