Hamilton Halton Construction Association   Ontario Architecture  
resources
home
Contact Building Terms Building Styles Building Terms

Building Styles

Arts and Crafts (1890 - 1940)

Origins --- Arts and Crafts Architecture

European and American Precedents ------The Red House__Wright's Studio Home

Arts and Crafts in Ontario --- Aldershot--- Flamborough--- Dundas-- London-- Thunder Bay-

Arts and Crafts in Toronto--- Eden Smith --- Page and Warrington--- Doors

Origins

Architects of the 19th century were bogged down in "style'. Variations of revived Classical architecture vied with variations on revived Gothic architecture and those were both victims of excessive ornamentation and gross sentimentality. The Crystal Palace, English train stations and marketplaces from Paris to Milan provided an alternative to this battle of styles, but the main stream in architecture, as well as in almost everything else, was through mass production. It was against this backdrop of tired revivalism and crass commercialism that William Morris and his contemporaries developed a new and refreshing perspective on architecture, furniture, pottery and the visual objects of daily life.

The Arts and Crafts movement in Britain was a reaction to the Industrial Age and the dehumanization of people that resulted from the sudden restructuring of the population to accommodate large factories. It was a social movement that encompassed artistic, ideological, even political, ideals which affected many forms of visual art from pottery and wallpaper to furniture design and finally architecture. The roots of the movement can be found in the writings of John Ruskin, the major critic of the century, whose violent reaction to mass produced decoration and artifacts found in the Great Exhibition in London 1851 can be read in The Stones of Venice and The Seven Lamps of Architecture. Ruskin argues that British decoration should be based on a Northern aesthetic as opposed to an Italian one, and that art and architecture both should reflect man's connection with nature and the curious kinship between man and his craft. He argued that industrialization was separating man from his tools and that the result was not simply less beautiful, but also morally bankrupt.

William Morris was one of the people who initiated the Arts and Crafts movement in design with his fabric, wallpaper and pottery. He believed that if a craftsman made good and heartfelt designs based on a study of nature, and then connected with other people who were making similar quality objects, then the character of the craftsman was improved and society as a whole would then also be improved.

In 1860 Morris commissioned a similar minded architect, Philip Webb, to design a house for him and his new wife. The Red House as it is called, was the first building of the Arts and Crafts style.

Arts and Crafts Architecture

By the time the Arts and Crafts movement had reached Ontario, the defining elements were well set. The overlying theme was that the house was to be a living element within the natural environment; it was based on the function of the house as opposed to the house being built in a style and with decoration that would herald the owner's position in society. Houses were meant to fit intrinsically with their sites: orientation of the house was based on the relationship of the house to the garden. Rooms were oriented so as to take advantage of the movement of the sun for warmth and light during daylight hours. The grandiose central entrances of so many other styles were replaced by side entrances that allowed for useable space on the front facade for light or garden use. The buildings are graceful and elegant, finely proportioned and beautifully crafted.

In Canada Arts and Crafts buildings are called by a variety of names: English Domestic Revival, English Cottage, Cotswold Cottage, and a variety of other terms depicting the unassuming country element of craftsman designs.

Arts and Crafts in Europe and America

The Arts and Crafts style began in England, Oxford England to be more precise, when William Morris, Philip Webb and Edward Burne-Jones started working together towards a social and artistic movement that would have repercussions around the globe. The movement was based partly on the writings of John Ruskin who preached not only a return to craftsmanship and the organic forms of the Gothic, but also a form of socialism. The French Revolution of 1789 - 1799 left all of Europe reeling with the possibilities of a stronger working class. The beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century was changing the fabric of society and inviting autonomy for people other than those born into the aristocracy. The social trends provided by these two influences plus the writings of Ruskin channeled through William Morris became the Arts and Crafts movement. It was not just a style, it was a philosophy.

When Arts and Crafts as a movement entered the world of design and architecture, it was barely noticed. The lack of ostentation, the deliberate rejection of modern methods and materials, and the fact that Arts and Crafts objects, be they houses or teapots, illustrate the taste of the owner not the size of his pocket book, all contributed to make the style unattractive to those with social pretensions. The effect of the movement on artists, designers, architects and thinkers, however, was huge. Art Nouveau, Art Deco, the Prairie style and many revivals all owe some debt to Arts and Crafts for reviving both attitudes and techniques from the medieval past. When Richardson, Sullivan and Wright started defining an architecture that was distinctly American, they all three looked to the medieval period for truth in design and ornament. Respect for materials, attention to sunlight and garden space, and ornament based on natural objects were standard features in most of their designs.

