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

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March 3, 2015

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White Walls – Black Roof – Best Architectural Style for your Home ???

La Spec House

White house, black gabled roof, multi paned windows, throw in a few cute dormers.  On the inside you will have the traditional layout of living room, dining room, expanded kitchen slash family room.  The floors will be dark stained hardwood and the walls will be versions of white.  Is this your fantasy home ?  The “hot” style in west Los Angeles and other areas of the country.  Sort of a shabby chic meets New England a la LA!

Don’t get me wrong, I like lots of different styles of homes.  I wouldn’t build this home for myself, but that’s why its called “custom” home building.  I grew up in a home in Connecticut, built in the 1800’s, a “colonial revival.” Litchfield, Connecticut is a whole town of white houses with black shutters.  (Hey note to spec builders – you forgot the black shutters)  This is what professional “spec” builders (people who build homes to re sell) are doing in Los Angeles.  If they are doing it right, it means they are building something that has a wide appeal while maximizing their profit.  Lots of things come into play – just as they do for every job.

  • Local housing market
  • Zoning rules
  • Architectural style
  • Cost of construction

Building in a rural area with more land – you probably wouldn’t build a sub terranian garage, but it might be the best way to get what you want in a dense sub urban area like this one.

The side view shows the below grade garage.   This is a way to get more square footage within the zoning rules in Los Angeles, and more square footage equals more value which means more money to the “spec’ builder.  Obviously the west side of Los Angeles is very expensive.  This house was bought a year ago for $1.4 m – torn down – and the new house is for sale at $4.5m   6500 sf of house on a 7200 sf lot !

LA spec house

Inside – the floors are dark stained wood – lots of white !

LA spec house3

Earthships – Green, Cheap and Cool

If you haven’t heard of Earthships – check out this video !

I first became aware of Earthships in Rico Colorado years ago.  They’re unique like no other home.  Even if they are not for you – there is lots to be learned by the study Michael Reynolds has done over the years.