I just returned from a month of study in the application of classical architecture in Ängelsberg, Sweden. Course was jointly sponsored by INTBAU, International Network of Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism, a Prince Charles Foundation, and the Ax:son Johnson Foundation in Sweden. It took place at the restored Engelsberg Bruk, a 17th century ironworks two hours north of Stockholm and now UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our generous hosts, the Ax:son Johnson Foundation, provided everything for us, 21 participants from 10 countries, to fully engage the work and create a remarkable learning experience. The tutors were leading classical architects and urbanists from the UK, Netherlands and US. Our studio was the full attic story of a former factory building above reception and meeting rooms, dining hall and kitchen. Drafting tables were placed in groups of three at one end of the huge space and easels at the other. We had ample opportunities to develop our freehand drawing skills. The days were full and similar to grad school with lectures, design projects, field trips and discussions. Some of our assignments were done in teams of three with new teams for each one. The final project was to evaluate Västerås Stora Torget, the city's central square, and design new buildings to recover its historic character. Like so many cities it was diminished by the misguided improvements of modern era. Drawing above is my proposal for the square. The seminar was greatly enriched by the participants' varied backgrounds, experience and age. During the last week the course moved to Stockholm to study the early 20th C merger of classicism and modernism, "Swedish Grace," with tours and a drawing assignment in the Gamla Stan. In review, the participants' work was simply remarkable. It exceeded all expectations, and we hope the best of it will be recorded in some form. This was the first run of the course, conceived by architect Robert Adam as a collaboration between INTBAU and Ax:son Johnson Foundation. It so perfectly expressed the mission of both organizations it is sure to continue as an annual event. I encourage others to apply. It was very heartening to see young people embrace traditional architecture and seek more meaningful roles in our profession. https://engelsberg.intbau.org/
January 2016: "Hooked on Houses" blog recently featured two of our projects, Greene & Greene's Bolton House restoration and Ballard Craftsman restoration. Here are the links:
April 2015: We introduced several "Ideabooks" on Houzz.com on topics of traditional design. They include: Cottage Pleasures, Living in the Garden, Recovery of Craft, Frame for Living, Homestead Visions, and Historical building traditions. Each is a work-in-progress with a short introduction and up to 50 photos and captions. Select Ideabooks tab below our banner:
January 2015: Thanks to clients for posting reviews of our work on Houzz.com. and thanks to those who follow us. We received "Best of Houzz" awards for design and client service again this year, and also recognized as "Recommended Pros."
December 2014: History and perspective on our restoration of Greene and Greene's Bolton/Culbertson house was published by Mimi Zeiger in Architecture for Sale Quarterly, Winter 2014. Read online:
February 2014: We just learned we received 2014 "Best of Houzz" awards for design and client service. We appreciate the recognition, and our clients who persisted to create this good work. If only there were more hours in the day...
June 2013: "Ballard Craftsman," one of our most popular restoration projects in Seattle, will have its first ever open house on June 23rd. It and six other houses will be featured in Ballard Classic House Tour. See Ballard Historical Society website for details:
February 2013: We received a 2013 "Best of Houzz" Design Award for our portfolio on this website which has really taken off. Several clients also posted reviews for us. Thanks to all of you!
December 2012: Our Wallingford Craftsman renovation and restoration received the 2012 Wallingford Design Award. Awards Coordinator Mike Ruby writes: "Congratulations on creating a fine example of remodeling that we hope others will attempt to emulate. You retained the bungalow character ...using an updated version of Craftsman vocabulary ...and keeping the structure in scale with nearby houses." In other words, we didn't blow-out the house to fill its zoning envelope like so many recent projects. Thanks for this recognition!
August 2012: Homestead and Community on the Middle Border, an essay by cultural geographer Carl Sauer, has been added to Opinion section. This remarkable essay introduced a new generation to the character and contributions of the "Middle Border" period (1800-1860)-- when Midwest was the frontier of westward expansion. Sauer combines overarching trends with critical details to provide a clear view of its significance, what was lost and could perhaps be recovered. Including it here with our introduction will hopefully reach a new audience.
August 2012: Our "Greek Revival Cottage" design and Cottage Classics series were featured in the Fall-Winter 2012 issue of Early Homes(PDF).Construction drawings and panelized kits from Connor Homes for this cottage are available. Contact us if you are interested.