Click Hotpoints for descriptions of terms in both text and images.

Philip Webb
The Red House 1859

The Red House in Bexley Heath, England is the first example of Arts and Crafts architecture. It was built by Philip Webb for the newly married William Morris, and it is the only house that Morris ever had built.

The plan is a series of rooms connected by a long corridor and constructed on an L shape providing a courtyard around the well. The well was necessary as there was then no main water. The stair tower at the crossing of the L has a lovely view of the court.

Red House England

Bexley Heath, England

Philip Webb
The Red House 1859

The plan of the house was revolutionary. Ruskin's idea of architecture was that the function of each room should be immediately apparent from the outside, in contrast to the Classical penchant for rooms arranged inside to suit established conventions of external appearance. Here Webb has provided a series of rooms linked by a corridor. This had never been done before in a small house.

The garden is faced by the corridor. Apparently Philip Webb realized his mistake as soon as it was built and from then on never wanted to hear about the Red House again. It was this that lead him to say that "no architect ought to be allowed to build a house until he was forty."

The courtyard is delightfully picturesque with the local orange brick against the very green grass of England. The bricks are placed masterfully creating two centered discharging arches above the windows.

The interesting integration of forms in the chimney illustrates the beauty of good craftsmanship.

Red House England

Bexley Heath, England

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio

The architects of the Prairie School were searching for the same aesthetic as their Arts and Crafts counterparts in England thirty years earlier. They were aiming at an architecture that was democratic, that expressed the character of the American people. They determined that buildings needed, primarily, to respond to their surroundings.

Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings in the suburb of Oak Park illustrate this aim. They are earth colours, hugging the ground and unadorned in the way fashionable during the late 19th century.

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio

Oak Park - Chicago

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio

The entrances to his buildings are never grandiose and often are found on the sides or even the back of the building.

Entering a Wright home is like entering a cave. It is protected, it is inviting, but it is not made for pomp and circumstance. There are no monumental figures, no grand set of stairs that provide a stage for the person entering, instead there is an attention to natural materials integrated with nature. The brick and stone are muted, free of historicing detail, free of extraneous detailing, and free of any show of wealth, social position or arrogance.

 

 

 

Frank Lloyd Wright Studio

Oak Park - Chicago

Residential Arts and Crafts in Ontario

Scott Weir's excellent article on Arts and Crafts homes in Toronto sums up the sad fate of many of these homes beautifully. He says "It may be that the Arts and Crafts house's lack of ostentation has been its undoing." Many of these fine homes are being torn down and replaced by monster homes that are beige on beige monuments to the owner's pretensions and self delusions. Where the Arts and Crafts aesthetic was to provide a beautiful living space built in harmony with nature and the surrounding area, many of these new buildings are

simply overlapping masses of ill proportioned, unrelated architectural features. Return On Investment building (ROI Modern) is wiping out some of the best houses in the province. Instead of fine homes where people actually live and are part of the community, there is a growing trend for 'renovators' to hop from one spot to another gutting old homes and gutting established neighborhoods and leaving behind houses, not homes, that can only be described with Dickens' famous term "Architectooralooral".

Aldershot

The thrust of the Arts and Crafts design imperative was to have a building created around a living space. From the outside you should be able to determine which 'shape' houses which room or which activity. The house should also have discreet entrances with covered porches or terraces that open out onto a winding, informal garden.

This home in Aldershot is a perfect example of that. The roof slope is very 'Philip Webb' and wonderfully incorporates the porch below. Anyone who has ever tried to design something like this will know what a masterpiece it is.

Aldershot

Walter Scott - Aldershot - 1920

Aldershot

By the 1920s, when these two houses were built, the Arts and Crafts style had been around for some time. Popular taste had reverted, as it always does, back to the classical styles, for the most part, and Gothic Revival was beginning to take on some ground, along with the proliferation of ‘revival styles'. Walter Scott's conception of the brick house can be found in the third volume of Plan Book of Canadian Homes, a Macleans publication from 1938. Scott has listed the house as "A Brick Colonial House". The Aldershot version of this house has the medieval porch, earthy colours, leaded windows and meandering garden paths that place it squarely in the Arts and Crafts category.

Plan Book of Canadian Homes

Plan Book of Canadian Homes

Aldershot

The brick used on this house is peculiar to the 1930s in Ontario, particularly Southern Ontario. The effect is very different from the red, orange or yellow monochrome bricks used in different areas around the province.

The original leaded glass windows are placed in a diamond pattern and have coloured glass in the upper section. This effect cannot be reproduced in the dreaded 'vinyl replacement no matter how much the salesman may try to convince you that it can.

The owners of the house are obviously aware of the value of the property and have maintained it beautifully. The winding garden paths remain, the windows remain, even the characteristic plantings have been maintained in their original glory.

Aldershot

Walter Scott - 1920

Aldershot

Both of the Scott houses in Aldershot have deeply sloping roofs, leaded casement windows, and a noticeable lack of tracery or other window decoration.

On both buildings can be found a medieval porch supported by cruck framing, a medieval construction method where a curved tree was felled then split in two vertically, the curve of the tree providing a naturally pointed arch roof.

A Tudor porch would be much more ornate with a superimposed battlement and stone carving. Cruck framing was very popular in the Arts and Crafts era in England as can bee seen by the cruck frame on this lychgate in Portsmouth, England of 1897 below.

Aldershot

Walter Scott - 1920

Portsmouth England

This lychgate probably replaces a medieval version. This is the spot where the pall bearers rest while carrying their burden to its resting place.

As an Arts and Crafts style lychgate, this has many of the elements found on the the British style A&C bungalows below, as well as echoing the cruck framing found in the Aldershot porches.

Notice that the fascia has an ornate continuous vine ornament. This is called a trayle or vignette. As the term vignette (little vine) suggests, this is a continuous band of ornament or enrichment carved onto the stone in screens, canopies, and various parts of Gothic or medieval architecture, particularly church, architecture. These terms are also used in wallpaper and book illustrations.

Note also that this fascia and the timber pattern are similar to the facade of the Dundas A&C Bungalow below.

Cruck arch - England

Portsmouth, England

Aldershot

The dining room is fully paneled in oak. It has a fireplace with a stone surround and oak mantel. The mantel has a band of geometric carving. The spandrels of the surrounding arch are decorated with a leaf pattern, indicative of the A&C imperative for designs taken from nature.

 

Wood Detailing

Walter Scott - 1920

Aldershot

Next door to the house above is a different style of Arts and Crafts probably by the same architect and definitely using the same hedge trimmer. The roof slope is the same, the organic red lintel is the same, and there is the same sense that the house 'grows out of' the garden. It is very English in character with the high sloped roof seen on Webb's Red House above.

Instead of brick, this house is made of stone on the street level and roughcast stucco above, yet the effect is similar in that it represents a modest country home using local materials.

 

Aldershot

Walter Scott - 1920

Aldershot

The doorway is inviting. The most striking feature are the multi-paned lead glass casement windows, probably imported from England. There is no decoration around the window, only a thin strip of red for the mullion. The muntin bars are black.

The hedges that flank the walkway give the house a country feel and are reminiscent of the picturesque hedges found in drawings and children's books of the 19th century. The doorway has a medieval hood mold and large pieces of finely cut stone for quoins. The arch of the door is also medieval; it is a three-centered arch found in such places as Cranford England. The red strip looks as attractive against the stone as it does against the stucco.

 

Aldershot

Walter Scott - 1920

Aldershot

A two storey bay allows maximum light into the living areas of the building. The house faces west, getting the afternoon sun. The bay allows for light - and heat - into the room before the sun has reached its full height for the day. The parapet of the bay has a medieval crest.

The stonework on the bay is also of a fine quality. The windows are encased in stone with an ashlar finish (fine and smooth) where the spandrels between the windows are rough cut. The slate roof nicely offsets this. The slant of the roof on the left is as masterfully executed as the house above.

 

Aldershot

Walter Scott - 1920

Oakville

Finding inns or hotels in the A&C style is difficult. One beautiful spot is the Haslemere House Bed and Breakfast in Oakville.

The layout of the inn is complemented by a beautifully maintained pool and garden. There are gables on all façades, some plain, some with jerkin heads, another typical medieval design.

The exterior finish is white roughcast which emphasizes the heavy timbers employed in the windows, doors and structural elements. The back entrance to the house has a covered porch with a round headed arch flanked by paired colonnetes. The lintel is rough cut and substantial. On the gable of the porch is a loophole, in medieval times this was a place for launching arrows.


Haslemere 
                  House

Oakville

Oakville

Beside the porch is a lovely leaded glass bay. The leading is in a diaper pattern on the top and bottom panels in the pre-Elizabethan style.

Diapering is a diamond shaped pattern either in wood or in leaded glass. The term was coined from the small squares of cloth used to aid in the application of stucco between the timbers on half-timber buildings. The diamond shape was then emplyed in fences, interior woodwork and leaded glass.

 

 

Haslemere 
                  House

Haslemere House

Arts and Crafts or Craftsman Bungalow

American's consider the Bungalow style to be an American invention. The 'Craftsman Bungalow certainly is, but the Bungalow as a house style was originally found in England. It was the British, after all, not the Americans, who lived in India with the East India Company and other organizations, and thus saw the one floor houses with verandahs called banglas meaning built in the Bengali style. The term verandah also comes from the Hindi term varanda meaning a railing or balcony. Sightings of the early use of Bengale as a style can be found as early as 1676. Harry Mount in his excellent book 'A Lust for Window Sills' notes an entry from the diary of Streynsham Master, working in the India Office, as follows.

"It was thought fitt to sett up Bengales or Hovells for all such English in the Company's service".

One story cottages were constructed around Britain from time immemorial, but the bungalow as a design statement took off in the late 19th Century as seaside resort homes. The first are found constructed in Kent dating from the 1860s. The bungalows from Flamborough and Dundas, below, are in the British style.

When brought to Canada, these homes have a nostalgic mixture of ornament, floral and animal designs with the occasional addition of Gothic or Classical flourishes, often on the same building. Pugin would NOT have approved.

The Craftsman Bungalow came from the Midwest and was popularized in California in the early 20th Century. It was brought to Canada in the 1910s. This is perhaps the best known form of Arts and Crafts in Ontario. It comes from the United States through a man called Gustav Stickley (1857 - 1942).

Stickley was a furniture maker and stone mason in Wisconsin. He visited Europe in 1898 and became enamored of the A&C style while viewing the works and workshops of the British movement. Upon his return to America he changed the name of his company to Craftsman Workshops and founded a magazine called The Craftsman, dedicated to the philosophy and craft work of Morris and his followers. The magazine published many home designs, the first being a two storey rubble design called the "Craftsman Home." Like other American architects, Stickley's message was for democracy in design. Every man should have the right to plan out the house that he wants for himself with no allegiance to European style. Like Pugin and Ruskin, Stickley was determined to set people straight on the ‘correct' way to build.

Both Craftsman and British Bungalows are generally one or one-and-a-half storey homes with broad, low-pitched, roofs that seem to blanket the building. Large porches, overhangs, and verandas link the bungalow with the usually ample exterior space surrounding the building.

West Flamborough

This house is a good example of a British style Arts and Crafts Bungalow. The steeply pitched roof generally found in Arts and Crafts is here replaced by a more gently sloping roof. The stucco in this case is white washed, a finish that both Philip Webb and Norman Shaw found appealing. Like the other homes, this one is brilliantly placed to appreciate the view and the surrounding garden. The entrances are not ostentatious, The chimneys are high, and the leaded windows retain their original glass.

Flamborough

William J. Walsh - 1930

West Flamborough

Notice that the south façade is almost entirely windows. A huge bay has windows on all sides. Small gables appear over the doors which open up onto all sides of the property. A screened-in porch makes living outside during the summer months both comfortable and pleasant.

Like the second house in Aldershot above, the base of the building is stone and the upper section is finished in stucco.

 

Flamborough

William J. Walsh - 1930

West Flamborough

While small and unpretentious, this home is an oasis of charm and comfort. It has that ephemeral Midsummer Night's Dream quality that makes you want to stay forever. The magic dream potion would be kept in this Picturesque Gothic built-in.

This detail is referred to as Picturesque because it has the tell tale Y shaped muntin making two lancet arched windows into the cupboard. The overall shape of the cupboard is a round-headed arch, not Gothic in the slightest.

Lovers of good wood working appreciate the small ledge, held up by a scroll shaped console, beneath the casements. This ledge is for placing dishes or objects momentarily displaced while something else is removed. You won't find this quality at Ikea.

Flamborough

William J. Walsh - 1930

West Flamborough

The door, on the other hand, is purely Classical. A round-headed barrel vault with scroll consoles provides a hood for protection over the door. This hood is held in place by fluted, Roman Doric columns and engaged pilasters.

Above the door is a plain lunette above a series of decorative dentils.

Rough stucco is the finish on the building, but rustic quoins are found in local escarpment stone surrounding the windows. Note how the stones radiate around the small foyer window on the left.

The roof overhang is large and provides welcome shade.

 

Flamborough

William J. Walsh - 1930

West Flamborough

Oversized columns and terra-cotta tiling characterize the verandah. All parts of the building lead out into the garden. The hedges and trees are an intrinsic part of the design.

The average life of a tree in Toronto is seven years. Houses are bought, upgraded into last weeks cutting-edge design, as seen on TV, and the garden is massacred along with the moldings. Here the trees have matured and are home to a large variety of birds and squirrels. The home is integrated into the surrounding park-like setting.

 

Flamborough

William J. Walsh - 1930

Dundas

Another variation on Arts and Crafts can be found here in Dundas. Again the house rests peacefully in a beautifully landscaped lot. The exterior is half-timbered with roughcast stucco. On the lower level is the suggestion of a cruck, seen above, which was a popular motif in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Characteristic of this type of Bungalow is the very high chimney made of local stone. The windows are casements, the preferred style for A&C.

Dundas

Dundas

The house gets more impressive the closer you look at it. The fascia boards are in a delightful pressed wood pattern popular in revival houses.

Also popular is the lip on the roof, to the left. Note that the edge of the roof is slightly higher around the edge. The roof finish is terra cotta tiles. On slate, stone and terra cotta roofs, the edges are lifted slightly to prevent ice build up when the snow melts. It also gives that charming country look found on water colour post cards.

 

Dundas

Craftsman Bungalow

This classic California style Bungalow in London Ontario is one of the best in the country. The exposed structural roof brackets and two-tiered, low-pitched roof are indicative of the California style.
The yellow brick contrasts nicely with the earthy colours, sage green and terra-cotta both on the door and the terra-cotta tile roof. A screened in porch, unites the house with the garden. I'm told that the gin and tonics served here are particularly good. The attention to detail and masterful application of brick is indicative of the Craftsman Bungalow.

Bungalow in London Bracket Arch Chimney Overhang Roof

London Ontario

Interior - London

Once built, these homes were furnished with the products of Craftsman studios. Mission furniture, Morris wallpaper and fabrics, and MacIntosh or Moorcroft pottery would complete the interior picture. These furnishings are highly desirable and collectable still.

The owners of this bungalow have been meticulous in providing authentic furnishings and lighting. The couch is a Stickley, the dining table and chairs are A&C, even the light fixtures are from either the Mica Lamp Company or Arroyo Craftsman.

London

London Ontario

Art Glass - London

The Arts and Crafts movement was about fine craftsmanship. One permanent feature in good Arts and Crafts homes is the stained glass used in doors, windows and light fixtures.

The patterns for this glass are usually floral in nature. They can be easily distinguished from the earlier Art Nouveau designs which are more fluid, much more ornate, and often have a lithesome goddess as the central image.

London

London Ontario

Thunder Bay

Of all the houses on this site, this is the one that I get the most requests for information on.

The front windows on this are classic Arts and Crafts: the style is a large pane below and a series of small panes above. The original designer of this type of window was Charles Rennie Macintosh

Bungalow in Thunder Bay Overhang Thunder Bay Muntins

Thunder Bay

Arts and Crafts in Toronto

By the time the Arts and Crafts movement had reached Canada, the defining elements were well set. The overlying theme was the house as a living element within the natural environment; it was based on the function of the home as a shelter for the family, not a banner building relentlessly trumpeting the owner's status. Houses were meant to fit intrinsically into their sites: orientation of the house was based on the relationship of the house to the garden. Rooms were positioned to take advantage of the movement of the sun for warmth and light during daylight hours. The grandiose central entrances of so many other styles were often replaced by side entrances that allowed for manipulation of the front façade for light or garden use. Entrances were often recessed, accessed through a covered porch, giving the impression of solidity and permanence, almost like entering a cave dwelling.

The foremost architect of the Arts and Crafts movement in Ontario was Eden Smith (1859-1949). Smith was born in England and studied art in Birmingham, a stronghold of the A&C movement. Burne-Jones was born in Birmingham, and both Morris and Webb spent a great deal of time there lecturing at the Central School of Art. Like many architects of his day, Smith's academic training was in drawing and painting. He learned the builder's craft while working with his father's construction firm, also in Birmingham. When the firm went bankrupt in 1885, Smith and his family

moved to Toronto. The attitudes and design principles of the A&C style that he learned in Birmingham stayed with him for the rest of his life. Smith's work, being taken almost directly from England, makes Toronto a focus for the Arts and Crafts movement.

Although historians and enthusiasts have been busy trying to identify all of Smith's work, much has been lost to the wrecker's ball. W. Douglas Brown produced a fine book on Smith, complete with a catalogue of existing work in 2003. Barely six years later some of them have already disappeared.

Rounding a corner in search of a house that looks like this and finding, instead,mock-Georgian with plastic muntin bars or a monster house that squashes not just the old house but the carefully thought-out grounds is a deflating experience. In England, Arts and crafts houses that have not been altered are worth twice what any other house in the neighborhood is going for. In Toronto, they tear them down. Those who know what they have got, however, generally keep them up beautifully.

Some excellent photos of Eden Smith interiors can be found on Flickr Photo Sharing - some beautiful shots by Scott Weir can be found at:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=eden+Smith

Eden Smith
MacPherson St.

Smith's first work in Ontario was as a draughtsman in various established architectural firms in Toronto. He was an active member of St.Thomas's church on Huron Street and this led to a few commissions for the Church of England and its followers. By 1898 he had established himself as an architect in the neighborhood now known as the Annex and had started doing residential work. As in England, the Arts and Crafts style quickly became the predominant style, and Smith was kept very busy with houses in the more desirable neighborhoods of Toronto.

His most notable buildings are the Group of Seven studios on Aylmer Avenue and three public library branches done in the medieval style. His most famous house is this one on 10 MacPherson Avenue Street, Toronto. It is a miracle of design in an "Infill" house. An Infill is a house that fits into a small lot in the inner city.

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

Eden Smith's designs fall into a few categories. The most obviously Arts and Crafts are the two-storey buildings made of wood, brick and shingles, like this one.

Most of these have a ribbon of windows on the south side and a slightly recessed door. Many are tall and slim, fitting gracefully onto an urban lot, but with enough space surrounding for a few hedges and trees.

This house has a wonderful gable front with a few corbie steps. A two storey bay has casement windows with small leaded glass panes. A second storey sunroom has a ribbon of windows that is protected in the summer by the shade of a deciduous tree.

Smith rarely used primary colours. The greens, like this one, are generally muted sage.

 

 

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Toronto
Wychwood Park

Some of Smith's most notable work can be found on a charming little crescent brilliantly hidden in the midst of Toronto's bustling downtown. This house at number 7 is similar to Wright's Studio home in Oak Park. On the ground level is a bank of six leaded casement windows set within white roughcast. The door is recessed. The facade is asymmetrical. The oversized gable that makes up the upper two floors is finished with dark stained cedar shingles.

 

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Toronto
Wychwood Park

When you walk into Wychwood Park, you are immediately transported back to the 19th Century. This is a suburb that was designed for pedestrian use. It is a reproduction of a rural village. Rather than being laid out to provide the maximum profit for the developer with all services running as close to the road as possible, the landscape beaten into submission for easy access by trucks, this suburb meanders around berms and trees providing privacy and individual space for each home. There is no grid pattern. Each house is designed so that the large windows have optimum access to the sun and gardens provide walkways from one home to another.

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

Another set of Arts and Crafts style buildings is represented by 165 St. George Street, Toronto.

These are more like medieval manor houses in character, fortress-like, solid and impenetrable. The asymmetrical gable front design has a recessed door surmounted by a corbel table providing a ledge for an otherwise unadorned window. The other windows are plain, balanced but not symmetrical. The chimney crashes through the gable in a completely unconventional form terminating in a Romanesque compound arch with radiating stone and brick components.

This façade is completely original, interesting for architecture enthusiasts, but too far from the default classical styles to be accepted by many homeowners.

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Page & Warrington

Smith's gable front design, like Hanseatic architecture in Northern Europe, was adopted for many homes and small offices.

The Dr. Geoffrey Boyd House (1921) by Page & Warrington is a particularly fine example in that the front gable extends above the roof in the medieval method, used to prevent the wind from lifting the roof thatching or tiles. The fire of 1666 put an end to high ceilings and thus lofty gables like this in London England. The triple chimney stacks, geminated chimney stack, and broad chimney stack of this house are also reminiscent of the chimney explosion that took place during Elizabethan and Jacobean times in Britain.

 

 

C

Toronto Ontario

Toronto

Another fine example of Arts and Crafts in Toronto is this beauty in Forest Hill. Most of the upscale neighborhoods 'went Arts and Crafts' at the turn of the 19th century.

This house has the pleasing mixture of wood, stucco and brick used by Smith as well as the medieval radiating arch used in Romanesque architecture. Those who have visited Chicago will recognise this style, used widely in the downtown area.

The windows have the classic A&C multi-panes on the top with a single pane beneath. The colours are earth tones. There is a lot of detailing, but none of it is historicising.

 

 

C

Toronto Ontario

Eden Smith Door detail

Like many of Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie style homes, the front door often looks like the entrance to a cave more than a grand entrance. The door itself is recessed, you know that inside is shelter and warmth.

On this entrance Smith has masterfully orchestrated a series of small paned, leaded casements, strung together with a band of dark brown, the door accessed through a round-headed arch. Even in the coldest months of the year, this house is welcoming and warm.

Eden Smith

Toronto Ontario

Philip Webb - London England

In contrast, the residences in London are usually closely knit together and, if the property is of some value, it overlooks a square that acts as a common garden. In many ways this is preferable to the small patch of grass surrounding most Toronto properties. The owners are not obliged to cut the grass on their microscopic lawns every week, but instead pay a maintenance fee for the park and have the luxury of walking around a substantial area of green.

There is no space between the houses in London's terraces. One building juts into the next, and the styles are often uniform through out a square, having been built 'on spec' at the same time period.

This Webb town house in Lincoln's inn Field may look like 'a townhouse' to the untrained eye, but consider the effect of the Arts and Crafts movement on this door surround as opposed to the one below.

Arts and Crfafts doorway

Toronto Ontario

London England

This classical aedicule is the standard door of most 17th, 18th and 19th century terraces in England.

Neo-Classical Doorway Pediment transom Dentils Ionic

Toronto

Extra Reading and resources for Arts and Crafts

Books

Brown, Douglas, Eden Smith, Toronto's Arts and Crafts Architect, New York, Twayne Publishers 2003

Davey,Peter, Arts and Crafts Architecture, Chatham G.B. , W.H.MacKay Limited, 1980

Kalman, Harold "Domestic Architecture" in A Concise History of Canadian Architecture 2000

Kaplan, Wendy, Encyclopedia of Arts and crafts: The International Arts Movement 1850 - 1920, London: Quatro Publishing, 1989

Kristofferson, Robert B, Craft Capitalism
Craftworkers and Early Industrialization in Hamilton Ontario, 1840-1872
, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 2007

Weaver, Lawrence, Small Country Houses of Today , London, Country Life, 1890

Weir, Scott, "The beauty of function" National Post, Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wilson, Richard Guy, From Architecture to Object: Masterworks of the American Arts and crafts Movement, New York, Dutton Studio Books, 1989

Movies

 

 

 

Modillions Balconette Paired Windows Cornice Return Cornice Return Apse Buttress Transom Arch Dormer Barrel Vault Iron Cresting Tower Doorway Dichromatic Tiles Gable Lunette Band Arch Quoin