Previous month:
November 2008
Next month:
January 2009

Holiday Greetings & a short hiatus; Russ Billington coloring page

I will soon be taking a few days off to fly to Korea to bring back my adopted daughter, Olivia Mi-Yeon, so you will see a bit of a blank here for a few days. I will be having a very exciting holiday break, and I hope yours will also be happy & warm.

For your own children and those who are children at heart, our friend Russ Billington offers a letter to santa / coloring page. The artwork was originally created by Will Bradley in 1899 as cover art (in full color) for St. Nicholas magazine.

Voysey clocks & more

from our friend Christopher Vickers:

Following on from the CFA Voysey Clocks postings here last August [Voysey clocks; Chris Vickers & Voysey], readers may be interested in Christopher Vickers new page featuring many of the period Voysey clocks still known to exist.

Chris would be very interested to receive further information / images of Voysey clocks, or really anything at all designed by Voysey!

contest: let's see your holiday-decorated home & win a gift card!

Heather Ferguson writes:

I love seeing old homes decorated for Christmas. This year Schoolhouse Electric Co is sponsoring a contest on Enter a photo of your home decorated for the holidays for a chance to win a Schoolhouse Electric Co. light fixture and shade. Second prize is a $75 Home Depot gift card, third prize is a $50 Home Depot gift card. Contest runs from today to December 24th. Enter a photo of your home for a chance to win!

Sacramento home of the day


There's a movement afoot against stucco bungalows - folks advocating stripping the stucco and reshingling homes like this one. Personally, I like this style; it's a symbol of how the popularity Mission Revival grew, eventually subsuming the shingled bungalow styles that take their popularity from England and the Eastern US. This house might have been shingled, once, but I'd bet that it was first stuccoed sometime in the 1930s, when the craze for Latin American-inspired homes reached a high point.

Sacramento home of the day


This recently painted Mission Revival home is in Curtis Park, one of Sacramento's several Arts & Crafts neighborhoods near the city center. I like the decidedly modern paintjob, and the low wall enclosing the front porch area - a signature feature of many similar homes - and the mostly-native (and certainly thematic) landscaping are perfect.

Sacramento home of the day


We're still in the Fabulous Forties here, with a pretty and well-maintained home that's a bit more Spanish Revival than Mission. The roof, with two layers of tile, looks original to the home - one more reason why a tile roof, while expensive to install, might end up being a great investment.

Sacramento home of the day


Here's a good example of why I'm not calling this "bungalow of the day." This Tudor revival home in Sacramento's Fabulous Forties neighborhood is pretty representative of the several dozen homes in that style and that area, with gothic front doors, a mix of rough-hewn timbers, brickwork, and some Spanish roof tiling here and there. The leaded windows and other Storybook touches are the details that I enjoy most.

Sacramento home of the day


I wanted to get a bit closer but the dog was a bit barky and didn't want me on the sidewalk. I like the nice wide porch here, and the stone around the porch, which matches the base of the chimney. I wish I had a porch like that!

Sacramento home of the day


The sun was starting to set, so Gaela and I had to hurry to catch a few more before it got too dark; this pretty midtown highwater was one of a whole block of newly-painted homes, most of which were built in the early 1920s. Two of them - to be posted later - were actually new homes built to duplicate the design of the homes originally on the lot, which were unfortunately not salvageable.

Gustav Stickley library table, from the Metropolitan Museum collection


Library table, ca. 1906
Gustav Stickley (American, 1858–1942); Craftsman Workshops
Syracuse, New York
Oak, leather; H. 30 in. (76.2 cm), Diam. 55 in. (139.7 cm)
Gift of Cyril Farny, in memory of his wife, Phyllis Holt Farny, 1976 (1976.389.1)

Inspired by William Morris, Gustav Stickley founded The United Crafts (later known as Craftsman Workshops) in 1898. Stickley was greatly influenced by Ruskin and Morris, his travels to Europe, and important contemporary journals such as The Studio and Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration. Initially managing the firm as a guild, Stickley participated in profit-sharing with his employees, but as the operation grew, regular factory standards were implemented. The Craftsman line was introduced to the public in 1900. This hexagonal library table is made of oak with a leather top ostensibly adhered by overt circular tacks, and utilizes visible joinery with tenon-and-key joints. Illustrated in the November 1902 issue of The Craftsman, the Arts and Crafts periodical published by Gustav Stickley between 1901 and 1916, the hexagonal library table became a popular item in Stickley's sales inventory.

Sacramento home of the day


I've written about this home before - it was a firehouse, originally, and one of Sacramento's most talented housebuilders / contractors converted it and lives here today. I like that he mixes some modern features - the slate walls, a more contemporary roof, minimal landscaping - with the dentil moulding, traditional fixtures and other design aspects influenced by the original design. It's a perfect fit for its neighborhood, and it eye-catching without being too flashy.

Check out the fireplug in the front yard - a nice little in-joke toward its original incarnation. If it's actually hooked up to a water main, that's a great way to lower your home insurance bill, too!

Sacramento home of the day


This pretty paintjob adorns a nice wide bungalow in Curtis Park, a neighborhood where many of the bungalows are a bit lower as this part of town isn't flood plain like much of midtown. I really like the mix of brown shingle, salmon paint, and two-tone trim.

Sacramento home of the day


I love this house. It's colorful without being garish, the little featured - beam ends, trapezoidal columns, the shingle, the old brick (which looks like someone who cared stripped a layer of paint off it), the big porch. It's gorgeous.

handmade house number tiles

My wife recently gave me a beautiful house number plaque from Ravenstone tiles in their very nice Ginkgo design. It looks terrific mounted on our stucco home, and I definitely recommend them. In fact, all of Ravenstone's stuff is especially pretty, and they're very much dedicated to the Arts & Crafts movement - much of their new stock is influenced either by pre-Raphaelite / English A&C or the Japanese / US Craftsman aesthetic.

