by Jane Powell, author & Linda Svendsen, photographer
In BUNGALOW DETAILS: INTERIOR, author Jane Powell covers every nook & cranny of America’s favorite house.
“It is the great excellence of a writer to put into his book as much as his book will hold.” – Samuel Johnson
Written 2 years after BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home, this book, though less chunky is still described by Jane as “the longest I have ever written.” The book is crammed with information & text is tiny, but I still recommend giving it a good read. You can rest your eyes by looking at the soothing pictures & occasionally taking a ginger tea break. But, I assure you that after absorbing the contents of this book, you will be an expert, an authority, verily a master on the subject & will be able to amaze your friends with your knowledge. It will also teach you how to live in a bungalow.
As in KITCHENS & BATHROOMS, in every restoration facet she offers compromise solutions.
And, back to the book contents, Jane devotes a whole page to asbestos & strongly recommends testing. I second. Restoring old houses is not for sissies.
CHAPTER ONE: WHAT IS A BUNGALOW?
Here she defines is as a “Know one when you see one kind of things,” but goes on to define it as:
A bungalow is a one-or one-&-a-half story house of simple design& expressed structure, built from local or natural materials, with a low sloping roof, overhanging eaves, & a prominent porch, built during the Arts & Crafts period in America (approximately 1900-1930). But offers the disclaimer, that the definition is pretty broad & you just need to look at enough of them until you know.
Should you be desperate to know now, a check out preservation expert Jo-Anne Peck’s article WHAT THE HECK IS A BUNGALOW, ANYWAY, here.
CHAPTER TWO: ROOM TO MOVE
Here she discusses layout & tours us through the rooms of several bungalows, allowing us to see some classic bungalow features in several homes.
CHAPTER THREE: SHORT STORY
Yeah, it’s a pun. Jane’s talking about roofs & attics here including pests found in them. She also discusses insulation (or the lack thereof) & ventilation.
CHAPTER FOUR: CEILING GROOVY
You can’t see me. I am shaking my head. But I am somewhat (It’s a very small picture.) calmed by the image I see of the beautiful box beam ceilings in the living room of the Hare House, my 1920 Craftsman in L.A., on page 56.
Jane describes ceiling cracks, their causes & not surprisingly, recommends against covering them with gold-veined mirror tiles. My ceilings in the Hare House were coated with “popcorn.” Yes, even between the box beams in this room & in every other room in the house. It wasn’t terribly difficult to remove, in fact, after we had sprayed a chunky section of the back bedroom ceiling, the whole thing fell down. Whumph! The sound & the dust were like a nuclear explosion. All the popcorn, all the plaster, down to the lathe, it was on the floor in one piece. A cracked piece, for sure, but it was all there. Amazingly, nobody was standing under it.
She devotes a whole page to asbestos & strongly recommends testing. I second.
CHAPTER FIVE: WALL MART
Whoo, boy! This is a chunky chapter so I think I’ll just list what is covered in it, with little commentary.
Joinery & nails
Brick & stone
Paint types & colors
Paneling & trim
Wood stains & finishes
As always, the book is well-illustrated with beautiful examples of every topic & sub-topic. And, she ends with her sensible obsessive & compromise solutions
CHAPTER SIX: OPENING LINES
The chapter opens with Jane saying, “Bungalow designers did their best to open the houses to the outdoors with generous numbers of windows & doors. The interplay between indoors & out made even a small bungalow larger than it really was. There was also a belief that fresh air & sunshine would kill germs, prevent disease & promote good health.”
She gives us a brief window history lesson, including some information about glass.
The best part is her dissertation on why replacing wood windows is a travesty. She lays out 4 pages, in tiny type, enumerating all the lie$ that are told to encourage people to rip out their wonderful old windows & install, new, hideous ones that you can replace in 15 years when they fail because they cannot be repaired. In her OBSESSIVE/COMPROMISE section, she says that she refuses to compromise.
As I sit here writing, tears are dripping down my face, missing this funny, fierce woman. I have written so much about her, but it is in this section that her firey spirit truly shines. I can only pray that my little blog will help her message live on.
A blow & a sniff later & I’m ready to carry on. She gives complete instructions for repairing a wood window, suggesting tools & materials. Then she treats us to vintage ad images for windows parts & signs off with a section on window treatments.
I offer window suggestions in my own article, here.
CHAPTER SEVEN: ENTRY LEVEL
Not surprisingly, this chapter is about doors, types of doors, (interior & exterior) door construction, & door hardware-with the same great photos of beautiful door pulls & knobs & escutcheons. She has a number of cool, vintage ads, including one “For homes of refinement.”
As she says, “The front door was meant to impress,” I have been impressed by more than one front door. I have to admit that the door of the Hare House is my all-time favorite & I was very torn by my choice to build a screen door so that my children could look out onto the world but be protected. (Between the skunks & coyotes, Eagle Rock was not a safe place for kitties.) We found the most figured pieces of quartersaw oak that you could imagine & with my copper screening & pegged joints, I was happy!
She also devotes several pages to lighting, treating us to some terrific examples of Arts & Crafts pendants & sconces.
In her section, CAN DON’T, she is adamant about the inappropriateness of can lighting. Once again, I concur, especially because the lighting of the time is so charming!!
I hope that this wonderful image will help you recover from the last one of the windows, abandoned, like poor relations, under the tree.
CHAPTER EIGHT: HEARTH OF THE MATTER
According to Jane, “Fire fulfills a deep & primal role in the human psyche…” Why else would there be 110 videos on YouTube of crackling fireplaces?
Anyway, we see some amazing fireplaces here- clinker brick, 2-tone brick, river-roof, cast concrete, granite & Grueby & Batchelder tiles. Not surprisingly she spends 14 pages delving into the history & construction of the fireplace.
Next is the subject of built-ins & once more, we are treated to beautiful images of sideboards, nooks, Murphy beds & stairways, plus vintage hardware ads & illustrations.
CHAPTER NINE: SUPPORT GROUP
Jane wraps it up with a discussion of floors, subfloors & joists as well as rugs & vacuum cleaners to keep all the dirt sucked up. She talks about furnaces & heating systems & we see some ads for new fangled contraptions that will keep you toasty. She shows us some really cool old water heaters & waxes enthusiastic about fuse boxes & electrical receptacles.
Last Call is about telephones with her closing statement being, “Besides, a bungalow is the best house in the world.”
READ ABOUT ALL JANE’S BOOKS ON BUNGALOWS!
& last but surely not least
STAY IN THE BUNGALOW KNOW!!!
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