Craftsman Mastery: Channeling the Greene Brothers
A new house builds on the tradition forged by America’s greatest Arts and Crafts architects.
Synopsis: After selling the company that bears his name, sausage king Bruce Aidells had the resources to build the home of his dreams: a country house based on the work of Charles and Henry Greene, two California architects who in the early years of the 20th century reshaped the Indian bungalow to fit a new place. Aidells and his architect identified elements from various Greene brothers houses that they then incorporated into a new home: large features such as a grand staircase and timber-frame sleeping porch, and small ones such as rounded edges on intersecting pieces of wood. One place where Aidells broke from the Greene brothers’ style was the kitchen, a world-class food preparation area befitting a food professional. The article includes stunning photographs by the author that illustrate the Greene brothers’ Arts and Crafts style on the large scale as well as in small details.
Twenty-seven years ago, when this magazine was in its third year, we got a letter from one of our readers commenting on the houses we were publishing. He wrote, “You need to publish less young and green, and more Greene and Greene.”
The enduring appeal of the Greene brothers’ work is undeniable, and like oceanfront property, they’re not making it anymore. But that doesn’t stop people from trying. During my 30 years with this magazine, I’ve seen lots of projects inspired by their work. Truth be told, only a few of them have even come close to capturing a glimmer of that old Greene brothers’ magic. The problem is simple: You can’t just cop a couple of Greene brothers’ details and expect the design to hold together. In their most memorable houses, Charles and Henry Greene designed everything, and the houses were built with exemplary care out of the best materials. That is…