Another company making similar tiles, although a bit more regular and without the charming softness / handmade quality of the Ravenstone pieces, is Rocheford Handmade Tile in Minneapolis. Their Craftsman line includes not only numbers in several type styles, but a bunch of nice odds & ends that make great trim or borders for the numbers. I don't think they offer custom pieces the way Ravenstone does, but if you want a more regular, angular look, you might want to check them out.

Sacramento home of the day


For the most part, this is a perfect Midtown bungalow - love the clinker brick chimney & the paint job. However, unfortunately the front is partially ruined by two things: the unsightly mass of sprinkler controls at the right of the stairway, and the totally inconsistent and historically wrong front door. Still, though, it's a very pretty house that's obviously been well cared for and loved.

truly amazing tool chests

2bb8f2cbe6443920cab9f8f8890e1361ori Oobject, which presents short photo essays of interesting collections of objects, recently put up this terrific selection of toolboxes. Certainly my favorite is number 1, organ and piano maker Henry O. Studley's amazing hand-crafted toolbox (pictured), which is as much a piece of art as a box for storing tools in (many of the tools look to be custom made as well). That particular item is now in private hands but is loaned to the Smithsonian from time to time for special exhibits.

Other highlights include a 1949 machinist's chest and the sublime Wohn Geist woodworker's toolchest.

Sacramento home of the day


This pretty Midtown highwater - a typical design in a downtown built on reclaimed flood plain - was cleaned up, partially reshingled & painted recently, and is adorned with a number of drought-resistant plants, many of them native.

Sacramento home of the day


the paint job, for the most part, isn't as inspired as some of its neighbors, and the landscaping is a bit pedestrian, but the design of the home is beautiful, and the addition works reasonably well with the rest of the house - and I just really liked that red door!

library card catalogs for sale on Craigslist & elsewhere, part 3

I'm not sure if it's the amount of knickknacks we tend to accrue these days or just an innate interest in the grid, but whatever the reason is, folks really seem to like old wooden library card catalogs. I've seen them repurposed for storing everything from digital media to art objects to painting supplies and even small books. One collector of postcards used a large unit to house his more than 10,000 historic postcards, all organized by topic and cross-referenced by year of printing! I'm sure Baudrillard would find something amusingly meta in using a device that once held references to other objects to hold the objects themselves.

In 2007, I combed Craigslist and a few other vendors for these items of furniture and I did the same earlier this year; consider this part 3 in an ongoing series.

  • you can pay a premium for provenance, if you wish; this card catalog supposedly comes from Yale University, and costs about four times what a similar card catalog from any university might cost (with the exception of the architecturally significant one listed next): $1300 / New Haven CT
  • enormous, almost sculptural / architectural 312-drawer double-sided catalog, circa 1910, from UC Berkeley; includes brass fittings and multiple pull-out shelves & corner pillars designed to match those at the Doe library, "works well as a room divider" - for a big enoug room, no doubt, and makes the Yale model above look like a bargain: $5000 / Berkeley CA
  • three oak catalogs, in a 1950s design: $offers / Middlebury CT
  • two somewhat similar 15-drawer cabinets: $65 ea / Omaha NB
  • vintage Globe Mfg cabinet, 24 extra-large drawers: $600 / Raleigh NC
  • possibly "library style" chest: $190 / Charlotte NC
  • attractive & enormous 84-drawer catalog with pull-out tables/drawer-rests: $155 / Crozet VA
  • overpriced but big well-used large oak ex-school card catalog: $499 / Austin TX
  • interesting vertical file (or are they stacked?) with extra legs, tops & case: $350 / Schertz TX
  • single 15-drawer catalog section with platic handles, some broken: $25 / St. Louis MO
  • pretty and well-maintained maple catalog with pull-out tables & shiny brass fittings circa 1972: $650 / Springfield MO
  • vertical 4-(large) drawer catalog: $125 / Wichita KS
  • 30-drawer catalog with pull-out table: $200 / Chicago IL
  • mid-century / modern design 24-drawer cabinet: $100 / Colorado Springs CO
  • 12-drawer catalog with brass fittings: $60 / Portland OR
  • big 60-drawer oak catalog with brass fittings: $400 / Stockton CA

Sacramento home of the day


This large walled compound is one of the stars of Sacramento's "Fabulous Forties" neighborhood (so named for the fact that 38th through 49th Streets, between J and Folsom, have some of the prettiest large homes in the area).

the Dishmaster: gateway to a 1948 kitchen

Reader Pam Kueber emailed us about a new faucet design she's selling. While the era is just a bit past what most Hewn & Hammered readers might be looking for, it's still a very neat product. The circa late 1940s Dishmaster comes in several models, and has spawned an entire fan site.

What is Dishmaster Living? Slow down. Cook up a storm. Make a happy mess in your kitchen – then have some more fun cleaning up. Yes – the Dishmaster's circa-1948 faucet makes washing the dishes fun via the "Push Button Dishwashing" action of the special aerator brush wand – which dispenses soapy sudsy water and rinses clean, too. Feel good about use of precious resources as well: The Dishmaster conserves water, energy and detergent. And, it's Made in America, by a small company right in Indiana. If you need a new-old kitchen faucet – I hope you will consider buying a Dishmaster from Pam of Read more at or at her special new site,

Sacramento home of the day


My trusty sidekick Gaela and I spent Saturday afternoon driving through Midtown, the Fabulous Forties, Poverty Ridge and Curtis Park, and took enough photos to run one a day for the next few weeks. I hope you enjoy them.