Posted on | February 7, 2013 | No Comments
Check out these wonderful articles and photos detailing the careful restoration of the McDonald Mansion, courtesy of our friends at Rynerson O’Brien Architecture.
First, the exterior:
Next, check out the interior for some real eye-candy!
Be sure to click on the links for the complete articles and all of the wonderful pictures!
Posted on | November 12, 2012 | No Comments
As you may know already, one of the challenges we face periodically here at B&B is the reproduction of old original document papers for clients. And although we’ve offered this service for well over 30 years, it’s still a challenge we enjoy taking on. One such project was our recent reproduction of a 1933 bedroom paper for the Rancho Los Alamitos in Long Beach, Ca.
Our contact for the project, Pam Young Lee (Curator of Collections at the Rancho) sent us a little history of this unique site and the room in which the paper was installed.
“Rancho Los Alamitos is an historic site in Long Beach, California. The site’s history stretches back to the indigenous people who first inhabited the area, as well as the Spanish and Mexican colonizers of California, on up to the American settlement of the area. From Spanish times onward, the site was a cattle ranch. A modest adobe ranch house was built around 1800. Succeeding ranchers modified and added to the adobe core over time. In 1968, the last ranching family donated 7 ½ acres of Rancho Los Alamitos, including the ranch house, barns, and gardens to the City of Long Beach and the site opened to the public in 1970. The award-winning historic site has been maintained and operated by the Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation since 1986.
Several years ago, the staff and board of directors made the decision to restore one of the bedrooms in the ranch house – an area that had suffered water damage and was “out of step” with the rest of the restored interiors. The area under restoration included the adobe-walled bedroom, as well as a wood-frame alcove or sunroom on the south side of the bedroom, added in about 1909. The restoration called for the bedroom to be restored to an appearance and period consistent with the rest of the ranch house interiors using photographs, historical records, oral histories, and scientific examination of materials.
Using samples of wallpaper “excavated” from the bedroom, as well as an artist’s tracing and color rendering, and input from the experts at B&B, the historic paper from c. 1933 was recreated. We know the paper is from about 1933, because Long Beach experienced a devastating earthquake that year. While the 130-year-old ranch house only suffered light damage, the owner at the time took the precaution of coating the interior adobe walls with three inches of Gunite. The wallpaper chosen to be reproduced was the first layer on top of the Gunite. The Foundation began serious fund-raising and grant-writing for the bedroom restoration project in 2009. With funds from the Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association, the Evelyn M. Bauer Foundation, the Rotary Club of Lakewood, the RLA Foundation, and in-kind donations from America West Termite, the floor to ceiling restoration of the Bixby girls’ bedroom began in the spring of 2012. B&B reproduced the wallpaper and shipped it to Rancho Los Alamitos in late summer 2012. It’s been hung. It looks just like the historic photograph.
The Foundation’s contractors and staff are putting finishing touches to the bedroom now.”
You can go to the Rancho’s website for tour schedules and admission, www.rancholosalamitos.org
We would like to thank the staff at the Rancho for the opportunity to work with them in restoring the room to it’s 1933 appearance.
Posted on | August 20, 2012 | No Comments
Just a “teaser” post to give you a sneak peek at the Bruce J. Talbert room set available in a couple of weeks…
But FIRST, our “inaugural” room was recently hung in Alameda in a historic Queen Anne home designed by the prolific American architect George F. Barber.
Barber was enormously successful in marketing his work by mail order, offering designs for houses, barns, store fronts, churches and pavilions. His real success in this was his willingness to alter any of his designs to the customer’s specific needs or desires, encouraging them to write his firm for any changes as much as they wished, adding that they “were not easily offended”. His tailored approach to architecture lead to thousands of satisfied customers, and dozens of variations of the same designs, which has made identifying actual Barber designs by historians today a little more challenging. A quick web search though turned up several versions of this same design, (#27 in Barber’s Cottage Souvenir), from points all around the country. Among the things in common to all these examples is the charming dual-approach onto the front porch and the port-holed turrets.
So we’re very happy to have found such a fine historic home to hang our new suite of wallpapers designed by yet another talented and innovative Victorian architect, one from the “other side of the pond”, Bruce J. Talbert. So below is the promised peek at the ceiling of our new Talbert set, a portion of the room set that was NOT on display earlier this year at the San Francisco Legion of Honor, (if you got to see it there at the Cult of Beauty exhibit).
