a bargain for telecommuters: $88800 in Temple, TX

Xl_13995_maryse5jpg This 1917 bungalow in Temple, Texas (about halfway between Dalls/Ft. Worth and Austin) includes the original hardwood throughout, a pretty front porch, an attractive upstairs loft and a decent-sized yard. at just under 1600 square feet (3 bedrooms & 2 baths), it's got more than enough room for a small family. Spoon fans should note that Temple is the home town of Britt Daniel, lead singer of America's best rock & roll band, as well as Rip Torn and a disproportionately large number of professional football players (probably due to the Temple Wildcats' excessive awesomeness).

$88,800 is a steal anywhere. If you can telecommute, and would enjoy living in a small town on the edge of a large military reservation in Texas, go for it. I'd do it if I could get a decent bowl of pho down there.

Sale at California Historical Design in Berkeley CA

Chd_by_mike_wade This coming weekend - Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20 - California Historical Design in Berkeley CA is having one of their annual 20% off sales. The shop is located at 2988 Adeline Street at Ashby; if coming north or south on I-80, simply exit at Ashby and go east to Adeline.

We specialize in vintage Stickley Mission Oak Arts & Crafts furniture, art pottery, copper and California paintings. We just got a collection of furniture and need to make room. Take 20% everything. Furniture by Gustav Stickley, L&JG Stickley, Stickley Brothers, Roycroft, Limbert, Lifetime, Shop of the Crafters, Harden, Michigan Chair Co, Globe-Wernicke and many others. Art pottery by Roseville, Weller, Gladding McBean, Catalina, Van Briggle, Clifton, Robertson, Jalan, California Faience, Peters & Reed, Stockton, Rookwood, Pacific, Marblehead, Bauer, Niloak & McCoy. Hammered metalwork by Roycroft, Dirk van Erp, Harry Dixon, Novick, Liberty & Co, Jauchens, Old Mission Kopperkraft, Ernest Burnley, Armin Hairenian, Benedict, Kalo, Randall, Mills & Burnley, The Copper Shop, Fred Brosi, Stickley Brothers, Nekrasoff, Craftsman Studios and Tiffany.

Thanks to Flickr user Mike Wade for the CC-licensed image.

Craftsman homes for sale - California edition

A quick & dirty rundown of older Craftsman homes for sale all over California. Some believe this is the perfect time to buy, and others think that this is just the beginning of a much longer depression and that prices will fall much further. Still, I like looking at the pretty pictures:

recommend your favorite Arts & Crafts shopping

Could you all do me a small favor and, in the comments below, list the shops you know of anywhere - in the US, Canada, the UK & elsewhere - that specialize in Arts & Crafts related items? I'm thinking of not only places like Ohmega in Berkeley, which sells both new and old shades, lighting, fixtures and hardware, but small furniture stores, art galleries that specialize in A&C tile and plein air painting, neighborhood antique dealers who have a good selection of A&C ceramics or wooden items. Bonus points if they are on the web.

update: reader Boe Miller offers us a list compiled over the past six months.

Rick Tauzer Craftsman armoire in Sacramento: $2000

86591013_img_0469 Rick Tauzer was Sacramento's best-kept secret for many years - a talented cabinetmaker and finish carpenter who built some of the prettiest custom furniture in town, and did gorgeous interior architecture for many years. He's retired to Oregon, but his pieces continue to grace some very pretty homes throughout our region.

Diane Ayers in Sacramento's Curtis Park neighborhood is selling her Tauzer piece, a very attractive tall and deep armoir modeled after a contemporary Stickley design. She won't ship it, but if you live near Sacramento and are looking for something like this, you certainly won't find a better deal; in my opinion, $2000 is a steal for such a nice-looking piece of furniture.

If you're interested, email Diane. If you'd like to see additional photos, she has some up here.

Stickley on Craigslist, March 10 2008

As usual, I've filtered out all the "Stickley era" labeled junk and other dishonest listings.

