Beyond the Bungalow
eBook - ePub

Beyond the Bungalow

Paul Duchscherer

  1. 176 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
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eBook - ePub

Beyond the Bungalow

Paul Duchscherer

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About This Book

Beyond the Bungalow, the newest book from renowned designer and Arts & Crafts expert Paul Duchscherer, celebrates the larger members of the Arts & Crafts family, and pays tribute to their remarkable artistic beauty, craftsmanship, and diversity of style.

Widely acclaimed as America's favorite "Arts & Crafts Home, " the term "bungalow" may bring a specific image to mind, but it really is one part of a much larger family. This extended family also includes an entire genre of larger-scale Craftsman-period homes, much like those created by architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene.

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Gibbs Smith

Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences

Swiss Chalet Style

Arts and Crafts–period homes in the Swiss Chalet style are among the earliest of any that combine a different styles’ characteristic design elements with those of the Craftsman style. Generally, these two styles make a fairly seamless pairing and in some examples it may be unclear at first where one style influence ends and the other begins. In a closer look, most of these particular crossover homes have enough of the signature features most often associated with the Swiss Chalet that their European ancestry is fairly obvious. More than with most other styles, the Swiss Chalet’s early-twentieth-century influence has been reinterpreted and often somewhat romanticized in many later versions, most frequently for vacation homes in mountain ski-resort areas.
One feature common to most of these homes is the extensive use of wood on their exteriors, usually left unpainted. Some feature exterior walls on the first-floor level painted a light color (see Figures 69 and 72), which function as a kind of visual pedestal for the wood-faced second-floor and attic levels, where most of the home’s design interest is typically concentrated. After all, these homes were originally designed for alpine settings, with their façades best viewed from the perspective of a downhill slope. Used to express different floor levels, the wood siding of a Swiss Chalet home may vary in type, width, and linear direction, on the same house. For example, horizontal clapboard siding on the first floor is frequently offset by vertical siding (sometimes board-and-batten style) on the second floor or attic level (see Figures 70 and 71).
Besides a lot of wood, the most significant feature of a Swiss Chalet is the prominent form of its roof, which also closely parallels some examples of the Craftsman style. Almost invariably, Swiss Chalets are characterized by a dominant, forward-facing gable whose eaves are extended forward, creating a deep, sheltering overhang in front. In most examples, this overhang largely supplants the usual need of a first-floor front porch. The angled pitch of the roof is usually fairly steep to shed snow, and the eaves on either side of the façade also extend quite deeply beyond the side walls. In some cases, the roof incorporates a clipped (jerkin-headed) gable, a traditional detail common to other European sources, including the English Cottage (see Figure 69). In crossover homes with more Craftsman than Swiss Chalet elements, shingled walls may be used (at least on the first-floor level), and open wooden truss work, appearing more structural than decorative in effect, may also be set into the peaked eaves of their front gables (see Figure 73).
Although most Swiss Chalet–style homes are a full two stories, the second floor often appears somewhat smaller than it really is, due to the lowering effect of the sides’ extended roof eaves, which can appear to dip almost to the top of the first-floor level (see Figures 69 and 70). Separate from its effects on the front façade, another element incorporated into some Swiss Chalet roofs are side dormers. These tend to be of the shed-roof variety, and although by necessity set at a slightly different pitch, most are wide enough to still appear well integrated with the lines of the roof. While such dormers add additional usable space to the upper levels of the house, their effect on its apparent outward size ends up being fairly minimal. The deep roof eaves also further shield the side dormers’ visibility.
