Here you stand, in your new, empty house. Perhaps you were fortunate to buy a house that needed little restoration, or perhaps you’ve been working for months to rescue it from a tragic combination of remuddling & neglect. And now the paint is dry, the floors are gleaming & the windows slide up & down.

Either way, it’s a blank slate. How do you even begin to fill it, making these echoing spaces a welcoming, rejuvenating home that serves your needs & pleases your eye?

The choices can seem overwhelming so where do you start?


A bungalow interiorThis your house- your retreat, your communication & above all, it must serve your needs well. So, your first task is to determine your own needs.

Most of my friends are very house proud- artists, interior designers, architects, bent on creating magazine-worthy homes & have the skills to accomplish this.

However, one of the most beautiful Arts & Crafts houses I have ever seen was the spacious home of a large family. Built in the early teens by a man who owned a lumberyard, it was a glorious display of woods from all over the world. Every room was clad in a  complementary mixture of species of the American forest- oak, maple, walnut, cherry, Douglas fir, redwood, chestnut.

A magnificent staircase of a multitude of woods greeted you upon entry.

Throughout the house there were softly gleaming floors, wainscoting, box beam ceilings, wide window & door trim, box beam ceilings.

Truly one of the finest houses I had ever had the pleasure to view, it was regarded by the homeowner simply as a home in which to rear her family. The perfect setting for the most collectable Arts & Crafts furniture, textiles & lighting, it resembled a daycare rather than the A&C showplace it could have been because that was the ambiance that best served this child-centered family.


Your first step is to determine your own needs & the needs of your family. These needs can be complex. Fortunately the layouts of bungalows, with their distinct, separate private & public spaces, can accommodate these needs. Some things you should consider are:

  1. If you have children, how can they have space to be kids & learn to handle their bodies without destroying the environment?
  2. How can your home comfort & recharge you? Is your greatest joy found in being in the kitchen preparing gourmet meals? Do you draw inspiration from being surrounded by beautiful objects? Is your house mostly a closet or a sports storage facility that you visit only to sleep & prepare for your next adventure?
  3. What furniture & accessories will come with you? Do you like them? Which are your favorites?
  4. What is your budget? Buying a house & moving are expensive & restoration costs can be high. You will probably need to create your interior over time so you need to decide on your priorities.
  5. Will you move room by room? Will you hit the basics & embellish later?
  6. What are your skills? Are you handy with a saw, a hammer, a paintbrush? Do you have a natural aptitude for learning these skills? Are you willing to learn?
  7. What are your physical capabilities?
  8. How much time do you have to devote to the creation of your home? How much attention?
  9. Who will help & support you? Who will oppose you & how will you deal with that?
  10. What are your favorite colors? Color theory will be discussed later, but I always suggest that you start with what you love.

The above exercise in designing your bungalow’s interior spaces may take you 10 minutes to do or it may take you 10 hours, but, looking into your own heart before making decisions is the best way to protect that heart.

After you have answered these questions, read my article on Jane Powell’s book, BUNGALOW DETAILS: INTERIOR. I highly recommend that you read this book because it will guide & inspire you.

Part 2 in this series will cover some basic design points as applied to the bungalow, taking you from the general to the specific. As we move along, I’ll link to other articles to read to embellish the information. Let’s make your home beautiful!


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by Jane Powell, author & Linda Svendsen, photographer

BUNGALOW-DETAILS:-INTERIOR-by-Jane-PowellIn 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.


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.


Here she discusses layout & tours us through the rooms of several bungalows, allowing us to see some classic bungalow features in several homes.


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.


Box-beam-ceilings-in-a-bungalowYou 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.


Whoo, boy! This is a chunky chapter so I think I’ll just list what is covered in it, with little commentary.

Joinery & nails

Balloon framing

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


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.

Bungalow-wood-windowsThe 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.


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.


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.


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.”






& last but surely not least

Morris flowerLINOLEUM


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bungalow-window-traements-carftsman-houseA cautionary bungalow window treatments tale.

Once Upon a Time, the Hare House was on the market. I had just finished the bathroom, glad to have a few more weeks in which to enjoy it, kicking myself for not having done it sooner so I would have had a few years.

I spent a day bustling about, getting everything perfect, (including planting a border of annuals, wearing a headlamp, from 10 PM to midnight.) Jane Powell & Linda Svendsen were coming to visit & photograph the house for the book, BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home.   During the shoot, I had flung various pieces of furniture, window coverings & décor all around again to comply with Linda’s suggestions. And then, one more exhausted fling for the staging of the open house the next day.

This was, of course, during our neighborhood association’s Home Tour preparation, the grueling last month of pulling together all the loose ends that liked to spring up. Whee-ee-ee!

Soon after the open house we were under contract, but still taking offers. The FOR SALE sign was still outside & the flier box was almost daily restocked with fliers telling the story of Reverend & Grace Hare. This beautiful home, on which I had lavished such care, drew people from all over Los Angeles. Over 100 people had attended the open house, many staying for hours, & Realtors brought long parades of buyers.

Then the packing began. I was beyond exhausted. One afternoon I could do nothing more. I peeled off my sweaty clothes & hit the cool sheets of my brass bed. But was the front door secured? I got up & staggered out to make a quick check on the lock of my beautiful door with its lovely, un-curtained, leaded glass window. A couple, flier in hand, stood at the end of my walkway, peering right at me. I dropped to the floor, hoping that they would believe that I was but a Rubenesque apparition.


I am writing this as one who prizes old wood windows, loves the various lite patterns of the period & is transported by looking at the world through old, wavy glass. This is about window treatments for old windows that enhances them rather than hiding them.

Well, we already know one re-e-e-eally good reason to cover windows, but there are several others. Different types of window treatments allow you to regulate the amount of light shining into each room, & also to change the light throughout the course of the day. Layered treatments can diffuse light or block it altogether as well as providing some bit of R value.

The textiles of the Arts & Crafts Movement are exquisite. Utilizing natural materials, such as cotton & linen, as well as ornamentation-embroidery, applique & stenciling- inspired by nature, window coverings enhance your interior as well as softening the angular bulk of much Craftsman furniture. Gustav agrees.



The-CraftsmanStickley brought Arts & Crafts over from England & I’m going to say, evolved it into a truly American  aesthetic which suited our more casual lifestyle. Here are some direct quotes from Gustav Stickley’s publication, The Craftsman, regarding textiles in general, with specific references to window coverings.

“At first it was very difficult to find just the right kind of fabric to harmonize with the Craftsman furniture and metal work. It was not so much a question of color, although of course a great deal of the effect depended upon perfect color harmony, as it was a question of the texture and character of the fabric.”

He discarded delicate materials & searched for fabrics- “that possessed sturdiness and durability; that were made of materials that possessed a certain rugged and straightforward character of fiber, weave and texture… not be coarse or crude… “

He decreed the appropriateness of “certain fabrics that harmonize as completely as leather with the general Craftsman scheme. These are mostly woven of flax left in the natural color or given some one of the nature hues. There are also certain roughly- woven, dull-finished silks well as linen, …and for window curtains we use nets and crepes (crinkled texture giving a wrinkled appearance) of the same general character.”


bungalow-pillowStickley goes on to state, “A material that we use more than almost any other for portieres, (curtain dividing rooms which helped conserve heat) pillows, chair cushions, — indeed in all places were stout wearing quality and a certain pleasant unobtrusiveness are required — is a canvas woven of loosely twisted threads of jute (a very long plant fiber that feels coarse and rough, and is very strong) and flax (a plant, the stem of which is used for making thread, rope, and cloth, and its seeds are used for making linseed oil) and dyed in the piece, — a method which gives an unevenness in color that amounts almost to a two-toned effect because of the way in which the different threads take the dye.

