Editor’s Let­ter

Arts and Crafts Homes - - CONTENTS -

with new ideas?” peo­ple some­times ask— peo­ple who know I’m decades into an old-house ca­reer. The an­swer tran­scends mag­a­zines or Arts & Crafts, of course. Any­one who is deep into a sub­ject knows that knowl­edge leads one deeper still; there will al­ways be another layer to plumb (not to men­tion another bath­room).

I’ve had to be mind­ful, in fact, to come up with ideas. Cer­tain ad­vice re­veals its wis­dom only when we hear it again and find it still ap­plies. I’ve been think­ing about what I’d be sure to tell the new owner of a Crafts­man house or bun­ga­low. Here’s a start. Send me your rules!

Good ad­vice for ev­ery­one, per­haps es­pe­cially for own­ers of 20th cen­tury houses, who may see them as old but not his­toric. Learn about your style be­fore you tear out the “lit­tle fire­place win­dows” or in­glenook benches. Corol­lary: Clean it first. (A lot of times we are over­re­act­ing to filth.)

al­most any well-built com­po­nent of the past. Both lum­ber and gen­eral crafts­man­ship were bet­ter than to­day’s av­er­age. Win­dows, for ex­am­ple, may be patched, scraped and painted, then re­hung. New re­place­ment win­dows will no­tably change the look of the house and in­tro­duce mod­ern sys­tems de­signed for re­place­ment or ob­so­les­cence.

with ceil­ing spots, re­cessed cans, and bright bulbs in an ef­fort to “lighten dark rooms.” Like white-painted walls against a dark oak wain­scot, strong light­ing will make the wood­work ap­pear black. For a bun­ga­low am­biance you will come to love, stay mel­low to bring out the wood’s high­lights. In­stall dim­mers. Re­lated: Don’t paint var­nished wood­work, es­pe­cially not white.

in a long or wide liv­ing room that spans the house. It doesn’t work to put fur­ni­ture against the walls and leave the mid­dle open. Con­sider sep­a­rate con­ver­sa­tion group­ings, us­ing area rugs for def­i­ni­tion. Di­rect traf­fic with the fur­ni­ture plan.

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