Friday, October 2, 2020

3 William Morris Volumes Now Available in the TLG Design Library

Along with history and design, one of our favorite pastimes is reading and designing books and publications, and through our publishing arm, American Biblioverken, we've set out to offer some quality paperback editions of important works from the past. 

 Our TLG Design Library now includes 3 volumes, including the latest - William Morris: Some Thoughts on His Life, Work and Influence. This is a newly-created reprint of a long form work about William Morris that originally appeared in The Craftsman magazine in 1901. Published by Gustav Stickley, The Craftsman featured articles about the American Arts & Crafts Movement, as well as home designs and examples of Stickley's popular furniture.

Originally written by Irene Sargent for the magazine, this profile of William Morris was a tribute to the primary role he played in art and design in the late 19th century. This is not a poor scan of an old publication, but an all new, re-designed edition, with an attractive, Morris-inspired cover design that is appropriate to its historic subject.

While they certainly can't match the beauty of a Kelmscott Press product, we feel they provide a far superior product than many of the commonly-available reprints available today, which often deliver a poorly-scanned copy of an old book and an ugly, generic cover that doesn't even relate to the material in the book. The interiors have been designed and typeset in fonts that enhance the material, and best of all, perhaps--the price is lower than most other new editions currently available.

These 6" x 9" editions make a great addition to anyone's bookshelf, and the low price make them great for casual reading on a trip, handy reference, or for students and classrooms. 

6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
82 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1983825606
ISBN-10: 1983825603

HOPES AND FEARS FOR ART /   on Amazon   $9.50    on Amazon UK  £7.00
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
198 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1492919186
ISBN-10: 1492919187

THE ART AND CRAFT OF PRINTING /  on Amazon $7.60   on Amazon UK  £5.00
6" x 9" (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
100 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1493538973
ISBN-10: 1493538977 

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A Long Overdue Porch Project

When I first designed our house and had it built, there wasn't much available in The States in terms of decorative features--at least not in an appropriate Tudor or Old English style. When the style flourished during the early part of the 20th Century, you could find all kinds of plaster and wood architectural detailing available in catalogs, but by 1992 all that was commonly available were variations of Victorian gingerbread or classically-inspired pieces. Cost and time were also factors; our budget was modest for both and all I could manage to make myself during construction were the large corbel brackets that reside under the jettied story above the entrance.

While I'd expect the search for such items to be easier in the UK, it hasn't changed much in the U.S.--unless you want something custom-made or a very expensive antique.

Finally, last year I was able to do exactly that; custom-make a proper Tudor arch for the entry of our house, replacing the gingerbread scrolls that adorned the entry alcove for two-and-a-half decades. Since this had a southern exposure, and with maintenance in mind, I used 1-inch thick Azek board, backed with another inch of white pine, sandwiched together to provide the appropriate width for the small corbels on each side. As you may know, Azek is a PVC material that will last practically forever, never rot, and carves very much like wood. Also, since the trim is to be painted white anyway, it was an easy choice.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

STBA SPAB 2020 Online Sustainability Conference Begins October 6

This year’s STBA and SPAB Conference will take place online over three days focusing on key issues affecting the traditional built environment: embodied carbon, skills and research. The conference will feature some of the UK’s leading speakers to help participants understand the underlying issues, explore potential solutions and then discuss all this together with a Q&A session at the end of each morning.

The online conference is being held via Zoom;  FULL CONFERENCE TICKET is £100 for non-members and £65 for members for all three sessions. The conference is SPAB CPD accredited. Most presentations will last 40 minutes and be in a PowerPoint style. These will be made available after the conference. To register, go to:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

A New Fireplace for The Basement

First of all, allow me to apologize for the long time between posts; it has been a busy year with no shortage of distractions both at home and at work. For now, let me begin anew by recapping some of the progress I have been making down in our basement.

As you may recall, I have already enclosed the area under the stairs for a wine/beer cellar, almost finished a bar-height counter/island, built in some storage closets and enclosed my electrical panel. Across one side of the main room I have constructed a fireplace with two cabinets on either side, which are used not only for storage, but to hide two very large, vintage Pioneer speakers that are part of the music system.

The fireplace. The mantel is extra deep, as the wife likes to decorate it  during the holidays. While the paneling above is nice, it will be covered by a larger, mounted TV in due time.

I had some of the paneled bi-fold doors left over from my island project, and used some of these in the structure above the fireplace mantel; I used two more on the side, which are hinged to open for some extra storage space. The fireplace structure is all framed with 2" x 4" lumber and plywood, as are the cabinets built on either side. For the doors, I simply framed them with 1" x 4" pine and covered the open spaces with an off-white burlap, which allows the sound from the speakers to go right through.

One issue that had to be addressed was access to my water meter and main shut-off, which is located at the bottom of the wall directly behind the fireplace. Our city uses an electronic remote-read device, so we don't have a reader coming into the house anymore, but if they ever replace the system, or I need to shut off the water supply to the house from the inside, I still need to get back there. Since the fireplace is electric (a rustic-looking Duraflame unit that heats and looks rather convincing, if I do say) this was not an insurmountable problem.

The firebox and its decorative frame are separate from the rest of the fireplace surround and can be rolled out to access the water meter and shutoff valve.

What I did was build the firebox as a separate unit that rolls in-and-out on hidden casters, fit into the fireplace opening with a decorative frame attached to it. When in place, it looks permanently attached, though it only take a second to pull the whole thing out and access the meter behind. I covered the inside of the firebox with some leftover floor tile I had from another project, and finished up the fireplace surround with some corbels and a length of decorative exterior molding I had on hand. All in all, my carpentry skills are just passable, but I am happy with the result; it is certainly up to snuff for a basement entertainment space.

One happy footnote to the project was the effect it had on my sound system. My two large speakers date from the mid-1970s; they are 6-way designs, with huge 15" woofers. They weigh a ton, and while they are very, very efficient, they sacrifice some true bottom end as a trade-off in this respect. However, I found that inserting them into an even larger cabinet significantly extended the bass response, to where the sound is more reminiscent of the old Altec-Lansing Voice-of-the-Theater speakers that are so legendary. Combined with the smaller rear speakers I use in the back of the room, the result works for everything from sporting events on the TV to a symphony...or a disco dance party.

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.