The façade of a Swiss Chalet–style home may be likened to that of a cuckoo clock, a helpful analogy when envisioning its characteristic features and demeanor. A particularly common feature is a wide balcony across the second-floor level, with a fairly shallow projection supported on brackets or extended beams. Along with the deep roof eaves, this balcony also provides some degree of shelter for the point of entry on the first floor below. Occasionally, a second, smaller, balcony also occurs on the third-floor attic level. A particular railing style common to their balconies is a definitive detail of most Swiss Chalets. In lieu of conventional spindles, plain wide boards are set vertically, edge-to-edge, with very narrow gaps between. What animates the effect of this otherwise low and nearly solid railing into such a signature feature is the introduction of strategically placed cutouts along each side edge of the boards. The cutouts in each board are then aligned in mirror image with those on the adjacent boards, resulting in a repeating, overall decorative pattern along the length of the railing. Depending on the shapes of these cutouts, railing patterns could vary from softer effects using circles and curves, to bolder, geometric ones using angular lines, or a combination of both.
The ornamental nature of their balcony railings reinforces the cuckoo clock analogy, for there is a calculated tendency on Swiss Chalet–style homes to impart a picturesque effect. In some actual Swiss and other European examples, woodwork elements may also be decorated with painted or stenciled decoration. Most American versions are fairly sedate, but still usually less austere than most Craftsman-style homes.
Swiss Chalet–style homes may feature linear geometric carving applied to some structural elements, such as projecting beam ends, rafter tails, or brackets. Alternately, the edges of these may be simply chamfered (beveled). Another area of decorative potential are fascia boards (bargeboards), used to cover the narrow edges of the front-facing eaves, which are usually wide enough to allow some motif or pattern to be cut into their face. This may be a curving scalloped motif, which can occur either along the fascia boards’ entire length, or be limited to specific parts of them. Popular warm-weather accents for almost any interpretation of a Swiss Chalet are flower-filled window boxes.
Another signature feature of most Swiss Chalets are the correspondingly deep brackets (corbels) that extend beneath their eaves to the fascia boards, working in tandem with the exaggerated roof overhangs. While some of these may resemble the form of typical Craftsman-style knee braces (brackets), the most distinctive and robust examples are those comprised of multiple wood beams sandwiched together to form a single oversized bracket in the form of inverted steps. Occasionally, a similarly stepped bracket at a much smaller scale is paired with square Craftsman-style porch posts, lending more visual support for the beam above. Extra interest is added to the posts’ plain silhouette by their stepped form. Swiss Chalet designs may incorporate brackets of more than one size, corresponding to the varying requirements of different areas on the house. For greater emphasis, the balcony’s supporting brackets may be given a different design than the others, for they are more likely to be seen at closer range, from the ground.
Early-twentieth-century versions of the Swiss Chalet style became linked to progressive design. As a significant influence on bungalows, it was adapted in plan-book house designs, and written about in many places, including Gustav Stickley’s the Craftsman magazine, and Henry Saylor’s book Bungalows (1911). Creative interpretations of Swiss Chalets figured rather prominently in the earlier work of noted northern California architect Bernard Maybeck (see Figure 110–112), and by others in the Bay Area’s “First Bay Tradition” period, in which the Shingle style tended to get the most emphasis. In these particular examples, the sense of a crossover between the Swiss Chalet and Craftsman styles was especially pronounced, for most of their interiors were decidedly Craftsman style in feeling, materials, and features.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 68.

