Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Craftsman Challenge: Round 2

There are some things that just refuse to be pinned down -- like the meaning of life. And Craftsman houses.

I recently lamented my inability to adequately photograph the splendor of South Pasadena's many Craftsman homes. Shooting the moon without a zoom or a tripod is easier. Trying to effectively explain what a newborn baby's head smells like is easier. In real life, this house is a veritable wonder of texture and light, a majestic woodsy palace fit for a Goblin King. Here, in picture form, it's just a collection of pretty windows lost in the dappled shade. Some blame the recessed porches for creating too much shadow. Others curse the light bounced from the pitched roof. I just think all of these structures are equipped with some kind of magical early 20th Century cloaking device that won't allow reproduction in any form.

But kudos to my fellow San Gabriel Valley bloggers for stepping up to the challenge! Petrea presents a world-class effort here and follows up here, Ben gives us a nifty shot here, Mister Earl is on a roll here and here and with a most lighthearted touch here, Sarah Jane over at Hatching a Patch takes the initiative with this great entry , GOSP reader Barbra jumped right in with these lovely shots on her blog, and Keith may have earned the title Craftsman Smackdown King with this great shot although Elaine way up north in Willits throws it down pretty hard with this fantastic image. Nice job, gang. But we all still know that Craftsman homes belong to a rare breed of California superstars: they really do look better in person.

Still, the quest continues...

20 comments:

Cafe Observer said...

Ok, I think you, LA, have taken the lead by a nose over Petrea.
I think you laid the right bait out to the others while in their starving condition & they've swallowed it all.

But, this is just the first quarter mile of a long race.
Is the reality of this home at least as nice as you made it?

Laurie said...

It's SO much nicer, Cafe. This is why I am filled with consternation. I am surrounded by these beauties -- that I can't quite present to the rest of the world. It looks nice in the picture but it's really wonderful in real life.

Susan C said...

That dappled shade is so inviting. I wish that I could stroll up the path and sip some sweet tea on the front porch.

barbra said...

OK, I am coming out of lurking to show you some photos I took:

http://notjustbarbra.blogspot.com/2009/01/photo-challenge.html

Be gentle! I'm not a photographer, just someone who loves where we live!

dbdubya said...

I like the guard sparrow diligently standing watch on the driveway ready to prevent any
post-'64 automobiles from entering the driveway.

Interesting feature on the left side of the porch. Does it seem odd that there's an arch at the end of the porch? Not a typical craftsman feature. But, that's part of the charm of craftsman houses. No two are alike.

Sarah Jane said...

Hi, Laurie. Thanks for coming to see my humble pictures!
And in response to dubya's comment above, maybe the challenge is to find 2 that are alike?

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

Laurie: in order for a home to be a craftsman, does it have to have a front porch?

Jilly said...

I love your first sentence. ...refuse to be pinned down - like the meaning of life. Too right!

I love this photograph. I clicked on it to enlarge and then you see so much more detail but actually I love the sunlight, it gives just that feeling you want - pretty windows in dappled shade. Goodness, Laurie, I can even SEE the Goblin King.

These Craftsman homes you are showing us are wonderful. My sort of place. I lived in a wooden house in Australia and this rather reminds me of it.

altadenahiker said...

Well, mine look crappy, so I ain't showing them. I wonder what Jimson Weed Gazette would do with a Craftsman porch....

dbdubya said...

PA - I know there's an architect's definition for craftsman homes. But, in my mind, they are wood structures with wood siding, gently pitched roofs, heavy timbers including support posts, wide eves, with large front porches. Inside they rely on wood finishes with built in bookcases, heavy moulding, and open rooms. I've never owned one, but have always desired to. My grandparents owned a 2 story craftsman that was destroyed in the '71 Sylmar earthquake. It had the most beautiful wrap-around front porch. It had a feel, sound, and smell that is unique to this wonderful style of home.

Petrea said...

Ah, this one's got a sleeping porch. I'd like to have one of those. I'd leave the screens on and use it as it was intended. Lovely.

Mister Earl said...

Petrea: How do you get a porch to sleep? Mine stays up all night. I've tried everything.

Petrea said...

Take off the vinyl windows, Earl. You're going to have to remove that window air conditioner, too. Leave the screens up and let the breeze come in. Then it'll sleep just fine.

Laurie said...

Hey kids,

Thanks for jumping into the challenge, Barbra! I love your shots -- and I updated the post to include you. (Hey, you should come out of lurking more often!)

PA, as for the porch question... I am certainly no expert but I believe a porch is to Craftsman architecture what shoulder pads were to 80s fashion. I don't think there was any book that said they MUST be included, but they are certainly part of the design ethos. The idea of living outside-to-inside was a huge part of the Craftsman tradition. I wrote about what little I know here, but this is a fantastic website on the history and diversity of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Dbdubya, I love that arch on this home's porch because it is so unusual.

Altadenahiker, I want to see your pictures. And I may have to go nudge K over at Jimsonweed to join in. Maybe we can lure him over to this part of town. (I might just bump into him if he shoots here at night! And hey, that's one way of getting to see a Craftsman porch... take picture at night when the porch light is on...)

Thanks for all the comments and participation, fine friends -- P and Mister E, you crack me up. Til tomorrow...

Laurie said...

BTW, Jilly -- I'd love to see a picture of your wooden Australian house!

Keith said...

Beautiful photo's of beautiful homes so far. I'm not avoiding the challenge, time is just not on my side at the moment.

Keith said...

Added my entry today.

Laurie said...

Keith! I'm adding you to the post -- well done, my friend.

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Chris Wilson said...

I'm looking to get the word out on a pretty unique wood light fixture circa 1910 that I helped a friend list on ebay this morning. It's a hard to find item and I'd love to see it go to a home owner and not just sit in an antique lighting shop. It's ebay auction # 300354751671