Clarence Bungalow

Modern-Day Mission Style: A Home with True Craftsman Character

STORY BY CHRIS HILL     PHOTOS BY MATT BROWN

 From color schemes to textures, the design and decor of a family room should echo and help fulfill the room’s purpose.  And when the Arts & Crafts style meets the demands of a family room, the result is a combination of natural elements, local materials, and local crafts and traditions. In July of 2010, a 1955 Clarence, NY Craftsman Bungalow (pictured) underwent a design transformation complete with a 600-square-foot indoor/outdoor addition making it into a true Arts & Crafts Bungalow.

Together with the expertise of an Interior Designer, they made every effort to preserve the home’s original footprint, while adding practical touches that meet the needs of their lifestyle. The    family room is a glimpse into how the Arts & Crafts style is achieved using modern-day products that offer practicality, creativity, and beauty.

     Typically, unless it’s been remodeled, a       bungalow has two or three bedrooms, one bathroom, an ample living room that flows into the dining room, kitchen, and often a full basement. Some may have a partial second floor for added space. What they lack in size, they more than make up for in charm and character. Whole neighborhoods are now being designated as historic districts and competition to buy these small gems is fierce in many cities. It is not uncommon for today’s bungalow owner to embark on an addition to enlarge a kitchen or add on a family room given the limited square footage of the traditional layout.  In July of 2010, the homeowners hired local architect Gerald Shaffer to construct a 600-foot addition of an indoor/outdoor family room and covered porch.  Smartly, the plans included a 16-foot ceiling to give the indoor space an air of height above the cozy 13 x 15, 195 square foot floor plan.

     The homeowners then visited local merchant Kittinger Gallery on Transit Road in Williamsvilleto help them achieve their passion for an Arts & Crafts style in their new family room. In July of 2010, they met Interior Designer Robert Styles, who determined that the family was looking for low-maintenance, indoor/outdoor living to best maximize their smaller-scale space.  One of the many talents Robert brings to his clients is his ability to appreciate the economy of a space--to measure and evaluate the clients, and then determine what sort of use the furniture will endure.  The sofa chaise, for instance, was carefully and strategically chosen for its ability to perfectly accommodate  the couple after a long day’s work.  It is sized for the two to lounge comfortably, and the chaise itself is even reversible depending on the orientation of the TV, fireplace, or focal point of the room.  The use of a swivel chair allows conversation with guests in either the kitchen space or the family room. Every piece is chosen for utility and beauty, the Craftsman philosophy alive and at work.  “This is a happy room, not a show space,”  Robert adds.  “The room is about life and living. It’s the couple’s ‘go-to’ room. It is always filled with life, through every season.”  

The homestead is nestled on a scenic, wooded 2-acres,    overlooking an idyllic stream and frequently visited by a variety of Clarence’s wildlife.  Some of the most noteworthy connections to the Arts & Crafts tradition are found on the walls, windows, and floors. Designer Robert Styles used C2 Paint’s color palette to brainstorm and select all of the room’s natural color influences. For colors and textures, Robert was inspired by the natural elements of earth, water, and fire.  The earthy-elegant tones are found in the neutrals of the granite countertop, the fresh greens of the Brocade Hemp rug, the bone-colored Hunter Douglas blinds covering Marvin windows, and C2 paint’s Corn Silk-colored ceiling. Elements of water stream in through the navy Harden sofa-chaise, cobalt pendant lights, and homeowner’s cherished collection of Polish Stonewear Pottery in blue danube.  Fire-tones blaze on the room’s perimeter walls in C2’s “Bamboozled, and in the gorgeous rich reds of the Candlelight Cabinetry. “The darkest and warmest element of the home is the family room. It is the red heart of the house,” Robert says.  He intentionally chose the “Magna View” blinds to allow the family to enjoy an expanded view of their yard through a 4-inch slat.  The blinds mount and tilt closed like a standard 2-inch blind, but when tilted open, the slats nest together, doubling your view.  And the view from “the heart” is breathtaking. “I wanted to bring the outside in,” he concludes.

     Not only do the colors, textures, and materials welcome in the

  natural world, the products themselves were all purchased from local merchants. And, many of the products wear an eco-friendly label, giving relevance to the home’s modern Craftsman style. From the eco-friendly, recycled aluminum of the blinds, to the fast-growing, renewable fibers of the 100% Brocade rug, to C2 paint’s low-VOC composition, Robert selected products that would beautify and preserve the natural world that so inspired his design. Details like the proper scale of a sofa chaise, the degree of swivel of a recliner, or the slat width of the window blinds can significantly enhance the quality of everyday life--especially in a family room, a space intended for conversation, relaxation, lounging, and the making of memories together.  Robert’s design carries throughout the entire home, keeping consistent the mission-style trends he so successfully captured in the family room.  The homeowner’s passion for living a true Craftsman lifestyle has been expressed through this bungalow’s Interior Design. The Arts & Crafts tradition is still THRiVing in Clarence, New York.!  

     Chris Hill lives in East Amherst with her husband Tom and their three children.  Their local company, Evanhill Paint distributes C2 Paint throughout the Western New York region. C2 Paint can be found in beautiful homes around the country and at evanhillpaint.com.

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