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September 2008
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November 2008

for sale: Long Beach Bungalow, $899800 wtf?

I get lots of entertainment from laughing at stupid people, but of course I know that are plenty of people laughing at my mistakes too. Helps to have a sense of humor.

The blogger behind Real Estate in the LBC gives me today's dose of humor, lambasting a seller or agent whose sense of economic reality is equal to our president - who last week famously said that our economy was "strong."

befores and afters (mostly kitchen remodels)

I've spent the last few days collecting URLs of interesting before/after remodel photography; here are the best of those I've found. I'll have more next week...

  • Abe & Vale transform an overgrown 1902 cottage into a pretty bungalow with a good use of a small side-yard
  • the authors (and owners) of The Dirty House have a nice before-and-after of a particularly messy paint-stripping project
  • the owners of this 1921 bungalow have documented almost every change to their home; most recently, they've done a bit of radical landscaping & paint the exterior
  • at A Victorian Farmhouse Reborn, the owners have been busy stripping paint to find some beautiful wood underneath (my least favorite thing to do right after removing wallpaper)
  • more stripping at Hobart House, with some really pretty Tudor-esque ceiling beams beneath
  • lights, fence, mailbox, fencing & more are going up at the Kensington Bungalow
  • Minor Adjustments makes many, and we all know they add up to a whole; here, before and after a new tile backsplash
  • new paint & refinished wood give this living room an all new look
  • the owners of Smithers & Oso's Old House have removed some hideous vinyl flooring and refinished the beautiful wood underneath
  • a kitchen gets a light, subtle facelift
  • some very funky cabinetry gets a makeover; the new stuff, though, is a bit too trendy for me; another similar kitchen simply paints the nasty old cabinets white, and while it's still a bit funky, it's still a huge improvement
  • a little bit of color and a change in hardware make a huge difference to this restored hutch & floor
  • 1960s Ranch chic is transformed into this pretty moderne kitchen
  • again, a little too faux-McMansion for me, but it's an undeniable improvement
  • knocking down the wall in this atomic Ranch makes a big difference
  • funky formica gets a modern makeover

Craftsman kitchen addition in Seattle

Peter Whiteley's article appear in the May 2007 issue of Sunset magazine; go there to read the entire article, and to see a photo gallery of the home in question:

Add a little, gain a lot. That's the lesson Monica and David Stephenson learned when they made a small addition to the cramped galley kitchen in their Seattle home.

Somewhere along the line, the kitchen had been poorly remodeled and "had no relationship to the rest of the house or backyard," Monica recalls. It simply didn't work for the bustle of daily life with 2-year-old daughter Sophia, infant daughter Annabel, and two big Akitas.

Although the couple yearned for an updated kitchen with more space, they wanted it to fit the style of their 1918 Craftsman bungalow. Also on their list: a breakfast area with a backyard view, a home office, storage space, and a more generous back porch where muddy boots and paws could be cleaned

for sale: bungalow on 1.5 acres in The Dalles, $275,000

Unfortunately, these architecture-ambivalent real estate agents are billing this attractive 1925 bungalow (on a 1.5 acre lot!) as a "developers (sic) dream." Save this 1,832 sq. ft. home from the wrecking ball (and The Dalles from hastily-built new development) for the bargain price of $275,000. Or maybe that just sounds like a bargain because the same house and lot would go for about a million dollars in midtown Sacramento...

Vintage Timber Gates in Woolton, Merseyside

Village Timber Gates is a relatively new firm building bespoke and stock gates and garage doors from sustainably-harvested Scandinavian redwood. Most of their designs are perfectly apropos for an Arts & Crafts home; ledge & brace gates like the Lincoln and Hampshire especially so. They've recently put up an extensive gallery of photographs - lots of neat products here, and even if you're not in the UK it's a great source of ideas.

historic windows workshop: October 25 & 26 in Sacramento CA


Sacramento's Sierra Curtis Neighborhood Association and the Sacramento Old City Assocation are offering two full-day workshops on the basic repair, maintenance, weatherization and restoration of historic windows in your home. A $20 fee will help defray costs and includes lunch; for more information or to register, go to or email the organizers.