  • contemporary cherry dresser & armoire: $3000, Phoenix AZ
  • cherry blanket chest: $1600, Novato CA
  • eastern king size bed, slat head / footboards: $2600, Novato CA
  • signed armchair: $850, Orange County CA
  • another signed armchair, this one with leather seat: $550, Modesto CA
  • slat-sided settle, donated by Carnegie to McCloud Library: $7000, Redding CA
  • L&JG-signed daybed: $4950, Los Angeles CA
  • Prairie-style loveseat with shelf back/arms: $2000, Denver CO
  • 2x 1926 rattan-seat sidechairs: $175, Denver CO
  • contemporary cherry dining room set: $5000, Denver CO
  • contemporary blond oak dining room set with server: $7800, Denver CO
  • contemporary "Gus" style bow arm Morris chair, signed: $1400, Denver CO
  • tall spindle-sided plant stand or tabouret: $250, Denver CO
  • triple bookcase: $950, Denver CO
  • signed rocker, leather seat: $450, Denver CO
  • contemporary writing desk: $1075, Washington DC
  • queen bed, panel head/footboard: $1800, Washington DC
  • a whole passel of Harvey Ellis chairs, a sideboard & other items, all signed: $11000, Tampa FL
  • contemporary swivel rockers, one on a swivel mechanism: $350 each, Tampa FL
  • Stickley Bros. ladderback chair #481 1/2: $150, Minneapolis MN
  • spindle-sided swivel media / library cart / endtable: $400, Minneapolis MN
  • Quaint Furniture-labeled child's rocker: $250, Minneapolis MN
  • Stickley Bros. lamp table: $1199, Minneapolis MN
  • #89 / 86 tall grandfather clock: $4600, Minneapolis MN
  • contemporary coffee table with slate (?) top: $350, Minneapolis MN
  • cube design panel-sided Prairie armchair with shelf arms/back: $1400, Raleigh NC
  • contemporary bow-arm rocker: $1800, Reno NV
  • signed "Lady's rocker": $895, Reno NV
  • contemporary entertainment center: $500, Manhattan NY
  • 14x matching bookshelves: $600 each, $8400 for 14, Brooklyn NY
  • rocker with leather seat: $600, Manhattan NY
  • 2x contemporary barstools, leather seat & copper-covered footrest: $700 for two
  • contemporary Harvey Ellis design map table / storage coffee table: $1400, Philadelphia PA
  • leather-top footstool or small ottoman: $400, Philadelphia PA

for sale: Sacramento Tudor bungalow: $469,000

2312557911_15b5e15de0_b This very pretty and well-landscaped 2 bed / 1 ba Tudor is not far from my home in East Sacramento. Walking distance from McKinley Park and its very pretty library and community center, pond, tennis courts, sporting greens and picnic areas, the 1131 sq foot home (plus detached 1 car + workshop garage) includes a breakfast nook and formal dining, what look like original (and very well cared-for) tile counters, a pantry and some pretty built-ins, plus hardwood floors throughout. A modest and very attractive home in one of the area's nicest old neighborhoods.

We've got additional high-res images in this Flickr photo set.

for sale: Greene & Greene home in Pasadena, $1.875 million

2292086238_d1c61ff38a Last week, reader Russell McLaren dropped us a line with the interesting information: the Greene & Greene designed 1906 Caroline DeForest House, at 530 West California in Pasadena, is for sale. The house includes a number of really stunning features, in addition to some wonderful landscaping, a pretty wisteria-encrusted pergola, and a running brook (which includes a small waterfall and a koi pond)

The Hollywood Reporter, of all publications, recently ran a short article by Denise Abbott on this home, calling it Greene & Greene's "most obscure" property, as it has been owned by the same family for more than 80 years. Originally built for a Manhattan socialite in 1906 for only $8,000 - "roughly eight times the going rate" - it was soon sold to the Tabor family, who have taken good care of it, avoiding the remodel fever that has befallen thousands of other beautiful bungalows over the years. Abbott, who we are quite jealous of, obviously got to spend a bit of time there and writes that the original lighting fixtures are all intact and that the wood finish is pristine and undamaged throughout. Since the article appeared in October 2007, the price seems to have dropped from $2,295,000 to the current asking price of $1,870,000.