This unevenness is increased by the roughness of the texture, which is not unlike that of a firmly woven burlap. The colors of the canvas are delightful. For example, there are three tones of wood brown — one almost exactly the color of old weather-beaten oak, another that shows a sunny yellowish tone; and a third that comes close to a dark russet. The greens are the foliage hues, — one dark and brownish like rusty pine needles, another a deep leaf-green; the third an intense green like damp grass in the shade; and a fourth a very gray-green with a bluish tinge like the eucalyptus leaf. Our usual method of decorating this canvas is the application of some bold and simple design in which the solid parts are of linen applique in some contrasting shade and the connecting lines are done in heavy outline stitch or couching; (a technique in which stitches are used to tack down a piece of thread, yarn, etc. to create a unique look and texture. The material being couched doesn’t penetrate the fabric but sits on top of it.) with linen floss (a slightly glossy, 6-strand thread that is a loosely twisted.)

The article about the colors of the Arts & Crafts Movement might help you make some choices too.

We get a further color clues when, speaking of dyed sheepskin, Stickley says, “…we finished in all the subtle shades of brown, biscuit, yellow, gray, green, and fawn…”


“Simplicity is characteristic of all the Craftsman needlework, which is bold and plain to a degree. We use applique in a great many forms, especially for large pieces such as portiere, couch covers, pillows and the larger table covers. For scarfs, window curtains and table furnishings of all kinds we are apt to use the simple darning stitch, as this gives a delightful sparkle to any mass of color.”

“The whole scheme demands a more robust sort of beauty, — something that primarily exists from use and that fulfills every requirement. The charm that it possesses arises from the completeness with which it answers all these demands and the honesty which allows its natural quality to show.”

Pretty much textbook A&C design theory. Not surprising since Stickley wrote the book!


stickley-bungalow-window-treatmentAny Victorian house worth admiring has lace curtains, but lace was used in windows long before Queen Victoria’s reign. They provide privacy as well as admitting light & can be woven into a myriad of patterns from fussy to the more substantial patterns of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

This is the modern interpretation of Gustav Stickley’s version of lace. It certainly follows the lines of his furnishings, being very geometric & extremely simple in design. Made of an open weave, light cotton, I’m thinking that this is what Stickley is speaking of when he mentions the use of net as a material.

Sears catalogues & other advertising materials show only the froofy lace patterns that one would associate with Victoriana. And I have to say that I am not opposed to this type of lace in a bedroom. Not everyone purchased new furniture for the bungalows. My bedroom in the Hare House had a chunky brass bed & Victorian furnuture with simple lines. Reverand Hare had a reputation for helping congregations pay off their church building mortgages in full- quite a celebratory occasion topped off by the burning of the note. So I’m thinking that it was more his nature to make do with the old rather than to buy new for the private areas.

But wait! There’s more!

For the Hare House, I chose a rather obscure A&C lace. Having been built by a professional man, the leaded glass built-ins, the box beams & the wainscoting seemed to want something formal & I decided early on that I would go in the direction of the more ornate English A&C, rather than the simple, casual American Craftsman style. Truth be told, I have been an Anglophile since my teen years- Twiggy, Carnaby Street, the Beatles- & I had a huge crush on William Morris.

So, for my living room, I chose C.F.A. Voysey’s The Stag, first produced in Scotland in the early 1900’s. I loved the Hare House. We were soul mates. But of all the bits & pieces that made up the house, I think that I loved these curtains the very most.


I think that rather than continuing on, I’ll send you on to Part 2 which is a list of resources for window coverings-curtains, roller shades, valences, café curtains- & period window hardware. They should all be good choices for you. I also have over 100 window treatment images on my Pinterest page so you can see the work of these very skillful fabric artists & others.


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bungalow-window-coveringsThe subject of bungalow window coverings & the resources where they can be found is much debated, but is actually pretty simple. Nobody wants to cover their beautiful window moldings, but blocking the sun is generally desired & blocking passing eyeballs is highly recommended!

