“E.E. Green: Bungalow Architect in British Columbia and Washington State” by Colin Barr
This is the second in a three part blog on the lectures I attended, sponsored by Historic Seattle on 14 September on the Arts & Crafts movement. The first was on the business practices of Gustav Stickley, Part 3 is on choosing appropriate colors for your home.
Elmer Ellsworth Green was born in Waseca MN in 1861 and moved out west to Victoria BC before moving to Seattle at the turn of the century. Mr. Barr has been cataloging his work ever since he bought an E. E. Green home. While this talk focused on Green, the man as architect, I would instead like to look at his homes and details. We will begin to identify those elements which identify Arts & Crafts homes or are taken from the movement and incorporated after the movement subsided. Certainly this blog should show you some typical details to look for in homes in your own neighborhood.
Bloss House, 4055 S. Holgate, Seattle WA
This home, built in 1915, is a Seattle Landmark; the photos used are from that application. The vegetation is grown up around the house but there are some obvious details that label this an Arts & Crafts house and more specifically an E.E. Green house. From this contemporary view you see clearly the double engaged gable (the two peaks of the roof where the trim or barge boards “hold hands” at the low point of the gables.) This double treatment of the gables and the engagement of one with the other is a typical E.E. Green detail. Also, although it is harder to see, the ends of the barge boards have a saw-cut detail which adds to the character of the house, especially at the point where they join. This is a modest bungalow. Arts & Crafts bungalows are often asymmetrical with one side being a porch such as the Bloss House. There are usually vertical members which look like columns on the exterior (but aren’t). These give the impression that the owner at some time in the past, enclosed a portion of the porch on the left hand side of this house to gain additional living space inside the house. That is not the case. The plans always included the enclosure of the room on the left as you can see in the early picture below.
In this 1920′s photo, you can see more of the details without all the vegetation. Notice the the double gable and the engaged barge boards. You also can see more clearly the open porch segment and the vertical members that make the left hand enclosure look like a later enclosure–but wasn’t. Notice the foundations of brick which are splayed to meet the ground solidly–more so than if they had vertical sides. Make special note of the brick foundation, the shingle siding on the body of the house and the darker and unpainted end gable. We will come back to that in our third part of this series when we talk about color and the Arts & Crafts home.
The interiors have dark (usually) wood trim and a lot of it–coffered ceilings, built in storage cabinets in the dining room and the living room usually around a fireplace, pocket doors, wide trim around the doors etc. This house is also exceptional because the kitchen is virtually intact. (I admit I would have remodeled it long ago, but this owner didn’t.)
You can see more photos of this house in its Landmark application at http://www.seattle.gov/neighborhoods/preservation/documents/LPBCurrentNom_BlossGraphics.pdf
Pretty interesting stuff! I learned a lot and I already can tell that I look at my own neighborhood differently. There are Arts & Crafts details everywhere as my neighborhood was originally built up in the 1910′s–the hey day of the movement.
My friend recommended that Mr. Barr write an article for HistoryLink (compilation of articles on the history of Seattle and surrounds) as there is almost nothing there about him.
“Elmer Ellsworth Green or Edward Earl Green: Who contributed to The Books of a Thousand Homes?” Antique Home Style (http://www.antiquehomestyle.com/plans/architects/eegreen.htm : accessed 16 September 2013).