Sunday, February 18, 2018

Landmark Trust Works to Save At-Risk Voysey Arts & Crafts Hospital

C.F.A. Voysey
I’ve always been fascinated by the work of C.F.A.Voysey. Regarded as one of the finest and most original architects of the 19th & 20th century Arts & Crafts Movement, his interpretations of vernacular English forms demonstrated his commitment to simplicity, truth in the use of materials and the blending of both craftsmanship and high design.

Early in his career, Voysey utilized many traditional English elements in his work, combining stucco and half-timbering to achieve a comfortable and recognizable effect in his residential designs. Later, he simplified and transformed his concepts, developing highly original plans that reflected vernacular building forms in new and exciting ways. These houses, like Broad Leys, Perrycroft, Greyfriars, and The Orchard – Chorleywood, are the type we most closely associate with him.

Currently, The Landmark Trust is running an appeal to save Winsford Cottage Hospital in Devon, a unique example of an unaltered, purpose-built Victorian cottage hospital. Built by wealthy philanthropist Maria Medley as a gift to the local community, it enabled ordinary people to receive affordable medical treatment near to their homes for the first time.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Restoring an Akron Classic: Hackberry House

Editor’s Note: Charlotte and Michael Gintert are proud to call Akron, Ohio their home, and those of us who have followed their journey as they settled back into the area after several years abroad are very happy that they have returned. As Charlotte is an expert photographer, she often posts photos online—not only from their past travels, but also many local subjects that she has rediscovered since returning to Northeast Ohio. Of course, it was the photos of their remarkably preserved 1920’s Tudor revival home that caught my eye, and she was only too happy to provide some details as well as photos of the house upon request.

The home's Entrance Hall is warm and welcoming.
TLG: What made you choose this house?

Charlotte: My husband and I were being relocated back to Akron in August 2017 after living in Europe for six years for his position at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. We came to Akron in May to look at available houses. This house was listed for sale the day before we were scheduled to fly in from Germany. The listing was still very basic, they hadn’t even photographed the interior yet, but we both had a feeling it was going to be the one for us. Akron has a large quantity of Tudor revival homes, probably thanks to Stan Hywet’s presence, and we’ve always dreamed of owning one of Akron’s Tudors. While we looked at several other houses, this one was something very special. Not only is it a Tudor, but it had been lovingly preserved by the previous owners. Unlike all the other houses we looked at, it hadn’t been remodeled to have a modern open floor plan. Almost everything was original or had been replaced by period correct pieces. Most people would balk at such a house, but historic preservation is very important to us. We felt a kinship with the owners, and delighted at the chance to continue the legacy of keeping a 1920’s Tudor as it was designed. We knew if we bought another house we would regret passing this one up because another buyer would probably end up gutting it.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

OLD BOOKS, NEW REVIEWS: Architecture of The Arts & Crafts Movement

Let me just say it: Great Old Books on Architecture are like crack to those who love to read and collect them. While there continues to be a decent stream of new works that fit within my areas of interest, I simply can’t say no when the opportunity arises to pick up an older volume at a good price. My shelves are full of former well-worn public library volumes that have been cast off, and it gives me great pleasure to know I can preserve them for both myself and others.

The book includes a number of illustrations and floor plans.

Such is Architecture of The Arts and Crafts Movement, by Peter Davey, originally published in 1980 by Rizzoli. Some readers may be familiar with the more recent (20 years! - LOL) 1997 book Arts and Crafts Architecture by the same author, which is a typically beautiful Phaidon volume with exquisite layout and beautiful color photography.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Highlighting The Not-So-Lost Arts: Allan T. Adams - Architectural Illustrator

I have previously noted how much I have always enjoyed the work of Sydney R. Jones (1881-1966) whose fabulous illustrations grace the pages of books like The Manor Houses of England, The Village Homes of England, Old Houses in Holland and How to Draw Houses, which I have previously highlighted on this site. In a similar fashion, I have also collected some of the works by R. J. Brown, whose pen-and-ink drawings of vernacular houses and village buildings add so much to the descriptions found in English Village Architecture, English Farmhouses, and The English Country Cottage.