Kudos for the current owners for seeing their residency in the home as stewardship, rather than remodeling any of the beautiful design elements, and here's to hoping that its future owners feel the same way about this stunning property.

From one listing:

The Caroline DeForest House, by famed architects Greene and Greene (one of the) least-altered, privately-owned homes of its kind, boasts unpainted woodwork throughout. Incredibly preserved & updated impeccably with the utmost integrity. Designated for the Mills Act = huge annual tax savings. Includes original light fixtures, built-ins, massive fireplaces, Port Orford cedar, Tiffany glass, lush Japanese gardens + app. plans for a pool + an 866 sf basement remodel. A truly stunning & private masterpiece.

Peter Martocchio - a long-time Greene & Greene fan who has become one of the go-to agents for selling homes like this - has set up a website with extensive photographs of this beautiful home. We've taken those photographs and constructed a Flickr set for you where you can see the highest-resolution versions individually or as a slideshow.


for sale: Frank Lloyd Wright retreat, $3.75 million


A beautiful and fully-furnished 1958 Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian home on a  20-acre lakefront lot can be yours for $3,750,000. The price includes all the Wright-designed furnishings, the architect's drawings for three additional cottages that were initially planned to be built on the same site, and a very pretty twenty mostly-wooded acres.

Water comes from a well, electricity from the local municipal grid, and the 2 bed / 2 ba home - more a cottage in the Usonian style - is 1,875 square feet total. The listing includes many photographs of this unique home. With your generous donations, it could be the future home of Hewn & Hammered Publishing, Inc.

for sale: Portland, Oregon bungalow, $750,000

Picture This is an especially attractive bungalow, with exposed rafter ends, interesting architectural detail all over the inside and out, and plenty of other neat features. Built in 1914, this 3,800 square foot, 5 bedroom / 2.5 bath home is spread out over three levels and includes a 2 car garage; the lot looks to be at least partially landscaped and is about double the size of the house.

Andrew Baker at the Oregon Realty Co. has all the details.

foreclosure tours in Stockton, CA (via NPR)

A few weeks ago, Rachel Myrow reported on NPR's Morning Edition that a company is giving bus tours - called "Repo Home Tours" - of foreclosed homes in Stockton, California. The tours are operated by a realtor to show groups of ballsy buyers the kinds of values that can be had in the foreclosure capitol of the USA. One in 27 Stockton households, according to Realtytrac, is either in the process of being foreclosed upon or has already lost their primary residence.

Check out the short article and listen to the report here.

2 bed, 1* ba in St. Helena CA: $899,000

You too can own a pretty but very modest bungalow in California's wine country (map) for the bargain price of just under a million dollars. This 1,223 square foot brown shingle highwater has 2 bedrooms, one bathroom and sits on a 5,663 square foot lot. The gourmet kitchen is attractive, although the black cabinets are a little overdramatic and don't work all that well with the rest of the house. A full basement includes an (additional? not sure - the listing says only one bath, so maybe the primary is in the basement) bathroom, an office and a wine storage area.

stuff I like: glass shades from Berkeley's Ohmega Too


Ohmega Too - near the similarly-named Omega Salvage on San Pablo Avenue near the Berkeley / Oakland border - is a treasure-trove of houseparts. Doors, medicine cabinets, a constantly-changing stock of restored antique bath fixtures and plenty of new hardware, they've got it all. But what they're really known for is lighting. The sheer immensity of their collection of shades at almost any size you can imagine will be a delight to any owner of an historic home; I dare you to go and not buy something.