Jane Powell used to joke that the Revival has lo-o-ong out-lasted the original Arts & Crafts Movement. Well, yeah, but it has brought us some amazing craftspeople & I must admit that my favorites are those working in textiles. In the right hands, a bit of fabric, a snip of thread or a bit of paint can create astonishing window art.

Textile art is something that you can learn to do yourself. When I was a hippy, way back in the early 70’s, I loved to embroider, learning from books & the artistry of my friends. You can tote your work around with you & no one ever seemed to mind that I’d pick it up mid-conversation. (Of course, we were pretty mellow those days.)

I have included here textile artists, all well-known for their work, who offer window treatments. They also offer complimentary items such as pillows, table runners & upholstery covers. Of course it is not mandatory to have adornment on your curtains because the beautiful fabric & even the lovely hem work will enhance any room in which you use them.

Several of these artists offer stencil & embroidery patterns, & I’ll be including links to others who deal in only those goods, so if you want to create your own embellishment, you can do so. I would love to see what you make, so please send me images of your homes with your lovely new blinds!!

Hardware is also a tricky issue so I have included harware sources below. I’m a bit of a hardware addict, & when I needed to replace some of the hardware in the Hare House, I formed a friendship with my hardware specialist & 20 years & 3 houses years later, we get together when she visits her sister in St. Pete. We can spend hours on the phone talking hardware & I have been nagging her to write a book on doorknobs.


 MeltonAnn Wallace For Prairie Textiles/melton Workroom
Ann carries a full line of custom made window treatments-curtains, Roman shades, roller shades- in a variety of appropriate fabrics. She offers either stenciling or embroidery & will help you to choose the best combinations. She has a lovely collection of embroidery choices to best complement your home.

If you want to stencil your own designs, she has the stencils, brushes & the paints. I have always lovely thistles- even once named a kitty Thistle!  And, she has all the hardware that you would need to install your wonderful new window treatments. She’ll also make you pillows, runners & bedspreads to match or complement!

Arts & Crafts Period Textiles
From The Workshop Of Diane Ayers
In addition to her custom, hand-made wares, Diane features antique textiles also which combine beautifully with newly made pieces & can serve as great inspiration. She also carries antique books about the Arts & Crafts period, most on the topic of design.

Diane’s website takes you step-by-step through planning your order, being with lifestyle requirements. She continues with fabric descriptions & choices, embellishment offerings & discusses the need for lining. You can also purchase beautiful & appropriate fabric from her to make your own curtains.

She has some great information & clear illustrations to demonstrate mounting choices & shows mounting hardware in her catalogue.

From The Studio Of Natalie Richards
Natalie is a Roycroft Renaissance Artisan. This designation is awarded only to those who demonstrate high quality hand-craftsmanship, excellence in design, continuing artistic growth & originality of expression.

On her site, she provides an explanation of the different curtain types/choices that exist. She also describes many fabric types. It’s a good, basic lesson.

Natalie offers curtains in a great assortment of fabrics with a number of finishes. She also has embroidered & stenciled pillows & embroidered table runners as well as kits for these items. In addition, you can purchase fabric from her as well as  embroidery supplies.

Morris & Co.Morris-&-Co
This British company recreates William Morris’ designs in beautiful fabric, wallpaper & paint, in lush colors to complement a more formal home. When I chose fabric for the Hare house, I was not aware of this resource. I liked the fabric I chose, but I would have been much happier with the patterns I saw in my books about Morris.

Unfortunately, their products cannot be purchased online, so you’ll need to use their search feature to locate a retailer near you. Howver, what could be bad about visiting these lush colors & patterns?

Morris’ designs represent the philosophical & aesthetic inspiration for your bungalow. Even if they are not appropriate in your more casual, American Craftsman home, they are an important part of its history with their interpretations being expressed in every feature.

bungalow-window-coverings-resource-cooper-laceCooper Lace
Cooper Lace offers 100% cotton, Scottish-woven sheers & sidelights in a variety of Arts & Crafts patterns. My favorite, of course, because it enhanced the windows of the Hare House, is their Voysey, The Stag, but there are several others which would complement your bungalow, giving you varying degrees of light penetration & privacy. The image is of the Ginkgo Leaf, a revered & oft-repeated image in the Movement.