Postcard View of “A Hillside Residence in Southern California” (ca. 1910).

Because of its mountainous backdrop and hillside siting, the Swiss Chalet influence seems more pronounced, despite the subtropical plantings. Swiss Chalet influence is visible in the gable to the right in the use of carving or turning along the oversized brackets that support the deep eaves. Anchored by a large stone chimney, the overall composition shows Craftsman-style influence with its two prominent gables; most Swiss Chalet homes rely on one forward-facing gable to make their style statement. Although this example makes more literal references to a Swiss Chalet than most, the similarly woodsy style of the earliest Craftsman homes in the Pasadena area was, for a time, nicknamed “Japo-Swiss.” This house survives intact today although vegetation now obscures its visibility.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 69.

Lang House in Spokane, Washington (ca. 1910).

Surrounded by greenery, this home’s setting in the South Hill district make a convincing case for its Swiss Chalet style. It was designed by prominent local architect Kirtland Cutter. Finely detailed, decorative wooden elements are delicate, relative to the home’s larger scale. Notable are the roof’s narrow, scallop-edged fascia boards, patterned cuts in the edging below the attic window, small brackets of stepped form, larger stepped brackets under the eaves, and the balcony railing’s cutout design. Less typical are the curving brackets supporting the balcony. The roof’s clipped (jerkin-headed) gable is less typical but of European lineage. On the side, the shed-roof dormer configuration permits a full second floor, while allowing the lowered eaves of the front gable to preserve the design’s ground-hugging posture. The first floor’s lightly painted stucco walls also reduce the home’s apparent height.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 70.

Frank Alva Jacobs House, Portland, Oregon (1913).

This Mount Tabor district home is the only known residential project by the firm of Johnson and Mayer. The house is sited below street level with views of the city from the back. The living and dining rooms are oriented toward the city view, and open onto a raised terrace. Carefully composed, typical Swiss Chalet elements articulate its simple form, the front-facing gable faced in vertical board-and-batten siding being most prominent. Supported on deep brackets shaped by curving edges, a wide balcony has access from two bedrooms across the front. Trimmed by fascia boards (bargeboards) with scalloped edges, the roof extends lower on the far right. Horizontal lines dominate the first floor walls, which rest on a stone foundation. The front door is off the open porch on the right. The house has more than 4,300 square feet, including walk-out basement rooms to the garden level in the back.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 71.

House in Spokane, Washington (1911).

This home’s appealing Swiss Chalet style is enhanced by its secluded site and forested setting. It was designed and built by Karl Koerner as his own residence. A projecting front terrace, now shaded by a canvas awning, is detailed in Craftsman style. Substantial, battered (sloping) stone columns secure the outside corners and serve as posts for the wooden railings, which have typical cutout motifs in their boards that repeat on the second-floor balcony. Less typical, the encircling balcony gives the house horizontal emphasis, and fosters indoor-outdoor living from its upstairs rooms. The fascia boards on the front gable are detailed at their ends with curving flourishes cut into the lower edges. The uphill siting shows off the deeply stepped brackets beneath the gable’s eaves. At right, similar brackets are seen supporting the balcony and flanking a flowerpot shelf under the living room window. Vertical siding on the upper gable walls switches to horizontal on the lower levels.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 72.

House in Spokane, Washington (ca. 1915).

One of the striking vestiges of the South Hill district geologic past is the house-sized volcanic basalt boulder (locally known as a “haystack” outcropping) at right. The boulder makes this roomy house appear almost dollhouse size. Further reducing its apparent size is the white-painted, stucco-faced first floor, which limits the visually heavier natural wood siding (all placed in a horizontal direction) to the upper one-and-a-half stories. The front door vestibule and a bay window extend forward to support a deep, second-floor balcony. The balcony narrows as it wraps around the sides of the house. Typical of the Swiss Chalet style, the flower boxes add color and the home is sheltered beneath a deeply overhanging roof with a forward-facing gable. Hanging from scalloped-edge fascia boards are pendantlike trim pieces, each aligned with a stepped bracket under the eaves. The attic balcony suggests more usable living space on the third floor.
Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
Figure 73.

House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (ca. 1900).

The Swiss Chalet style is interpreted here in a late Victorian-era home. The wood elements are more delicately scaled, and are painted, instead of finished naturally. Elements such as the exposed rafter tails are placed as if structural, but are generally decorative stylizations. Similarly, the exposed truss work adds interest but little structure in the upper gable; its purpose seems mainly to display the triangular panel insets of lacy decoration in perforated wood. Thin, sticklike brackets support the truss and a shallow balcony, which extends further back into an arched attic-level recess. The railing of cutout boards, and the vertical siding in the upper gable ...

Table of contents

  1. Preface
  2. Introduction
  3. A Familiar Form: The American Foursquare
  4. Nature Comes Home: Rustic Style Influence
  5. Craftsman Style: Classic Arts and Crafts Homes
  6. Craftsman Crossovers, part I: Romantic to Exotic Influences
  7. Craftsman Crossovers, part II: Progressive Americana
  8. Craftsman Crossovers, part III: Traditional Americana
  9. Craftsman Crossovers, part IV: Importing the Past
  10. Resources
  11. Acknowledgments