more library card catalogs & other storage - craigslist


I know people love these things. I do too ... I just don't have anywhere to fit more furniture in my house, especially not with the step tansu that I'd like to wedge into the living room somehow. Here are several I've found this week on Craigslists around the country:

west coast


east coast

  • petite tabletop 6-drawer card file in Ithaca NY: $50enormous, ex-built-in 19th-century dark wood
  • 72-drawer library card file near Boston MA: $1200
  • 14-drawer library card file (5x8 cards) with two missing drawers in Browns Mills NJ: $45

south & southwest

  • tabletop 2-drawer Remington Rand oak card file in Crawfordville FL: $80
  • wood and plastic 60-drawer & 3-shelf library card file in Jacksonville FL: $650
  • two large four-drawer wooden file cabinets from Library Bureau SoleMalers, early 20th century, near Orlando FL: $335 each
  • 15-drawer, 2-shelf tabletop library card file, includes table, near San Antonio TX: $200

for sale: restored Knoxville shingle bungalow, $289,000

Knoxville is a great town with some really terrific old neighborhoods, and for the most part, citizens who delight in historic preservation and are trying consistently to keep chains, strip-malls, big boxes and other detritus out of historic districts full of pretty old homes.

Knox Heritage is the most active of the city-wide architecture rejuvenation and conservation development companies, regularly buying old properties and cleaning them up for resale as part of their Vintage Homes Program. They also regularly offer neighborhood tours, raise money to preserve endangered properties and keep track of threatened structures throughout the region.

Metro Pulse, Knoxville's alt weekly, recently ran a note & listing for one such home that has to change hands due to an unfortunate job relocation - the owner, Amy Quimby (who knows old homes - she's an executive at Home & Garden Television) - is very sad to leave it, but she's got to move on to Denver.

The 2650 sq ft, 4 bed, 2.5 bath home - at 321 E. Oklahoma in Knoxville - is going for $289,000, and it's gorgeous inside and out.

last-minute gift shopping on Amazon

Picture_1 I prefer to buy all the holiday gifts for my friends and family from local businesses and craftspeople, but it's not always possible: many recipients live far away, or need something very specific. And sometimes the online price, even with shipping, is far less than it is anywhere else - and I am not, by any means, wealthy. So there's that whole needing to make the house payment thing. Should you have backed yourself into a corner and need a few quick fixes this holiday season, there's plenty - whether you're buying for a local friend, your spouse, or a faraway family member - on Amazon:



tools & fixtures


and finally, for those who are either completely nuts, ridiculously rich or have a 30-foot entryway to light:

Stickley on Craigslist: December 11, 2007

This is so much easier now that I can collect these listings automatically! As usual, I make no guarantees as to the authenticity of any of these items - be careful (and note that some items described as "Stickley era" or "Stickley style" do get through the filter - I try to remove them by hand but once in awhile leave the item in if I think it's nice enough or interesting):

gorgeous 1400 sq ft bungalow in Sacramento: $595k

3rd_front Yes, the price is obscene. But the house is gorgeous. Beautifull restored kitchen & bath, great (small) backyard, lots of light and in one of Sacramento's three nicest neighborhoods, this Curtis Park bungalow can be yours for just a bit over a half million dollars:

Beautifully restored shingle Craftsman on idyllic West Curtis Park street. A large lot with 3 car garage and alley access - this home has been meticulously restored. The period appropriate kitchen renovation is complete with handmade shaker style cabinetry with inset doors and solid wood construction. The ’50s era Wedgewood stove is also restored, and the rest of the appliances, including a Bosch dishwasher, are completely integrated into the design of the kitchen. Soapstone countertops, a full pantry, and plenty of open shelving throughout. A central vacuum system makes cleaning a breeze!

3 bedrooms, 1 bath, approx. 1460 square feet. Newly refinished hardwood floors throughout, along with a new 30 year composition roof, new copper plumbing, restored original windows, automatic irrigation, new HVAC, and more!! There is a partial basement which is great for storage. The 3 car garage is currently set up for a woodworking shop- the garage door is for a 2 car garage, but there's plenty of extra space inside!!

Many custom touches including master bedroom with built-in maple closet cabinetry and pull-out ironing board- sliding barn doors for the closet too!

Front and backyards are completely landscaped, there's even an outdoor kitchen! Cook and dine outside next to the gentle sound of the koi pond waterfall. Much, Much, More... Call for more details!!

tools for everyone!

I'm the first to admit that I am not the handiest handyman. However, maybe it's a gender thing, but I love tools. All kinds of tools, gadgets, anything that will enable me to accidentally do more damage to my house while attempting to switch out a light fixture or thermostat or something else equally simple.