Thanks to Janice Calpo for the photo of Beth demonstrating weather stripping!

hot on Craigslist today - October 15 2008

various bits and pieces from all over the US:

  • oak settle by Paul Varney at Black River Mission: $1200, Torrance CA
  • signed Limbert armchair: $200, Washington DC
  • Limbert china cabinet: $1200, Maui HI
  • signed Limbert table (w/ 5 extensions) & 5 chairs: $3500, Kirkland WA
  • contemporary Stickley dining set - table & 6 chairs: $7600, Denver CO
  • signed Stickley Bros. 36 inch round lamp table: $1600 or trade for vintage guitar, Daytona Beach FL
  • signed L&JG Stickley rocker: $145, Clovis CA
  • signed Gustav Stickley side or library table: $1500, Murray IA
  • signed L&JG Stickley 1-drawer library desk: $800, Nyack NY
  • signed Roycroft copper letter opener: $45, Yakima WA

17th annual Pasadena Craftsman weekend, October 17-19

Jenny Strauss at Style 1900 passes on this press release on the coming weekend's home tour in Pasadena:

Pasadena Heritage presents its 17th Annual Craftsman Weekend on October 17-19, 2008. The event is the largest and most comprehensive celebration of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Western United States.

The signature event of the Weekend is the Craftsman House Tour. This in-depth, drive-yourself tour allows guests the opportunity to experience the rich variety of Craftsman architecture that makes Pasadena a destination for Arts and Crafts enthusiasts from across the country. Experienced docents will provide detailed histories of each of the six featured homes while guests examine the natural materials, fine craftsmanship, and exquisite detailing that exemplify the Craftsman era.

On this year's tour, we are pleased to feature two homes designed by Sylvanus Marston, one of Pasadena's most prominent architects. Near the banks of the Arroyo, the Bishop House of 1911 beautifully demonstrates the heightened elegance of Marston's Craftsman designs, especially in its spacious wood-paneled living room. The home was commissioned by Maitland L. Bishop, who moved to Pasadena in 1909 to recover from tuberculosis and was famous as the city's oldest practicing lawyer at the age of eighty-seven.

Designed in 1912, the Marston-designed Lacey House in North Pasadena will also be open for visits this year. This low-slung bungalow beautifully harmonizes with its surroundings, and has been described as the "quintessential Arts & Crafts ideal". The home features a massive boulder foundation that was likely gathered from nearby Eaton Canyon. The interior includes a striking barrel-vaulted ceiling, a bird-motif Batchelder fireplace, a billiard room, and beautiful leaded glass built-ins.

The Clark House, a Pasadena Historic Landmark designed by Frederick Louis Roehrig, is celebrating its centenary this year. The house, which is located in the architecturally rich Madison Heights neighborhood, is designed with a Swiss Chalet influence, and features an unusual side entry. The beautiful interior is centered on a prominent brick fireplace with an inglenook likely inspired by Roehrig's travels in England. In honor of its anniversary, the home has received an Arts & Crafts appropriate kitchen remodel.

In celebration of the significant Greene & Greene anniversary and events of 2008, this year's tour will include two properties by the architects that have rarely been open to the public: the Edgar Camp House and the Wild Wood Cottages. The Camp House, a true mountain bungalow in Sierra Madre, was designed in 1904 by the Greene Brothers, with Henry Greene returning in the early 1920s to add a second story. The expansive, rustic living room of the home holds many similarities to that of the now demolished Bandini House from 1903, part of which will be recreated in the Greene & Greene exhibition at the Huntington.

Originally simple structures for a dairy farm, the cottages of Wild Wood were remodeled in the Craftsman style by Henry Greene in 1922-24, and were only discovered to be the work of the architect within the last ten years. These cabins have been described as "one of the most intriguing design projects undertaken by Henry in the early 1920s," and the secluded, idyllic property of Wild Wood also includes an unusual boulder amphitheatre that may also be the work of Greene. Join Pasadena's tour to learn more about the fascinating history of this special compound.

The Craftsman House Tour will take place on Sunday, October 19 from 9 am – 4 pm. Tickets for this event are $45 and include entrance to the Furnishings and Decorative Arts Show & Sale at the Masonic Temple on Saturday, October 18 from 9 am – 5 pm, and Sunday, October 19 from 10:00 am – 5:30 pm. For tickets and information please call Pasadena Heritage at 626-441-6333 or visit us online at

Arts & Crafts wallpaper today

Morris_wallpaperminor updates to this article, originally from Hewn & Hammered in 2004:

People often think of the interior of Arts & Crafts period homes as austere, minimilist spaces devoid of pattern. They envision tasteful rich woods and plain walls with only a jewel tone paint shade as a foil. There may have been some interiors like that, but the height of the Arts and Crafts movement coincided with the height of Victorian decorating. Rather than homes and design books of the period only embracing one or the other style, what often occurred was a blending of the two styles. One of the finest examples of graphic art to come out of this period were the many rich and detailed wallpaper designs.

