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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Hopkins, Una Nixson
Plaster houses in the Southwest,   pp. 420-425 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 425

architecture more romantic than the
Pompeiian house, especially in the even-
ing when the fountain is playing softly
and lights everywhere are turned low.
   A tile roof is the usual complement
to the plaster; though shingles are often
used, they are not so suitable. The
cement house conveys the impression of
strength and calls for the same qualities
in all its various attributes, including
the roof. From the standpoint of color
the red tile is perfection in connection
with the natural color of the plaster, or
when slightly tinted. The tin roof paint-
ed to simulate tile is a poor makeshift
and not to be recommended-shingles
are in much better taste.
   The environment of these houses is
always important; they need      space
about them and without it lose, much
of their charm. Several plaster houses
close together or a plaster house in-
truded close between two of frame is
apt to look hard and bare. To be suc-
cessful they must be simple in line and
almost entirely without ornament.
  Where the foundation of these houses
shows it is preferably of cut stone or of
cobblestone, either of which combines
better with plaster than does brick. But
it is quite as well, when possible, to let
the cement run to the ground, so that
no other material is in evidence.
  When it comes to details, it is inter-
esting to have the trim,-door and win-
dow sashes, etc., rustic. As to color,
there is nothing more satisfactory than
a soft, warm brown; the contrasting
color in such small quantities gives the
desired character.
  The house with the courtyard encom-
passed with repeated arches is trimmed
with a pinkish-buff, very like the house
paper, but a shade or two lighter. This
house has plenty of space about it and
since the picture was taken the vines
have grown to such an extent about the
arches as to afford a screen so that the
family occupy it in summer as an out-
door sitting room without fear of in-
truding glances from passers-by. The
living room runs through the center of
the house and opens on the south into
the court-where there is a fountain-
and on the north onto a veranda by
glass windows, thereby giving entrance
or exit at either end of the main room
as well as from the entrance hall in
   The house among the illustrations
showing Moorish detail is so restrained
as to make it a suitable neighbor to
plainer, simpler dwellings. Detail of the
sort employed here is necessarily ex-
pensive, as the carving and coloring
must be done by a master hand, or it
becomes    bizarre  and   vulgar. The
foundation of cut stone is a good begin-
ning, and the central tower is so located
and the wings so distributed as to create
lines pleasing to the eye, which com-
bined with subtle coloring makes an
architectural picture.
   The home of Mr. Robert J. Burdette,
situated on the famous Orange Grove
Boulevard, Pasadena, suggests slight
Saracenic influence. It stands on the
crest of a hill and is appropriately called
Sunnycrest. The plaster is the natural
gray color, relieved by warm brown
trimmings, with a tile roof of dark red.
  The cottage pictured is a good illus-
tration of what may be done in small
plaster houses. Even with such heavy
material there is a certain picturesque-
ness. On analysis it will be seen that
much ingenuity was brought to bear in
the designing of this house. It is a pity
that the rear does not show in the pic-
ture, for a pergola adds materially to
the western view. In fact, the design-
ing of plaster houses taxes the ability
of the architect more certainly than the
designing of those of wood, but there is
sufficient satisfaction in the successful
accomplishment to justify the effort.

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