As we all know, it's important to have the right tools for the job, and in the interests of making sure you all have the right tools (as well as a jillion useful knicknacks that will come in handy on a regular basis), I've added a tool section to our Amazon Astore, replete with a coupla dozen near little doohickeys that you had no idea you needed - but now must have.

So, should another equally disaster-prone handyman or handywoman in your home require that special holiday gift, look no further.

real estate listings: MLS to RSS

Rssfeedgraphicbig So, obviously I've become a bit addicted to Yahoo Pipes. This free tool lets you aggregate, organize, and filter data from an unlimited number of RSS feeds and databases and present it in almost any kind of electronic form you can imagine.

I've found a really good use for it, one which is - amazingly - missing from the vast majority of real estate listing sites. Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com and all the others: you are really letting the entire industry down by not having raw MLS data available as an RSS feed! I just could not believe that in an age when so many of us get our data on mobile devices and from feed readers that these firms wouldn't have easily-configurable custom RSS feeds of their listings, but sure enough they don't. Ziprealty is one of the very few to have such a useful feature, and more power to them for it.

Using Ziprealty's listings, house-for-sale posts on Craigslists in a dozen markets and a few other small sites here and there, I've created a Yahoo Pipe that includes only listings self-described as "Craftsman," "Mission," "Prairie," or "bungalow." Now, if I can only figure out how to include photos of each property...


If you are an agent, a broker or an MLS firm, please publish your data as a configurable / custom RSS feed. This way, searches that could take hours can be finished in just a minute or two, and users don't need to revisit the sites every single day - using a service like feedburner or one of the many rss-to-email services, we can be notified only when our search criteria pop up in a market we are interested in, in our price range.

And if you know of any listings services that do issue their data as an RSS feed, please share that info in the comments section below - I'd love to add them to the pipe. Also, let me know if you'd like me to include other cities' Craigslist posts, I can do that pretty easily.

If this tool is useful to you and if you think other folks might find it interesting, please digg it:

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:

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 buyhandmade.com:

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 etsy.com, 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!

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).

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.

Ebay roundup, October 2007, part 1

This month, there are more knicknacks than you can shake even the fanciest stick at over on the mother of all online auction sites. The following aren't necessarily excellent deals, but everything here is at least interesting.

As usual, I'm avoiding everything labeled misleadingly (i.e., "Roycroft era," "Stickley style," "maybe Stickley?," etc. ... I'll have plenty more up next week and the week after.

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


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.

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

Arts & Crafts on Ebay: August 2007

There are plenty of interesting pieces of A&C furniture and ceramics on Ebay right now - almost 50% more than I usually see up there, with some neat Roycroft pieces and pretty tiles too. Maybe people are cleaning out their own collections this summer, or trying to cover the costs of their rising mortgages by selling off family treasures (I hope not!). Here are some items closing soon that caught my eye:

Arts & Crafts ceramic tile on ebay

three tiles

I've been getting lots of emails asking for more links to interesting items for sale - on Craigslist, Ebay, at auction or wherever. So this week and next I'll be posting a lot more like this.

Today, pretty A&C tiles on Ebay - some in bulk, some in frames, some individually:

Stickley on Craigslist, August 2007

You know what I hate? People using terms like "Stickley-esque," "Stickley quality" or "Stickley-era" to describe furniture items on Craigslist, to try to get people searching specifically for Stickley items to see their listings. Of course, they also use "Limbert (maybe?)" and "Roycroft-ish" and other misleading terms. Why not simply call it what it is? If the piece is unsigned, just say "unsigned Arts & Crafts era antique rocker, Mission oak finish" - you still get all the search terms in there, lots of people will see it, and you'll sell your piece just as well without lying.