So what’s up there?? You’re seeing the Flora Ceiling Paper surrounded by the Flora Ceiling Border, with a Flora Corner Block laid between the angled turns. If you look carefully you can see that the lead paper hanger responsible for this beautiful installation, Heidi Wright Mead, expertly “wove” the branches of the vine in the border to disguise the miters there, (wow!). The Clematis Frieze can also be seen here on the wall just below the plaster cornice in this picture.
And lastly a shot from our photo shoot a week ago, (with camera equipment in the foreground)!
So there you go! Two great architects in one historic setting.
Posted on | March 5, 2012 | 2 Comments
Since the awakening of the “Victorian” revival in the 1960′s and the subsequent interest in the Arts & Crafts movement that has followed in its wake, much has been written and “rediscovered” about the influential work of the great British design reformers. Retrospectives of the period can often give a new enthusiast of these revivals the impression that William Morris was somehow the singular source of it all. Now while the “improved” results of late 19th century design reformation certainly owe a great debt to Morris and his imprint, there were many of his contemporaries that were stirring the pot of design reform with equal vigor and affecting popular taste both at home and abroad as well. One of these was the Scottish born Bruce James Talbert (1838-1881).
Talbert’s training began early on as a woodcarver, but he later transitioned over to architecture. He worked in several different offices in Glasgow, and won some public acclaim there as a designer. In 1862 Talbert moved to Manchester and began designing furniture for Doveston Bird & Hull, and later at Art Manufactures in Coventry where he worked up drawings for George Gilbert Scott’s High Victorian Albert Memorial. He soon made the move to fashionable London, where he began to build his reputation as a furniture designer and decorator. He won a silver medal at the Paris Exhibition of 1867, and fueled by his growing success he published his Gothic Forms Applied to Furniture, Metal Work, and Decoration for Domestic Purposes that same year. The eventual popularity of Talbert’s work internationally is evidenced by this Boston reprint of Gothic Forms from 1873…
Illustrated among the 3o original plates in Gothic Forms was this exhibition cabinet shown in Paris, demonstrating Talbert’s principles of “solid, honest construction” (in this case, of native English oak with shallow inlays). As is the case with many of his furniture designs, his appreciation for his earlier craft as a woodcarver can often be seen.
Talbert was becoming one of the “earliest professional furniture designers to become known internationally” (The Oxford Companion to the Decorative Arts). Even before he opened his London studio he became a much sought after industrial designer and was producing an imaginative variety of designs for furniture, textiles, metalwork, stained glass, and wallpaper for some of Britain’s finest manufacturers.
His second book, Examples of Ancient & Modern Furniture, Metal Work, Tapestries, Etc. published in 1876, again became a tastemaker’s guide and would again be reprinted in the States, (this version again by James Osgood in Boston).
In Examples Talbert displays more of his virtuosity in designing for the domestic interior, incorporating Tudor, Jacobean, Georgian as well as the Japanese influence so popular during the Aesthetic Movement (thanks in part to Talbert himself).
The above “Detail for Wall Papering with Frieze and Dado” was a tripartite set of patterns “designed for Messrs, Jeffrey & Warner”. His wallpaper colorings, (like the constructional polychromy of his furniture), were wonderfully harmonious, sophisticated and could “melt” seamlessly into a room’s color scheme without demanding center stage. An example of his color harmony can be seen in this particular suite of Talbert’s wallpapers, (newly reproduced by Bradbury & Bradbury), which is now being featured as part of the current Cult of Beauty exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. Its undulating vines and boughs combine in soft sage greens, russet and sprinklings of metallic gold throughout for a natural and delicate balance.
The colors are said to have been taken by Talbert from Japanese block prints, that were so much the rage in London at the time, and offered some of the subtle tertiary hues the tasteful Aesthetics (like Talbert) recommended for wall colors. His colorings and patterns for wallpaper were so popular that Talbert “knock offs” filled the books of wallpaper manufacturers through the 1870s and 80s.
Sadly Bruce Talbert’s prolific output may have ultimately contributed to his undoing. Overwork and the constant demands of manufacture apparently lead to the alcoholism that claimed him at the height of his career in 1881, at only 43 years of age.
Although a Victorian with his early design roots nurtured in the soil of Gothicism, Talbert was considered by those who have studied his work to be one of the real progenitors of the Arts & Crafts movement. His guiding principles of simplicity, honesty of workmanship and design, his palette inspired by the natural world, along with a pursuit of timeless beauty were all being championed by designers and architects 30 years after his death and have found a renewed interest today by those being initiated into the Arts & Crafts revival.keep looking »