Alameda Shade Shopbungalow-window-coverings-resource-alameda-shades
Pull-down blinds are what you want to have in your bedroom. They can be used alone, with a valence, behind lace or other open-weave fabrics.

While there are a great number of Victorians on their site, they do offer a plain hem with a ring pull, in cotton. (Just waiting for you to add your own flair with a custom, stenciled design!) Their room darkening, fire retardant, washable blind is offered in 3 neutral tones. Each blind is custom made to your specifications. They even offer laminations, using your own fabric and which they apply to their blackout fabrics.

If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, they can offer you more choices in their gallery.

bungalow-window-coverings-resource-Zwick-shade-shopZwick Window Shade Company
Founded in 1930, Zwick is in its third generation as a family business, manufacturing handmade custom shades in their Chicago workshop.

Each shade is made to your exact specifications. They’ll re-cycle your old rollers to use them for your new shades & give you a discount! From their Build Your Custom Window Shade feature, you can choose the mundane details such as measurements & also the more entertaining ones such as fabric, trim & pulls. And, they include mounting hardware.

There are many books available that provide stencil patterns & ideas for patterns should you choose to create your own, as well as vendors that feature ready-cut ones.

bungalow-window-coverings-resource-trimbelle-riverTrimbelle River Studio & Design
Vintage stenciling from the Arts & Crafts Movement
Trimbelle River is a complete resource for stencils. They provide a large & beautiful variety of designs- floral, geometric, very large, as well as supplies such as brushes.
These wonderful folks have partnered with Northeast Contemporary Services, Inc. a group of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities & promote their stenciled items. You can sign up to be notified for their sales via Trimbelle River’s website.


bungalow-window-coverings-resource-Rejuvanation-hardwareRejuvenation Hardware
Rejuvenation offers single mounting sets & also rings in several finishes. They also have metal tiebacks that you can mount to hold back your curtains. These are handy because you’re not going to want to use ornate fabric tie-backs on the simple window dressings.


Historic Houseparts
This vendor offers- well-everything! In addition to my vintage appliance addiction, I am mesmerized by old hardware & promise you will get lost in this site. That’s why I sent you directly to the curtain hardware section. I’m trying to help.

They carry single & double mounts, rods & a beautiful assortment of glass tie-backs.

I have many textile images on my Pinterest page so you can see the work of these very skillful fabric artists & others.


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by Dennis Prieur (usually known as Hubby) & Carol Goodwin, of the Goodwin Heart Pine Company

Goodwin Heart PineHeart pine floors in bungalows is one of the most appreciated features of our charming homes here in the South, where they are deservedly revered. They gleam a warm welcome as you come in the door, bringing an element of the natural world into the built environment. But what is “heart pine?”

Carol Goodwin of Goodwin Company has been working with heart pine since 1976. They pride themselves with being an eco-friendly company, rescuing logs or using only wood that has been sustainably harvested throughout the Southeast.

Goodwin Heart Pine is famous for its recovery & milling of pine logs from the bottoms of the rivers on which they were floated to the mills over 100 years ago. If you should need extensive patching of your floor, or wish to add an area, they can provide the material for you that will match the existing.wood in your house. This is a terrific video about how they recover the logs.

Carol is a lover and student of history and a supporter of historic preservation. One of my favorite projects of theirs was an adaptive re-use of a barn built in the 1930’s for which they provided over 2,000 square feet of reclaimed wood.


Pine forestThe “heart” of the pine tree is the solid, inside core of the tree. It contains no sap, the watery fluid that circulates through the tree, carrying nutrients to the leaves and various tissues. Heartwood is wood that has died with age. As the tree grows, more heartwood is formed. The heartwood becomes more resistant to decay and termites as a result of genetically programmed chemical changes in the wood, causing the clogging of the nutrient tubes with resin and pitch. If you were to cut a cross section of a tree, you would see heartwood as a darker colored circle, usually following the annual rings in shape.

