May 15, 2010
This is about the most exciting project I have worked on. If there is a regional bay area architecture, then this is it. There has been a development of bungalows mostly finished inside and out with wood which I would associate with Berkeley (the city) , Maybeck, Morgan, and many others. No specific name has been adopted for this style. Some call it “First Bay Tradition”, Berkeley shingle, bungalow shingle?
Bungalows are small homes. The name comes from homes in India and somehow the English adopted this name and it took hold in this country. There are many types of bungalows and it describes most homes from the 1920s that do not have a distinctive look of a specific style such as spanish, craftsman, english, or other. A bungalow can be wood, but is often the non-descript stucco finish.
My favorite architecture is regional architecture. I love looking out over a small town in Spain and seeing a town on a green hillside with all the houses having red tile roofs and the church steeple in the center of town. Or the islands of Greece with the blue sea and the white stucco houses dotting the barren hillsides. I love going to Santa Barbara and seeing the unity of the Spanish style. It is great there. For the Bay Area, houses of wood with large sloped roofs are much more appropriate and responsive to the natural environment.
This project is a painstaking restoration of a dilapidated home. I suggested initially to the owners that the home be torn down and that it would be much cheaper to build a completely new home. My lesson and preference is to repair the old. No matter how hard we try to replicate the old work, the new work never looks the same. Building codes are a primary hindrance, but also everything is made differently now. The new windows are absolutely beautiful in this home and exactly match the original. Sebastopol Windows love what their work and it is obvious in their attention to detail. This new house is full of charm.
The biggest influence in the design for this home is not Maybeck or Morgan, but Margaret Grade from Manka’s. Her work is beautiful and unique, and I would say that it exemplifies the spirit of Bay area architecture. Here are some photos of her hotel rooms:
Margaret uses lots of antiques. I spent weeks looking for old plumbing fixtures. I looked at every plumbing website in this country and Europe. I scoured e-bay daily. It turns out the best supplier has a large warehouse in Northern California. Why all this trouble? There is nothing more beautiful than an old sink faucet with new nickel plating.
This whole house is like this, full of reclaimed material. Each piece of the house is special and unique. Each part has been thought through. This is a magical place, and I can’t imagine a better place to vacation. It takes us back 4o years to my grandpa’s time. To my grandpa’s virtues. When we would sit around the kitchen table slicing apples for apple pie on Sunday afternoon, while my mom sat in the backyard in the sun on her lawn chair reading and smoking away. Grandma always moving, putting the clothes to dry on the line. My grandpa chasing me around in the garage. The garage smelled like oil and tools. What time is this. It is time of simplicity, honesty, and integrity. A time when my grandpa would teach us about being thrifty
Photos of the mostly complete house. CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE