Monday, February 23, 2009

Deco in Blue


Moving away from the Craftsman Challenge set forth by Laurie in South Pasadena, this house is a rarity in Willits. Although it's without much of the embellishment associated with Art Deco, this building includes many of the elements that followed on from the post-Craftsman era. Extremely simple and lean in comparison to the woody struts and and natural materials of Craftsman design, and even further removed from the lacy Victorians, the glass brick flanking the front door was a huge leap in visual ideas. Also note the oval curve of the front step overhang. This is located across the street from the Van Hotel, under several big redwood trees. The booklet that told me about Churchill staying at the Van tells me this was constructed on the site of the old Hiram Willits farmstead in 1936. That must have been a shock. The former Willits house was a two-story Victorian dating back to the pioneer's settlement of 1857. Now, in its turn, this house is historic as well.

15 comments:

Laurie said...

I adore this home. What a great find! It looks all at once out of place AND right at home. Wonderful, Elaine.

Petrea said...

I love these deco buildings. We have a few in Pasadena I've been wanting to shoot. You've inspired me to make that happen.

Halcyon said...

I love art deco style. This is a wonderful example - even if it doesn't have all the embelishments.

Abe Lincoln said...

I stopped and read your blog and looked at the photograph. I just wanted you to know.

Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Love the way this home is shaded.

The Critic said...

Surrounded by redwoods but such tiny windows. About that questionable color selection, New England Blue? Flat roofs are a nightmare in upkeep. I do like the cat.

Kris said...

My home town of Burnie had its boom in the 1930s to 1950s, so this looks very familiar to me. Blue was pretty popular too...

Jacob said...

So very interesting. I would have probably driven right by and not given it a second thought. No more.

Thanks!

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I like the cat too. I'd choose champaign pink for the color and something attractive around the sides of the house. Yes and get rid of the shinny brass feature.

Kim said...

What a sweet find, Elaine. I love those small details that date and give such character to a place.
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

USelaine said...

Laurie - There are wonderful examples of this style in Sacramento, but I can't think of any others in Willits, especially since the auto service place has been torn down and replaced with contemporary buildings. This seems to be our only "style bridge".

P - You and Laurie have shown a wealth of them, it seems to me (that curved corner hotel/apartment building?). I look forward to more.

Halcyon - Whoever owns this has kept it in great conditions. Maybe they refurbished it. (I wonder if the interior is still in period.)

Abe - Thank you.

A.D. - I do too! Our summers can get oppressively hot, and this has great big redwoods to the east, south, and west to absorb all that solar energy. I have a redwood on one corner of my lot, but it's on the north! No help for shade!

Critic - It has a bigger front window that you can't see very well in this shot. You don't like the color? I do.

Kris - It would be interesting to see how the style translated in Tasmania. Are there any in Hobart?

Jacob - Thank you too. This is pretty well screened from the busy streets, by a fence and the redwoods, so it would be easy to miss.

PA - You know, the cat was a happy surprise. I didn't even see it until I looked at my photos enlarged on my computer. It has its back to the street, which seems unusual. Most cats are more centurion-like, looking out at the world. One thing about redwood roots is they can make it hard to plant anything else with them sometimes. I give the owners points for drought-tolerance.

Kim - I was glad to find the history of this place. It makes the building today even more interesting. As you would guess, Hiram Willits gave his name to our town, so even without the house, the lot matters.

Thanks everyone!

eric said...

Thanks for this. That building has been numerous things over the years, including a music studio for Lap Dance Records (not sure if you ever heard of Tubesteak Jones, but they were a local ska/funk band), but I never really knew its history.

Kris said...

Elaine, there are a few art deco houses in the suburb of New Town, but age has not treated them well.

The Hydro-Electric Commission building in the CBD is a good example of an art deco larger building. I'll have to post a picture.

USelaine said...

Eric - Thanks for the additional info. I used to see Tubesteak Jones bumper stickers around, but I never heard them myself.

Kris - Like any other style, they would need ongoing maintenance. It would be a shame to lose all of them.

Benjamin Madison said...

Very interesting - now you've got me thinking about where in Victoria I've seen some art deco houses...hmmmm.