True heart pine floors in your bungalow are only from the long leaf pine, also known as long needle, long straw, southern yellow, hard, pitch, heart pine and Georgia pine, among other names. The natural range of longleaf pine extends from southeastern Virginia to east Texas in a belt approximately 150 miles wide adjacent to the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It dips as far south as central Florida and widens northward into west central Georgia and east central Alabama. This type of pine is called “heart” because when it reaches maturity the tree is mostly heartwood, taking 200 years for a tree to become 2/3 heartwood.

Long leaf heart pine contains almost twice the resin content of other types of pine and has much higher structural strength. It was used for the tall masts of sailing ships and was referred to as “The Kings Pine” when this country was owned by England.


Clear-cut-heart-pine-forestHeart pine is generally considered to be timber from first generation trees, trees that were standing when the first settlers landed in this country in the 1600s. Many of these trees had been standing for over 300 years! There were approximately 80,000,000 acres of these trees. This wood was the primary building material for our bungalows and factories here in the South and was shipped to the Northeast and Europe as well. It was abundant, hard, straight, and long and its timbers offered excellent resistance to decay.

The economy of the Southeast centered on the export of longleaf pine products.  After the Revolutionary War, intense cutting of the virgin longleaf pine timber began on the Atlantic seaboard and moved inland, then southward, increasing with the development of the railroad system in the late 1800’s.

By 1930 virtually all of the virgin longleaf pine forest succumbed to overcutting. Less than 1,000 acres of virgin timber remains today, with the longleaf pine ecosystem covering less than 3.3 million acres, a greater than 96% loss. The pine forests of the South have been cut several times over and this newly harvested wood exhibits very few of the qualities that made heart pine the wood of choice up until the early 20th century.

Read more about old growth forests here.


The heart pine floors of our bungalows are a mix of pine heart and sap woods. The heart is a deeper red in color, with the sapwood being lighter. Some of the boards are a mix of these two woods producing a stripy effect.

Sadly, some of our bungalow heart pine floors have been chewed by termites, and are at the ends of their lives. However, many have generations of usefulness left in them with some patching (think spare wood in closets, or a quick call to Carol!) and a gentle refinishing. We happen to think that they look beautiful when showing the patina of age, like any other precious antique. When possible, we prefer just to re-coat them with a new layer of finish which protects the wood from wear. A well maintained floor can be enjoyed for at least another 100 years!


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Newborn kittensMy cat, named after an anime sumo wrestler character in honor of the Asian influence of the Arts & Crafts Movement on the bungalow & his chunk-ster legs (the largest kitten in his litter) – my little Bukhai Thunder, AKA Bukhai Bunny-Bear, came to me as a fluffy, trembling ball. He was from a litter of 8. He & his littermates & mama had been rescued from a dumpster. Same old story- full of fleas & starving. Mama was an elegant & proud mother but the kittens had developed poorly nourished & were having a rough time.

I found him in a store-front shelter in the bungalow neighborhood of Eagle Rock where a sainted woman paid some huge amount of rent to display cats for adoption, which she cared for on her ranch. She bundled everybody in the morning & drove them in to town & found homes for them & then took the still unadopted ones home with her at night.

She truly gave St. Francis a run for his money in the sainthood department. My kitty who had preceded Bukhai, Pouella, was easily offended, fierce & strong. My vet was terrified of her. She had very fine long hair & I struggled keeping the mats off her. So, I asked the woman if she would groom her for me for a donation (a hefty one. I knew what I was asking.) I dropped her off at the storefront & returned when I received the call that she was ready. Pouella looked amazing, but I noticed that she had spots of blood on her. I was quite alarmed at this thinking that Pou had been wounded & mentioned it to the groomer who then showed me her extremely clawed hands & arms. It was the groomer’s blood, that she had willingly shed to make my kitty fluffy. Her halo shone with a glow that was almost blinding.

Grey-bungalow-catI brought Bukhai home to the Hare House. The poor babe was afraid of everything. I opened the carrier & he scooted into the fireplace in the Reverend Hare’s little study & cowered under the grate, shaking. I made him a snug retreat there with a little soft bed where he could burrow, a tiny litter box & that’s where he was fed. Every day I scooped him out & stuffed him down my shirt & sat with him all covered up for a couple hours, petting him gently through the fabric & talking softly. Then I put him back in the fireplace.

After 3 weeks, he ventured cautiously out on his own & settled down to life at the Hare House. Mahjong the Amazing Wonder Kitten had started life as a fully gorgeous 2 lb., blue-eyed kitty who just blossomed into an elegant, luxurious cat but Bukhai took a long time to grow into himself. His big eyes were beautiful as he gazed at me in adoration, but his ears were far too large & he had a tuft of fur that stuck up like a cowlick over one of them. (You can see it here!)

When he hit adolescence, his fur became very oily & dandruffy & stuck to his body, making those too large ears seem even bigger & the funny tuft even more prominent. But as he became an adult, he too became a handsome animal. His snow white fur trimmed with grey & black stripes became fluffy & the ears stopped growing so the body could catch up. His feet remained rather large & floppy for his size, but we decided that it was an endearing feature that made my little boy all the sweeter.

Bukhai was never very brave. Or even a little bit brave. Mahjong loved to go out into the garden & play jungle cat. He lurked & pounced & was difficult to coax back inside. Bukhai, on the other hand, preferred to stay on the porch, close to the door, but after a couple months, started getting relaxed about being out in the big world. Until the neighbor across the street started sweeping said street with a metal rake. Scritch, scritch. Bukhai flew to the closed door & ran up the screen where he clung until Daddy peeled him off, claw by claw, & tucked him back safely in the house from where he never again emerged.

When Buk was fully grown, my assistant brought over the new kitten she had adopted from the storefront. Kitten bounced out of the carrier, curious & ready to play. Bukhai ran to the door which I had closed to contain the new kitten, & turned, peering over his shoulder clearly terrified by the tiny bit of fluff squeaking & hopping about the room, his eyes as wide as saucers looking at this monster that we had allowed in his safe home. Mommy quickly came to his rescue & soothed him with a nice, long chin rub. Mahjong considered the new arrival to be but an hors d’oeurve but to Buk, the interloper was a monster straight out of a kitty nightmare.

Bukhai was the most loving cat I have ever known. He adored his mommy & loved to sit with me, gazing into my eyes while I petted him & spoke to him softly. We were besotted with one another. Unlike Mahj who wanted to kiss every girl at the party, Bukhai was fearful of all of my friends but three- my sister-in-law who is a friend to all animals, Helen, a neighbor, whom he recognized as a gentle soul & Theresa, another cat saint who visited & comforted him in his last unhappy weeks.

He’s in Heaven now, being the same angel-kitty he was here on earth.


Small-cat-on-a-bungalow-rug Tids.

When Bukhai was about 8, a new kitten, Miss Tiddleywinks was brought home. I kept them apart because she was so dang loud & so active. Bukhai was clearly worried. When she was about ¾ grown, she decided that she lo-o-o-oved her daddy, didn’t like me at all (referring to me disdainfully as, “That lady,” wounding me at every opportunity) & took Bukhai under her wing. She licked him, she cuddled him & talked to him like she was his mama. Bukhai blossomed under her care. He had not been a boy who found much joy in life but gradually over the months, his eyes became brighter, his step more lively & he became a happy cat.

This animal who considered me a rival for my husband’s affection, bloodied me & several of my friends (who had responded to my warnings with, “Oh, I’m a cat person. It will be fine.”) more than once, pee’d on the furniture & pooped on the rug, was a saint & will ever be so regarded in my heart.

Moral of the story #1- Adopt a kitty, or 2, or 3. They will enrich your life.

Moral #2- Spay & neuter your pets. 



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