by Jane Powell, author & Linda Svendsen, photographer
This book, BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home, was Jane’s most impressive work & it is majestic, with 285 large, glossy pages. She referred to it as “The Big Book of Bungalows” & I’m not certain that she was enthralled with the publisher’s final choice of title.
Hewn & Hammered’s review of the book opined, “The book is written with humor and warmth, never taking its subject matter too seriously, which is a welcome alternative to many other books in the genre that treat these buildings as museum exhibits before their original purpose (and, in most cases, only purpose) as homes.”
A quote from an Amazon reader: “This is my first contact with Powell/Svendsen’s books, and while it is indeed coffee table size (it needs to be large to accommodate the beautiful photography) it is so charming and readable that, without so intending, I READ it (in one sitting, yet). We have several other books of gorgeous bungalows, many with the same houses as subjects, with accomanying commentary equivalent to dry stale cornflakes; this one is crumpets and cream. Like others documenting bungalow style architecture, this book is not intended as a construction or instruction manual, but as inspiration. For admirers of bungalow style and for those seeking a picture to replace the thousand words BUNGALOW:The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home is an easy choice.”
While her other books are much more instructional, there is much factual information to be gained from reading this book. Jane is an amusing teacher so you just don’t notice that you are sitting in class.
FOREWARD TO BUNGALOW: THE ULTIMATE ARTS & CRAFTS HOME
Jane introduces the book with some beautiful shots of bungalows by Linda Svendsen, including the impressive staircase of Jane’s bungamansion, the Sunset House in Oakland. Walking up these stairs, so sexy that they made the cover of American Bungalow, photographed by Alex Vertikoff, is an awesome experience. I wish this word had not been appropriated to mean, “like, totally cool” because the huge Doug Fir staircase is truly, “extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.” The workmanship is masterful, the dark wood lovely, & when you walk up these stairs, you are cocooned in the world of the wealthy 100 years ago. (Jane mentions, the builder was the owner of a lumber company so he got the wood wholesale, but still.)
As Jane says about it, “… this book deals with the philosophy, history, & influences that led to the bungalow as we know it in North America. Don’t worry, it’s not very scholarly. Most it’s a celebration of bungalows & everything on them & in them, & the Arts & Crafts movement they represent. I think that you will enjoy the ride.”
And by “ride” she meant a purple PT Cruiser. Mine was red.
CHAPTER ONE: THE COLOR OF WIND
This chapter addresses, what is a bungalow? Well, it originated in India, & ended up in California inspired by a socialist design movement in Britain in the late 1800’s. Explaining that architecture isn’t simple, she answers this question by encouraging us to “Think outside the chicken” -by reading her book & viewing the images, we will just come to KNOW. It worked for me & whenever I feel wobbly, I come back to this book to get straightened out.
A full description of the original bangala & the modifications made by the Europeans.
Getting Away From It All
The Industrial Revolution in Britain brought nostalgia for an idealized agrarian past.
The Seeds of Change
The Arts & Crafts Movement sprouts from the reverence for nature & ideas about design, & social & political reform.
CHAPTER TWO: IN FULL FLOWER
We learn about William Morris, the father of the Arts & Crafts Movement. There is a lovely quote about Morris which describes his many artistic passions & ends with, ..”& then he’ll do I don’t know what, but every minute will be alive.”
In my world, there is no greater compliment.
Pages of beautiful photos bring the copy to life as you learn to “Think outside the chicken” & begin to understand the soul of the bungalow.
Art for Art’s Sake
In this section Jane describes the Aesthetic Movement, which paralleled the A & C Movement, had the same roots & the same folks involved, but lacked the political & social philosophies of the latter.
I must admit to a great attraction to this design style. I see so much of the Arts & Crafts philosophy in the Aesthetic Movement & I really like their take on it. I especially like how its contrast of intricate small patterns inspired by nature complements the chunkier, more simple design of Arts & Crafts sharing the same inspiration.
In the Hare House, my Aesthic collection adorned the dining room plate rails. In Tampa, I re-created the original divider shelves to display them.
The Bohemian Life
Jane is still in England, writing about the bungalows at the seaside that have acquired a bohemian reputation, representing a more simple life.
She stresses the fact that most of the Arts & Crafts houses were not bungalows, but looked to medieval designs for inspiration. It took Stickley to bring Arts& Crafts to America for it to assume it’s, uh, American form.
CHAPTER THREE: SMILING LAWNS & TASTEFUL COTTAGES
The Centennial Exhibition, held in 1876 spurred motivation for developing art & architecture that display American pride, though many bungalows clearly show European & Asian influence & you will see many images of this.
Global Inspiration, Indigenous Style
With the log cabin as inspiration, the bungalow was often more rustic. Jane continues on to describe the American flavor &unique local features found in bungalows across the country- with more of Linda’s lush photos.
CHAPTER FOUR: POPCORN & CAPITALISM
Ah! California, where the bungalow reached its full potential. She visits Northern & Southern California & it is here where we see my house in Eagle Rock.
