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From the Mind of Gustav Stickley

by Laura Kearney on February 24, 2014

in Furniture & Interior Style

Crabtree Farm in Illinois is also home to the Ellis Bungalow, built using Stickley’s advice from The Craftsman magazine.

All of these interiors are based on suggestions in Stickley's The Craftsman magazine. Photos by Pilar Simon for Jessie Walker Associates

All of these interiors are based on suggestions in Stickley's The Craftsman magazine. Photos by Pilar Simon for Jessie Walker Associates

The Ellis House was built by the current owners in 1993, based on plans published in the December 1903 issue of The Craftsman magazine—one of those drawn up by the architect Harvey Ellis during his brief tenure with Stickley. The article was entitled “How to Build a Bungalow.”

The living room curtains are based on a textile pattern Stickley imported from England and sold through his catalog.

The living room curtains are based on a textile pattern Stickley imported from England and sold through his catalog.

All of the interiors are based on suggestions in Stickley’s magazine. The details and finishes were taken from renderings, drawings, and detailed descriptions offered in the magazine. The dining room, for example, was modeled after a rendering by Ellis in “A Craftsman House Design” from the July 1903 issue.

The built-ins on the bungalow’s main floor were specified in drawings in the December 1903 article, down to the unique leaded glass panels on the bookcases.

An Ellis-designed settle with inlaid panels sits in front of the ample limestone fireplace, with Stickley andirons and tools.

An Ellis-designed settle with inlaid panels sits in front of the ample limestone fireplace, with Stickley andirons and tools.

The house is furnished with representative examples of designs Ellis completed for Stickley, most—from the dining room chairs to the three-panel screen—featuring inlaid pewter, copper, and secondary wood detailing.

“The first comment a guest usually makes is on the color and warmth, ” says Tim Gleason, a dealer who has worked closely with the owners for over 15 years.

Upstairs, Ellis’s details are manifested even in the flooring. In the Maple Bedroom (where all of the Gustav Stickley furniture is of maple with inlays), the color and layout of the floorboards, and also the ebonized cherry floor with holly inlay in the Master Bedroom, were specified in The Craftsman.

The green-hued floor in the children’s room was achieved (as prescribed by Ellis) by staining the floor with Prussian blue dye, followed by coats of orange shellac and wax. Ellis also designed the linen appliqué “Puss in Boots” panels covering the walls of the children’s room, which were produced by Dru Muskovin Textiles and Chicago Architectural Arts.

Appliqué “Puss in Boots” panels covering the walls of the children’s room.

Appliqué “Puss in Boots” panels covering the walls of the children’s room.

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