July 2012: Next Greek Revival could be coming to a declining empire near you. Classical precedent that fostered civic growth in the United States (1830-1860) could recovered today, if only we were so lucky.
June 2012: Remodel or Remuddle? essay has been expanded to discuss the character of successful renovations. Houses are products of their era and have a distinctive character. Successful remodeling requires working in empathy with the existing house and the design intensions of its builders.
April 2012: Cottage Character notes have been expanded to include implications for new cottages, how they could become today's affordable housing and avoid the pitfalls of conventional development.
January 2012: We just rebuilt a 1949 mid-century modern house in Spokane, WA after it was heavily damaged by fire. It had to be rebuilt from the first floor up, and our client wanted to rework the interior within the existing footprint.
January 2012: New second floor addition for a 1910 Wallingford Craftsman has also just been completed. Roof was rebuilt at a slightly higher pitch and shed dormers added to increase useable floor area. Second floor includes new master suite, two bedrooms for the kids, bath and laundry. Ceilings are vaulted and finished with natural fir bead board. Radiant heating, ample insulation and new windows make it very comfortable. Entry porch roof and pergola are new. Shingles were pre-stained cedar, and match original pattern.
December 2011: Photographs of our living room addition to a 1949 Mid-Century Modern house in Altadena, California have been added to "Renovations and Additions." Project was located in foothills above Pasadena on a large lot with extensive gardens. Our addition included entry, living room and a covered terrace. We preserved the original open plan and indoor-outdoor character of house, and made an effort to distinguish new work from existing without harsh contrasts.
November 2011: Dominic Bradbury interviewed us for his feature story, "Crafting a New Tradition," which appeared in the October 15, 2011, Financial Times home supplement. Bradbury asked about our restoration of the 1910 Parsons House in Altadena, CA and ongoing interest in Arts & Crafts movement. The full interview, Impact of Arts & Crafts Revival, is posted in Opinion section.
September 2011: Thanks to everyone who visited us last weekend at Historic Seattle's Bungalow Fair. This was our 13th consecutive year at the Fair. We enjoyed seeing old friends, and meeting new bungalow enthusiasts.
May 2011: The Chief Goes Through is our tribute to American painter Ernest Blumenschein, a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists. He was born this month in 1874. We wondered what was on his mind in 1956 when he painted this, his last major painting.
January 2011: Editors of Old House Online write: "We've seen plenty of great bungalow transformations grace our pages over the years. Here are ten of our favorites." At the top of the list we find "Slow & Steady", our restoration project Ballard Craftsman, published in the June/July 2010 issue of Old House Journal (PDF). Hey, thanks!
Books and a film with our work represented:
Beautiful Simplicity: Arts & Crafts Architecture in Southern California is a film by Paul Bockhorst Productions, and available on DVD from www.bockhorstproductions.com Film segments include Pasadena architects Louis B. Easton and the brothers Arthur and Alfred Heineman. Interviewed by Bockhorst, we comment on their work and contributions. Our Parsons House restoration is also featured.
California Design 1910 was authored by Timothy J. Andersen, Eudorah M. Moore and Robert W. Winter with photographs by Morley Baer. The book accompanied a 1974 exhibition organized by California Design, and codirected by Eudorah Moore and myself. Our presentation of the Arts & Crafts movement in California followed by only two years Robert Judson Clark's landmark Princeton University exhibition, "The Arts and Crafts Movement in America 1876-1916." The two exhibitions brought renewed attention to the creative expressions of the period and initiated a revival that was sustained for nearly 40 years. We are forever grateful to Eudorah for making this amazing opportunity and experience possible.