The Ideal Home
Here she writes more about plan books & other publications as well as kit houses. The building boom of the 20’s was spurred by the street car, then the automobile.
Freedom of Assembly
More pre-cut buildings from a greater number of companies continued the bungalow boom. I must stress again that the images tell much of the story! You are seriously missing out by not having this book! Clinker bricks, limestone columns green-stained shingles & granite piers, Oh my!!!!!!!
Icon & Irony
More amazing photos & a look at how the A & C Revival has outlasted the original Movement. Hey, I’m glad that Stickley is getting the admoration & recognition that he did not receive in his later years. And while it’s on my mind, let me suggest that you watch this incredible documentary Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman.
CHAPTER FIVE: ON THE STREET
This is the longest chapter of BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home & I don’t want to wear you out, so I’ll cover it in one section.
The porch, part of the Arts & Crafts ideal of the melding of nature with the indoors. The entry welcomes guests to enter & sit before the hearth. We see some beautiful fireplaces here of tile & of brick in various patterns. She goes to on talk about dining rooms showing an abundance of beautiful built-ins & rich wainscoting, including mine, the Hare House, on page 202. I had received the Roseville candleholders as a gift from the president of my neighborhood association who had fought valiantly with me against Walgreens. Being a bunny maniac, I paired it with the faux Roseville bunny vase which contains the most beautiful flower arrangement that I had ever done. In the heat of getting ready for the shoot, I had neglected to put water in the vase & the flowers barely made it through the day!
She has a couple chunky sections on kitchens & baths, though her Kitchens & Bathrooms book cover the subject more fully. The section on bedrooms has a full-page spread of my bedroom on page 238, despite Jane’s grousing about the room’s Victorianess. The man who built my house, the Reverend Alfred Hare was known as a church leader who would leave each congregation with a fully paid mortgage for their building, so I couldn’t really see him as a man who would fork out good money to replace a perfectly good brass bed. (And Jane herself was a great fan of the backstory.)
In the photo you can see my collection of embroidered cat pillows, (with my little Bukhai whose sweet story you can read here, snoozing on the soft comfie bed) my grandmother’s picture on the wall, my mother & uncle’s pictures on the dresser & my grandmother’s confection tin in which she kept her clean hankies. And the hankies were in there too!
After I moved to Florida, a new friend, whom I had met at an event I had produced for Jane, was getting the tour of my Tampa bungalow. When we entered my bedroom she became very confused saying, “It’s déjà vu. I have been in this room before. It’s déjà vu!” I feared that we were going to need to bring out the smelling salts! It took me a moment to realize that she had seen the original room in the book which she had purchased at the event. Being a kitty fan, she had loved & remembered the cat pillows.
CHAPTER SIX: STEWARDSHIP
Here’s where Jane & I shared a soul. And, I guess it’s why I want you to read her books. So, read ‘em, & also head on over to the section on my blog, PRESERVATION GROUPS. It is a work in progress & you are so-o-o welcome to let me know about others to add.
Jane’s rallying cry was, “DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!” & as a staunch preservationist, I stand with her on this.
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEAUTY
This chapter is Jane’s Random Musings.
Q. What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor?
A. “Make me one with everything.”
BUNGALOW: THE ULTIMATE ARTS & CRAFTS HOME-IT’S ALL ABOUT MOI
The Big Book, AKA, BUNGALOW: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home, is my favorite of Jane’s because it contains images of the house I lovingly restored & left behind in California after my crushing defeat in my fight to save a neighborhood building. We spent the day shooting which was fun & exhausting & I waited with great anticipation for the book to be published so I could see my house as well as the other houses in the neighborhood which Jane & Linda had shot several months earlier- dodging the Halloween decorations that adorned many facades. I was pleased to see my house so well represented & amused by some of the accompanying copy.
The exterior of my house is pictured on page 107, with another from my neighborhood. The Arts & Crafts clubhouse of the Woman’s Club to which I belonged is on page 100. The sisters of the man who built my house raised the money to erect the clubhouse by performing the skits & songs that they wrote. 100 years later I had the privilege of walking in a fashion show to raise money to restore & preserve that same building.
My sunroom is pictured on page 161 with a Moroccan table which was recently pitched after out attempt to rid it of termites. (I live in Florida now! If you have any clue as to how I might be able to get another one of these, Please let me know.) My living room is on page 181. I sold the couch & matching chair when we left Eagle Rock because it was painfully uncomfortable. We had to take it apart to get it out the door & there was a dead, fossilized rat in it. That wasn’t in any of the books!
To buy this book, you’re going to have to search for it in the various on-line booksellers. KITCHENS is available in Kindle but the rest can require some sleuthing. My fingers are crossed that the rest will be Kindled soon.
READ ABOUT ALL JANE’S BOOKS ON BUNGALOWS!
& last but surely not least
STAY IN THE BUNGALOW KNOW!!!
Sign up for our newsletter & receive our FREE E-book, 7 VITAL Things to Do Before You Hire a Contractor.