General Advice and Frequently Asked Questions
Get acquainted with the interior of an Arts and Crafts Style homewith these photographs from a 1915 Bungalow magazine.
Is My House A&C Style?
Q: We have a brick bungalow built in 1931 that we were led to believe was an A&C house. Were there any A&C-style houses built after 1920?
A: Is your house Arts and Crafts? Technically, no. Is it of Arts and Crafts influence? Definitely, yes. The Bungalow is a style that transcended the A&C Movement. It got its start here in America during the A&C Period, but its simplicity and practicality made it quite popular through the 1920's and '30s. In the 1940's the Bungalow was replaced with a modern Frank Lloyd Wright version -- the Ranch style house. The Bungalow was one of the most popular styles for the many companies that specialized in "kit" or mail-order houses (including Sears Robuck, Alladin and others) during the 1920's. Keep in mind that the real rise of America's middle class happened during the Arts and Crafts period (1895-1920), and expanded exponentially after World War I. The Bungalow was a popular choice for the millions of new middle class homeowners -- extending into the 1930's. But its roots are most definitely in the Arts and Crafts Period, even if the interior details may have been modified to suit the tastes of the time.
Q: What is a kit house? And are they any good?
A: In case you're not familiar with kit homes, here's a little background. Beginning in the late-teens, the demand for affordable housing exploded. To serve the growing demand for single family suburban homes, national companies such as Sears and Alladin Homes as well as many local builders began to market their own kit homes to a population hungry for a piece of the American dream.
Basically, you'd order a kit home book from a vendor, say Sears, pick a style you liked, added extras like interior trim, plumbing and accessories, total the bill and ordered it. A truck would deliver all of the lumber, brick, shingles, etc. to your empty lot and you'd build the house (or have someone build it for you). Kit houses were inexpensive and very popular and many companies sprang up to serve the marketplace. The trend lasted for about 10 years, when a great many homes were built across the U.S., which is why you can find identical styles in so many parts of the country. Lots of bungalows, Craftsman colonials and revival styles. The kit home market survived into the 1950's with another influx in demand after WWII. Modern sub-divisions use the same idea with a builder offering several customizable styles within a plan.
Q: I am building my own bungalow and want to incorporate elements from Frank Lloyd Wright and Greene & Greene. Where can I find full-sized drawings?
A: Sue Steeneken of Felhandler, Steeneken and Wilk, Architects, says that, generally, the only way to get copies of the original architectural drawings is in reduced form in a monograph on Greene & Greene. These could then be photographically enlarged in order to use them. The originals are mostly in institutional hands such as university libraries.
As for Lloyd Wright drawings, apart from those in the hands of design museum collections (Cooper Hewitt in NYC, for example), his architectural studios at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ has an abundance. I'm not sure if copies are available, but the studio gift shops have a plethora of Wright drawings in poster size as well as illustrated books. No actual blueprints, however. Look up Taliesin on the Web for more info and phone numbers.
Q: Would you have any suggestions for how someone could obtain detailed shop drawings of Stickley furniture? I am interested in building my own furniture but need detailed drawings, preferrably of pieces found in the current Stickley furniture catalog.
A: You're in luck! Blueprint books on original Stickley furniture abound. Try these books found by doing a search for Stickley furniture at www.amazon.com Making Authentic Craftsman Furniture : Instructions and Plans for 62 Projects by Gustav Stickley(Editor) (Published in 1986) Arts and Crafts Woodworking Projects : 11 New Designs in the Stickley Tradition by Robert E. Belke (Published in 1998) Early L. & J.G. Stickley Furniture : From Onondaga Shops to Handcraft by L. Stickley, et al (Published in 1992) http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/104-6128497-4104712