That said, after wading through two hundred misleading, incorrect or flat-out lying listings on Craigslist, here are some good deals on Stickley items, both antique and contemporary, all over the country:

  • contemporary Stickley entertainment center - $4000, Lakeport CA
  • similar item to above - $1200, Philadelphia PA
  • contemporary Stickley lamp & coffee tables - $500 / $600, Orange County CA
  • antique Stickley drop-front desk #729 - $2999, Santa Barbara CA
  • antique Stickley Bros. drop-front desk - $990, Pittsburgh PA
  • antique Stickley spindle-side/back loveseat or settle - $700, Brooklyn NY
  • two contemporary Stickley octagonal stained-glass lampshades - $125, Portland OR
  • contemporary Stickley "butterfly top" dining table - $1200, Portland OR
  • antique L & JG Stickley 4-drawer dresser - $800, Portland OR
  • contemporary Stickley bookcase etagere - $1000, Tucson AZ
  • contemporary Stickley buffet / glass-front china cabinet - $3500, Minneapolis MN
  • contemporary Stickley tile-topped endtable - $750, Minneapolis MN
  • contemporary Stickley coffee / cocktail table - $700, Minneapolis MN
  • contemporary Stickley Harvey Ellis-design rocker with inlay - $350, Asheville NC
  • antique red-label Stickley rocker - $450, Walden NY

Craigslist: Stickley, July 2007

Plenty of Stickley - some contemporary, some antique, and some needing a good amount of TLC - available on Craigslist this week. As always, be careful that you are buying the real deal and aren't being taken to the cleaner; unless you are confident in your ability to discern authenticity, stick with buying from a reputable dealer.

  • very pretty rocker with Nouveau inlay design; Rhode Island - $595
  • spindle-sided Morris chair; Palm Springs - $750
  • more spindle-sided Morris chairs, these with leather cushions; Los Angeles - $650 for two
  • Morris-style rocker; Niantic CT - $850
  • rocker & armchair, cushions need work; Palm Springs - $1500
  • #729 drop-front desk; Santa Barbara - $2999
  • slat-sided Morris-style recliner with custom southwestern upholstery; San Diego - $100
  • L & JG side chair, simple design, circa 1910. Seat needs reupholstering; Reno - $385
  • #818 server / sideboard; Portland OR - $950
  • Quaint Furniture rocker, needs refinish & arm repair; Seattle - $125
  • #89 / 91-224 spindle-sided love seat / small settle; Washington DC - $2000
  • red label (Stickley Handcraft) rocker, original  seat, needs cleaning; Hudson Valley area - $350
  • Stickley Bros. metal tagged armchair, slat back, sturdy; Richmond VA - $475
  • set of 4 ladder-back sidechairs, Fayetteville stamp; Long Island - $300
  • set of 4 wicker-seat sidechairs, need refinish, partially recaned; Brooklyn - $40 each, all for $150
  • contemporary Harvey Ellis series cherry, copper & maple dresser; Albany NY - $1500
  • red / gold Fayetteville (Stickley Bros.) label drop-front desk; Pittsburgh - $990

the 24/7 open house

Maureen Francis and Dmitry Koublitsky are real estate agents/brokers in Detroit who write regularly on local and national real estate-related topics. This article appeared on their blog last week:

I’m not the only agent who has observed that there are fewer and fewer agents visiting homes during our weekly board of Realtors tours. These tours, typically on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Oakland County, are designed to invite Realtors to come through the new listings. There could be lots of reasons that attendance is fizzling. Certainly listing inventory is high right now. And it is summer, so is everyone taking a break. I don’t think so.

But what can we do about the fall off in attendance?  Should we do anything?  The Birmingham Bloomfield Realtor Network has gone to truly elaborate ends since last November to coax agents in to our listings. Sponsors have given away lots of goodies, we served food, we’ve offered shopping. And the results have been good. But there is no way we could do this any more than once a month. It is too labor intensive, and if it were done more frequently people would stop showing up, because it would become ordinary.

another reason for old homes: the hidden costs of commuting

Reader Joel McDonald is a real estate agent in Boulder CO and wrote the following for Hewn & Hammered. Please note that this article's copyright belongs solely to its author, and may not be reproduced without his written consent. He makes good points: while many people lust after the big lots and imagined superiority of new construction (which we know is a myth 99% of the time) and imagined safety of the suburbs or the (also sometimes imaginary) superiority of schools, the increasing cost of fuel - something that won't decrease in price anytime soon - will often make exurban living much more expensive.