In this age of photography and wondrous digital effects, the sublime results that can be gained via the illustrator’s trained hand are often forgotten. Yet there are few substitutes for the range of evocative feelings that can be elicited from a fine pencil or pen-and-ink drawing.

Allan T. Adams - Illustrator

Recently I have had the opportunity to marvel at the skill of an architectural illustrator who has found his way onto my Twitter feed—Allan T. Adams. Just as I was thinking that the only source of fine illustrations of ancient English buildings were old books, his work has renewed my enthusiasm for this art form and provided much enjoyment.

Allen T. Adams - Illustrator

Mr. Adams has much experience illustrating historic buildings, as he is retired from Historic England (formerly English Heritage) having worked on a number of projects, such as reconstruction drawings.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Stan Hywet Celebrates with Deck The Halls 2017

One of the highlights of the local holiday season is Stan Hywet’s annual Deck The Halls celebration, which is one of Ohio’s largest and most spectacular holiday traditions. The celebration runs from December 14-23 and December 26-30.

A million lights ensure that the holiday season always remains merry and bright.
The former Seiberling estate is illuminated inside and out with over ONE MILLION lights and this year, the historic Manor House is decorated and inspired by the theme of  Postcards from the Past. DAZZLE is a fantastic outdoor light show choreographed to three new songs this year and Gingerbread Land, the popular play garden has also been “dressed up” for the holiday season as well.

As always, the Great Hall is decked out in its holiday finest.
This year, the celebration is bigger and better than ever, and includes:

•Nightly tree lighting at 5:30pm. After Christmas, look for the Gingerbread Man.

•Live music in the Music Room, courtesy of area choirs and musicians.

•Self-guided tours of the Manor House included in ticket purchase.

•Freshly baked gingerbread cookies, savory warm pretzels, cocoa, hot cider, beer and wine for purchase in the Courtyard.

•Enjoy all of the above treats at the cozy warming fire in the Courtyard.

•Visit with Santa and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the Corral in the Courtyard.

•Take a family photo at two featured photo spots—perfect for that family holiday picture.

•Marvel at our new animated Gingerbread Bakeshop Window in the Courtyard.

•The tropical Corbin Conservatory is beautifully decorated for Christmas with a 20ft poinsettia tree.

•Shop for unique holiday gifts in Molly’s Shop.

•Enjoy light fare or a sweet treat in Molly’s CafĂ© after your tour.

For more information, go to:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Christmas Comes and The Cats Carry On

The joy of floodlights. No climbing on ladders to hang lights from the gutters.
As Christmas approaches this year, I’m rather happy that I have managed to keep ahead of the holiday decorating. When the children were small, I usually started breaking out Christmas trees, lights, nutcrackers and all the other holiday gimcracks on the day after Thanksgiving, in the hope that I could get the balance of it done by the end of that weekend. As they have grown up (and one has left home) my efforts have gradually slipped into early-December; while there are some traditional decorations that must go up every year, there are always a few that have been forgotten or fallen out of favor.

The Nutcracker Army stands at attention. I think the cats find them intimidating.
One year, we had four full-size Christmas trees in the house—the primary tree in the bay window in the front room, the traditional “children's tree” (covered with Disney, Muppet, Looney Tunes etc.) in the family room, a basic "lights-and-balls” tree in the sun porch, and a large old tree passed down from my in-laws, which was erected in the basement one year and covered with tinsel, white lights and a host of those old-fashioned, blown-glass German-style bulbs. That was not long after we moved into the house; we had the basement partially fixed-up for kids to play in, and we invited all my aunts, uncles and cousins over. Note: My mother was from a family of twelve, and I have at least 64 first-cousins, so you may understand when I tell you we only did this once.

The foyer, with it's nutcrackers and much-abused floor.
Currently we had been hosting my three older brothers and their families for Christmas on a rotating basis every three years—now my nephews and nieces are beginning to join the entertaining queue, since it has become more of a challenge for my aging siblings and the younger generations are eager to pick up the slack. This is an “off” year for us, but we do plan on doing some entertaining over the holidays, and our daughter will also be coming home from Manhattan Christmas week.