Thursday, June 7, 2007

Architectural Mash-Ups

Dwell Magazine has a article in this month's issue called "Mid-Century Mash-Ups" that highlights a San Franciso Victorian that was updated in the 50s with all sorts of cool built-ins and other mid-century details. The article got me thinking about my love-hate relationship with the Jewel of Hollywood's two competing eras.

The back of the Jewel was built in 1916 and appears to have been born a Craftsman, as evidenced by the mouldings around some of the upstairs door frames and ceiling of the master bath. But somebody must have had a windfall in the 50s, because the house got a thorough re-do around that time. They squared off all the ceilings (bye, bye mouldings) and doorframes, and made an addition to the front of the house that removed any trace of what was probably your traditional Craftsman porch.

So, part of me sees this as a tragic bastardization of an original Craftsman. But there's this other part of me that can't believe how lucky I am to have a house that fulfills two competing parts of my own taste. I mean, who wouldn't want to restore an original craftsman? On the other hand, how cool is it to be able to go crazy mid-century on a house, bring in modern elements and make a swanky, loungy, edgy kind of place? We are lucky enough to get to do both in one house.

When we were crashing at Celia & Jim's downtown loft, I read some of Celia's House Beautiful magazines -- though I thought it was a little weird that someone who lived in this amazing loft with huge windows and industrial floors subscribed to House Beautiful, but then Celia is a woman of many mysteries. Anyway, I read a couple articles about these people who built amazing new homes on ridiculously huge properties in fabulous neighborhoods. In one of the articles, the architect had purposely designed the house to look as though it had an addition. He said something to the effect of, 'If you look at some of these older homes, they start out small and people add on, so I wanted that to character to be part of this design." In another of the articles, the interior designer purposely mis-matched some of the paneling and the wallpaper so that it would look as though pieces had been added over time.

What these people are trying to achieve is something that we've got in spades at the Jewel, and that's character. You KNOW the jewel is not a McMansion. And that's really the beauty of living in an architectural hybrid.

The bottom line -- at least for me is -- don't fight it. Embrace it.


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