In my own community - Sacramento, California - the oldest neighborhoods inside the city limits are Curtis, McKinley and Land Parks. They are also the most desirable. I doubt anyone, no matter how stunted their aesthetic taste, could argue that new tract homes in even the ritziest suburban neighborhoods hold a candle to the beautiful and sturdily-constructed Craftsman, Tudor and Mission Revival masterpieces of the urban core.

If you're not careful, you'll spend more in gas than what you save in mortgage payment.

One of the most common decisions we see buyers make is to buy 10 or 20 miles from the town they plan on working in because the price of homes in that area is 10% or 20% less out that way.  Boulder real estate company owner Joel McDonald points out that the biggest factor homeowners don't take into consideration is what their own time is actually worth, the wear and tear on their car, and of course, the cost of gas (which ain't cheap these days).  That's not to say that buying a home in a less expensive area that isn't in town isn't a good idea, but more often than not, it's not saving as much money as you might have initially thought.

Let's say you're contemplating buying a $450,000 home in-town, vs buying an otherwise similar home for $400,000. Let's also say the $400,000 home is 18 miles from the town you plan on working in 5 days a week.  That $50K in savings might be attractive to you because if you take out a loan for the difference, you're looking at a monthly savings of between $320 and $370 a month.  The key in making the best decision, however, isn't whether or not you're saving a few hundred bucks a month on your mortgage payment -- it's how much you're spending every month by commuting into town.

Let's say your car gets 20 miles a gallon.  At $3 a gallon, you're looking at about $6 a day to drive into town.  Every mile you drive on your car typically represents about 20 cents in wear & tear.  (Those oil changes, new tires & every mile put on your car depreciate your car's value, and those expenses are usually more than the cost of gasoline!)  36 miles round-trip times twenty cents is another $7.20 a day in expenses.

Last, but definitely not least, you've got the most expensive part of the equation to weigh: your time.  If you have a $40,000 job, your "on the clock" time is worth $20 an hour.  Believe it or not, your "off time" is twice as valuable as your "billable time".  If you don't buy into that logic, think about how valuable vacation time is to you, or think what you'd pay on Monday morning if you could just have a third day off.  Your "billable rate", by the way, assumes a 40-hour work week.  The more hours you work per week, the more valuable your off-time is, so $40 per hour could even be underestimating what your time is actually worth.  For the sake of this argument, however, let's just say that if you earn $40,000 per year, your time is worth $30 an hour.  By living 18 miles from work, you are spending an average of 4 extra hours per week commuting!  That's $120 per week (or $24 per day.)

When you add all 3 variables up, and consider that you commute to work an average of 22 times a month, let's see what you're spending to make that commute:

  • $6 in gas 22 times a month is $132
  • $7 in wear & tear 22 times a month is $154
  • $24 in lost time 22 times per month is $528!
  • Add it all up, and your 18 mile drive is going to cost you $814 a month!

Even if you don't value your off-time at $30 an hour, or you enjoy that drive time because you get to listen to a good book-on tape, you're still looking at $286 in car expenses every month.  Next time you find yourself grappling with the issue of whether to buy in town vs. commuting into town for a less expensive home, be sure to not to ignore the extra expenses you'll be picking up in trade for what you save in monthly mortgage payment.  Your "more expensive" home could be several hundred dollars a month LESS expensive, when you factor in all of your peripheral expenses.

This article was contributed by Automated Homefinder - your Boulder CO real estate experts.


Stickley on Craigslist, June 2007

A few choice bits of Stickley from around the country:

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.

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

nice table, super cheap!

31tz7rfe0fl_ss400_ I don't want to turn H&H into something especially commercial, and the ads that are here are necessary to pay for our hosting and other such stuff. However, I saw this on one of those "all the deals on Amazon" sites and thought folks here might find it useful or interesting.

This table, while not spectacularly beautiful, looks sturdy and is certainly fantastically cheap. $20! Looks like it's going out of stock, so there might not be many available, but if you need something like this, you won't find a better deal, that's for sure.