When you think of Arts & Crafts designs it is the iconic images that often come to mind. From the famous Morris chrysanthemums, pomegranates, daisies and marigolds to Frank Lloyd Wright's hollyhocks and branch borders, these patterns from nature figure prominently in all manner of Arts & Crafts design. Morris was said to have considered wallpaper a 'medium of communication' and created over 144 distinctive textile designs that were reproduced in several different mediums such as textiles, wall coverings and carpets. Historically, the actual creation Arts and Crafts period wallpaper was a painstakingly difficult and involved process. Long sheets of paper were rolled out on great tables and dozens of artisans using a primitive silkscreening process layered on paint in highly detailed repetitive patterns. This made the wallpaper prohibitively expensive for the average decorator. But when you have a great room sometimes painting techniques and stencilwork just won't cut it; they just can't give that 'wow' factor - that's when it's time to look to wallpapers.

From a ceiling frieze to a feature wall to a room done completely in a bold pattern to mimic your favourite period estate, wallpapers is what you are looking for. But, where do you find them? Aren't they prohibitively expensive?

Not necessarily. The advent of laser printing techniques and computer-aided design have changed all of that, and as a result prices have come down so mere mortal restorers and decorators can work with the medium and get the same stunning effect. Currently, several companies are recreating these intricate designs.

A local favourite and one of the few A&C suppliers on the East Coast, J.R.. Burrows & Company and Burrows Studio of Rockland MA consider themselves historical design merchants. The Burrows Studio, a division of J.R. Burrows & Co., produces and recreates designs that are representative of the Aesthetic and the early Anglo-American Arts & Crafts movements. The wallpaper designs are mainly English in origin, as the English A&C movement was - and continues to be - highly influential in New England. There are graphic samples of the papers as well as a provenance and a detailed description of each style on their extensive website.

Heading out to the west coast one of the finer manufacturers is Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers. As recently as 2000, Bradbury and Bradbury began using computers to print their beautiful Arts & Crafts friezes, and they are gorgeous, lush, rich (okay, okay, I know - enough adjectives, but I can't help it!) full of color and bold, beautiful designs.  The site is unique in that designs are grouped by color theme. Choose an olive room and the site will show how to coordinate various Bradbury designs into a single cohesive look. You can view it all on the site or order a catalog to peruse with a good cup of tea in your Morris chair.

Last stop is way up north in Canada at Charles Rupert Designs Ltd., dedicated to supplying "splendid items for the traditional home and garden." Not only do they have all the paper patterns you have been dreaming of, but they have the fabrics to match. One of their great features is a complete wallpaper and fabric sample cutting service which will allow you to see what you envision before you commit. Everything they sell is top quality and they strive to use traditional natural materials wherever possible, shunning plastic, vinyl and other synthetics.

Thanks to Jo Horner of the always entertaining and often very touching Counting Sheep for this wonderful article!

Ford Craftsman Studios' beautiful WPA prints

Zion_poster_framed_600_tall We mentioned this earlier, but David Ford of Ford Craftsman Studios recently wrote to show us the new, redrawn & recolored WPA posters he's now selling. They're beautiful! Framed by Dard Hunter, they're beautiful pieces of art and a perfect complement to any historic bungalow. If your local Arts & Crafts home shop doesn't carry FCS items, let them know that they should! In addition to these posters, David's firm sells some beautiful Arts & Crafts embroidery items - they just bought a new commercial embroidery machine that has a larger embroider area than any other, and has customized it to handle the heavy thread, giant needles, and oversized satin stitches that are the signature of their work. They can now produce pillows and runners up to 22 inches wide.

Russ Billington: new prints & watercolors

8823b1d9_2 Our friend, artist Russ Billington, dropped us a line to note that some of his recent work can now be seen on the Saatchi Gallery website. Russ, a pen-and-ink Craftsman who draws his originals on 100% cotton Arches paper and paints with watercolors, sells his made-to-order originals through Ford Craftsman Studios (more on them later this week) and sells framed 5 x 7 prints through Fair Oak Workshops.

Russ' organic forms and flowing lines are a treat for anyone interested in the graphic art of the Arts & Crafts movement, and his precision and fine lettering are a testament to his past as a currency & certificate designer. It's exciting to know that at least one contemporary artist is doing this sort of work - much of what would have been right at home in an Art Deco gallery in 1920 Paris. I'm a huge fan of his and someday hope to have one of his pieces hanging in my own home.