Craftsman Lifestyle: The Gentle Revolution was also published by California Design under Eudorah Moore's guidance. Developed in 1977, the book was a contemporary response to the historic Arts & Crafts movement with text by Olivia Emery and photographs by me. Project was inspired by an awareness that there were curious parallels between Arts & Crafts advocates of 1910 era and contemporary California artist-craftspeople 60 years later. While the later seemed largely unaware of the historic precedent they were living a life aspired by Arts & Crafts advocates. For more on this remarkable project see:
Our Craftsman renovation and addition wins Wallingford Design Award
1949 house renovated in Spokane, Washington
Ernest Blumenschein, 1927
Greek Revival Cottage in Early Homes
Cover design, first edition
Engelsberg Bruk in Västmanland, Sweden was the site of our month long course
Participants of INTBAU-Ax:son Johnson Foundation course, July 2016
Restoration of Greene & Greene's 1906 Bolton House, Pasadena
Tim and Ting tracing Stora Torget site plan
Helene led tour of Stockholm Gamla Stan
Our loft studio in converted factory at Engelsberg Bruk
Västerås City Museum project for central square
Tim Andersen, 2016
Documenting and drawing historic entries in the Gamla Stan
June 17-22, 2019: The “Program for New England Studies” is an intensive six-day seminar offered by Historic New England to provide participants an overview of the region’s evolution in architecture, furniture, textiles, ceramics and decorative arts from the 17th century colonies to the 20th century Colonial Revival. This year I was able to attend. Each morning we arrived at Historic New England's Boston offices in the Otis House (1796). We boarded a private coach to take us to the day's activities with a light breakfast on the way. Our days were full with travel, talks and tours. Presenters revealed longtime involvement and expertise with their subjects, and we were often charmed by their enthusiasm and grace. Many of their insights were new to us, and the group peppered them with questions and comments. Everyone came to the material with a keen interest. All twenty-one of us were committed, with aspirations or experience in museums, exhibitions, managing collections, or conservation. Some were retired while others still in grad school. Most were working on the east coast, but three came from the UK and three from the west coast. I was the only architect this year, but the majority were involved with house museums, their preservation and interpretation.
Historic New England, founded in 1910 as The Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities, owns and manages thirty-seven significant historic houses and opens them to the public. They have their own crew of craftspeople and restorers. Each property has a defined schedule for its maintenance and restoration. Each house museum has a dedicated group of volunteer docents to conduct tours. They are well-versed in the history of the site, the people, architecture, interiors and decorative arts. Traveling by coach we were able to visit fifteen different sites from Quincy to Kittery Point. Most of the houses were Historic New England properties and most of the interiors were restored as accurately as possible to a set period. Interpretations took advantage of early insurance records, photographs, paint forensics, and other period-appropriate resources. Principal staff members have worked in the organization for decades and amassed impressive skills as interpreters and curators of the region's material culture. We also encountered local specialists with rarified knowledge of things like finishes, first period houses, or Federal furniture. We can only hope they have trained apprentices and prodigies to carry on their skills.
Historic New England has made visible to thousands a picture of life here since colonization from one era to the next. The evolving seminar led by Kenneth C. Turino in its fourteenth season was a remarkable and well-organized experience. I highly recommend it.
Participants in Program for New England Studies in the attic of The House of the Seven Gables, Salem. Seminar led by Ken Turino, lower right next to me.
Barbara McLean Ward, Director and Curator of the Moffatt-Ladd House (1763) in Portsmouth, NH describes original wallpaper fragments recently discovered. The pattern, colors, and texture were analyzed and were brighter and bolder than expected.
Cary Carson, retired VP of Research for Colonial Williamsburg, led us through first period Gedney House (1665) in Salem. The building was stabilized but not restored. Structural supports, guardrails and other interventions have been painted a single color for clarity.
Inside the Boardman House (c.1687) fireplace we could see characteristic first period construction and come to appreciate the importance of a central chimney to retain enough heat to survive the New England winters. Enormous quantities of cordwood were used, taken from forests that must have seemed to them limitless.
Boston at dawn from my room in Suffolk University. From here, most historic neighborhoods were within walking distance and could be explored in the evenings on our own.
Donning blue booties, we are about to enter the world of Cogwell’s Grant (c.1732) and later the summer home of Bertram and Nina Fletcher Little who bought this 165 acre farm on the Essex River in 1937. Over the years the Littles gathered an amazing collection of New England “country arts” for the house, portraits, furniture, ceramics and textiles. Nina published their findings and treasures—her book aptly titled Little by Little.
July 1-30, 2016: Engelsberg seminar in classical architecture
January 16, 2020 "Common DIY Remodeling Mistakes and How to Avoid Them," by Lexi Klinkenberg for Redfin, is a short list of pitfalls that professionals see again and again. Each of us was asked to contribute a single thought. We hope this helps: