NEW CRAFTSMAN HOMES
clinker bricks & accessible design
WHEN YOU START with an organic concept like a not-sobig bungalow, sometimes the house and garden must evolve to meet your needs. That was the case for a Pennsylvania family of five, who soon realized their chosen setting in Bucks County lent itself to a larger forever home. When the designer/developer Bela Rossman showed them examples of the residential work of Arts & Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene, the owners were intrigued. A visit to Pasadena followed, including a tour of the Gamble House, with its iconic stained-glass triptych entry.
Several of Greene & Greene’s most identifable motifs and techniques appear in the design of this house: cloudlift horizontal woodwork; deep, exposed rafter tails; and exterior shingles custom-cut to the same 6" width used in the frm’s Ultimate Bungalows. There are many whimsical elements too, like a replica Blacker House bench used as a swing in the living room. So when Rossman presented the idea of a patio enclosed by clinker-brick walls, the family was enthusiastic. “With boulders at the base of the wall,” Rossman explained, “it will look like it came out of the ground.”
Rossman suggested an oval, slightly elliptical shape for the patio to balance the square and rectangular elements of the house. It’s an outdoor room set perhaps 60' from the house, which “allows you literally to smell the roses before you arrive at the terrace.” Enfolding the sandstone terrace is the rolling clinker brick wall, fnished with a radius pergola. Rossman drew initial designs, but building the walls was a matter of trial and error as the masons learned to work with the quirky bricks. Rossman saw the wall as a fluid structure—almost like a wave, or a river tumbling stones in its wake.
The clinkers spread like warm candy throughout the property. A set-back bench is large enough to seat the entire family, which includes three small girls. Lined with cushions and littered with books and toys, it plays the same role as a roomy outdoor sofa or porch swing. Beneath the dappled shade of the pergola, it’s a cozy nook. “It feels a little like Alice in Wonderland when you’re sitting there.”
that began as a design for a not-so-big house slowly evolved into a family home that includes the most comfortable elements of the dreene & dreene style.