The Winter 2014 edition of American Bungalow magazine is out now, and I’m excited to have contributed three articles to the issue. The first is a feature article titled “A Family Bond: Craftsmanship Is In The Blood” (found on pages 78-89) about the home of Austin and Laura Whipple, owners of Scout Books, a custom-printed craft notebook company, located in Portland, Oregon (below). After living for a few years in a small apartment they had built in the warehouse of their printing business, the time was right for them to seek out a larger space for them and their two young daughters.
The article tells the story of how Austin & Laura found the house, and the complete transformation that the home underwent under the skillful watch of master carpenter (and father to Austin), Rodger Whipple. Here’s an excerpt that lays the groundwork:
“There’s a beautiful old Craftsman style-apartment building directly across the street from our office,” Austin says, “and my father and I would often sit outside and admire it when he would come up to visit.” The building was managed by an elderly woman who lived immediately next door to it in a compact, single-story, dormerless Cape Cod–style house. In 2010, she passed away, and the house was listed for sale.
So in July 2011, Austin and Laura bought the house and set out to make it their own, knowing full well that it needed a complete overhaul. They had an idea of the features they wanted to incorporate and approached Austin’s father, Rodger, to come up with a design for the restoration…
The design that Rodger so skillfully executed transformed the tiny 800 square foot cottage, originally built in 1930, into a genuine Portland Craftsman home by adding shingled siding, a flared skirt, and broad overhanging eaves, as well as a 500 sq ft addition to the second floor.
Rodger Whipple, a designer and builder, is also the subject of my second article in the issue (found on pages 86-87) – a sidebar that accompanies the main article above – that highlights his career of more than 45 years of experience working almost exclusively in the Arts and Crafts style. Throughout his career, Rodger has been a serial restorationist, and his philosophy on preservation is one that we can all take a lesson from:
“I truly think that people need to know that you can do something beautiful with anything. If you look across the country, there’s a tremendous amount of homes that need to be saved and revisited, but it doesn’t happen often enough because there are many people who feel it’s easier and more lucrative to just knock a building down and put something new in its place. And that’s really a shame, because if everything is always just about the money, then architecture and craftsmanship might as well be dead.”
Having grown up in Pasadena and worked on countless homes throughout Southern California, as well as up and down the rest of the West Coast, Rodger has seen and done just about everything when it comes to period homes of the early 1900s. One of the projects that he’s most proud of is an authentic Greene & Greene design that was originally commissioned by the F.W. Hawks family in 1906. The Hawks family, however, ultimately opted for a different design, so the home was never built.
Fast-forward a little over 100 years… Rodger acquired copies of the original plans from the Greene & Greene archives and built the home – which has been nicknamed The Lilac House – on a 5 acre property outside of rural Jacksonville, Oregon. He also built a separate three-car garage with guest house (above) that’s modeled after the garage at the iconic Blacker House. The result is dramatic and unique, as it is the only such home of its kind. I’m slated to write an upcoming article on this house for a future issue of American Bungalow, so keep an eye out for that…
My final contribution to this issue is the Arts & Crafts Profile about the Tiger Rug Company (found on pages 106-107). Based in Rhode Island, Tiger Rug has been importing quality, custom, hand-knotted carpets from Nepal for over 15 years.
Owners Stephen & Elizabeth Putney fell in love with antiques and furnishings in their childhood, and leveraged Stephen’s experience as a rug and furniture sales rep and Elizabeth’s business background to follow their dreams.
As the company has grown over the years, they’ve never let go of the idea that quality and customer satisfaction is what keeps people coming back again and again.
“Folks want and deserve to have something that no one else has because it makes their bungalow truly unique,” says Elizabeth. “If we provide our customers with exactly what they’ve been searching for, then we know we’ve done our job.
“There is no greater value than buying once and buying well. One of the most satisfying aspects of our business is hearing back from customers who tell us their carpet is much nicer than they anticipated. This short, sweet sentiment is music to our ears.”
That’s all for now, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated on any contributions I have for upcoming issues of American Bungalow. If you’re not already a subscriber to the magazine, it’s never too late to start. You can subscribe to the print edition of the magazine and/or the all-new digital edition - click here for more information. Or, you can always pick up the current issue on newsstands now!
If you’ve read the articles, I’d love to get your reaction to them, so please leave a comment below!