Craftsman Love – The Gamble House

I have to admit – I am a Gamble addict.  Gamble House, that is.  Today I toured the house for the 6th time and I’ll go again one day.  Built in 1908 for the the Gambles (Proctor and Gamble), the home was designed by Henry and Charles Greene.

Described by today’s tour guide as a Swiss Chalet with Japanese influence in the Craftsman style.   This home, along with Falling Water and a few others, is one of the most important examples of high concept design in the United States.  If you are into homes – you must see the Gamble house !

The “attic” framing – apparently only used for storage – check out the detail in this room – the clear grain lumber – Port Orford Cedar – cloud lift on the king post, pegs, steel straps, splines, eased edges


The framing on this house provides structural and finish at the same time

The exterior framing is just as impressive – each and every beam is treated as a finished piece of wood, carved, shaped, eased, pegged and fitted – much like a ship

The Greenes also designed gorgeous furniture throughout the house – this master bedroom detail using the “tsuba” (from the shape of the guard on a Samurai sword) in ebony and the abstraction of an iris flower.

Silver inlay on chair

Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !

I’d seen signs for the Winchester House on the drive to San Francisco many times.  This time I stopped.

  • 160 rooms
  • 47 fireplaces
  • 10,000 panes of glass
  • 950 doors
  • 600 remodeling phases


Wow !   I’ve worked on some long remodels before, but Mrs. Winchester takes the cake !

The Backstory

Sarah married William Wirt Winchester, the heir and President of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company.  There was serious money in guns!  After their baby daughter died of a rare disease, Mr. Winchester died of TB.  In search of the reasons for all the bad luck in her life, Sarah sought out a psychic.  Told that the bad luck was due to all the angry souls of the dead from the Winchester guns, the solution was to move west and build a house and never stop building so that the ghosts could never take residence !  What a story !  Well, she believed it and spent the next 38 years building.

The Cash

Luckily, the death of her husband left her well off.

  • She inherited $20 million in 1866 !
  • Owned half the stock in the company giving her $1,000 a day income – today that equals about $30,000
  • She spent $5.5 million fixing up the house – today about $ 75m

The house was 7 stories before the 1906 earthquake – now its 4 stories and she closed off a whole side of the house that had been damaged and left it. Continue reading “Winchester House – 38 year long remodel !”