Below is the garage that was built before May, 1 1941 as a permit lists it as “Pres. Garage” or something like that. It’s hard to read. The last Rowland and Rowland permit was 1939 but does not include a garage. I believe the 1939 permit was built by Rowland based on a sketch by Maybeck as it has distinct Maybeck features but does not have the depth of design of the original house. The plugged redwood hinges match the front door and the door arch is gothic in shape. The stone facade is similar to a faux stone foundation detail in the music room (from the 1939 addition). The fenced balcony over the garage is very similar to the same type of structure featured in his Wallen house #1, 1933.
The entryway is perpendicular to the street as a way of giving a sense of privacy, I believe. Other Maybecks share this feature. On the left is the music room addition (‘39), with the aforementioned faux stone foundation detail and decorative metal grate.
Something interesting to note is the little birdhouse type feature. The yellow glass can be seen in the steel double casement windows and above and to the left. The yellow pane glass, imported from Belgium for $1.50 a piece, is only featured on the original 1927 house. The additions have steel windows with clear glass. The bathrooms have obscured glass. The black slate you can see in the walkway appears the same as several other Maybecks from the ‘20s. The building permit says the original house had a slate roof. I’m assuming it was this same black slate. I believe the Wallen #1 house has a black slate tile roof.
Though the above picture represents a Mediterranean house and not the Swiss Chalet style, there are some important connections. The steel windows, mini balcony, black slate walkway, side entrance, fireproof materials and Venturi chimney. The stucco above is raw like my Kingsley house and other Maybecks. After the Sep 1923 fire, he became focused on using fireproof materials after many of his creations in the La Loma area burned up, including his own home. He experimented with fireproof materials, most notably he built his own home with burlap sacks dipped in concrete for a type of easy fireproof construction. The house is still considered quite odd by many today and the thin concrete on the sacks would crack and expose the sacks to moisture so they began to decay. To Annie’s ire, he would rip off little samples of the material from the house to give to visitors interested in his experiment. A few years after the sack house experiment, he was building most if not all of his projects out of traditional fireproof materials. He liked to use raw stucco which was unusual as you can see in the above house and the Kingsley house. He had a predilection for materials that were exposed as a way to let nature shine through the house. For roofing, he eschewed the standard cedar shingles (very flammable) or tar and gravel of the time in favor of clay or stone roof tiles. He used clay mediterranean style like above, or black slate, or red terra cotta. The Kingsley house says it was originally a slate roof, then heavy split shakes (rustic cedar shingles) for the next two additions, and finally tar for the last addition. I think this hints at the diminishing guidance he was giving over time. In 1926 he would have been 64, at the peak of his design ardor. He would have designed this house with detailed drawings - he had given up drafting in 1924 in favor of design and getting paid a flat rate for “art work” as he called it. But the design shows all the wonderful attention to detail he was known for. He probably drew every element, down to the hand carved wooden handles to the custom made “electric sconce” light fixtures. For the next two additions, also with V. Rowland, and likely done sequentially because they are very much the same style, he would have been in his seventies and the designs were probably based on loose sketches. I don’t think he designed the light fixtures or fireplace - I would guess he sketched these out and left it up to his friend Rowland to interpret the design as they had worked together for a few years in the late ‘20s.
The orange glass is featured in the front door and back doors. The decorative grill has an Art Deco fish scale design that is repeated in a vent between the stairs going up to the master bedroom and the baseboard area of the master bedroom.
Below you can see the mini “Swiss Chalet” balcony. Maybeck was interested in the Swiss chalet style. A painting of Swiss chalets from ‘26 shows his interest around the time this house would have begun to be designed.
The small board railing with cutout designs can be seen other Maybeck works.
This small garden area has what looks like an old well. It shows Maybeck’s whimsical, old world style.
This is a classic Maybeck living room. Lots of light, tall ceiling, balcony (like the Reid house), built in corner cabinets, and a board formed concrete chimney with Venturi vent. The chimney was dressed up by 1951, when Rowland came back to the house to visit, he mentioned he liked the way the fireplace had been improved. One of Maybeck’s odd design choices was to always make a board formed concrete fireplace. Some were quite decorative, using an odd “bubble concrete” with air bubbles in it to make the often large concrete hood less heavy. On this average work of his, it could be as simple as a cube hole with a slanted concrete hood. Many people find this off-putting to this day as it seems to clash with the warm, detailed wood trim that it accompanies.
The galley kitchenette features more yellow glass and a small balcony accessed by a door in the window that goes to the floor. The corner cabinet, arched entry, and the position slightly elevated over the living room were classic Maybeck touches featured in another rumored Maybeck, the Reid house. Not show is to the left, originally would’ve sat a large, 40 or so inch electric range, which was a very unusual feature for the time. In 1927, it would’ve been more likely that people would be switching out their old wood stoves for gas rather than electric.
It’s unusual to see an almost untouched Maybeck kitchen (save the vinyl countertop, linoleum floors, and florescent light fixture, and ‘70s electric range), as the kitchens are considered by most too small for modern tastes.
Here is something funny to see…
The breakfast nook, built sometime in the ‘30s has one window, and you can see it was “pushed out” from the area where you enter the nook. Recall the original windows were yellow glass while the additions, done with less care likely by a Maybeck sketch, are plain glass. The wood is pecky redwood. “A poor man’s carvings” he said somewhere (citation?). The roofs for the pecky additions are heavy cedar split shingles. After the fire of ‘23, Maybeck only specified fireproof materials so it’s unlikely he specified this roofing. It was probably done by Rowland as it was the most common roofing shingle of the time, especially for cottage, arts and crafts, or tudor houses. The light fixtures in the additions look off the shelf. Maybeck designed the light fixtures in his best works, as you can see in his neat drawings for the First Church of Christ, Scientist. The light fixtures for the original house were custom made by “Otar - The Lamp Maker” of Santa Cruz.
Here again you can see the pecky redwood, from the other ‘30s addition besides the breakfast nook. Again the glass is clear now. The grand piano seems to be featured in every project Maybeck did in the mid to late 30s. I think it’s more likely it was one of his touches rather than he exclusively worked for piano players during this time. I believe the music room was done in 1939. Maybeck had switched to only drawings, no drafting in 1924. By 1939 he was 77 or 78 and about to retire in ‘40. At this time he has been documenting sketching out little free design sketches for people.
Another grand piano in the Wallen Maybeck house #2
Here you can see an odd feature I assumed was added by someone in the ‘60s - a modern looking clerestory. On the permit it says to be made of “wire glass,” what most would call security glass. More on this later.
The red shelf below is on hinges and a wheel and it rolls open to show a closet!!! So very cool.
The fireplace may have been specified in the sketch by Maybeck but it’s not a Maybeck fireplace. It looks to be made of river rock.
After thinking the clerestory was home-made by some “amateur modernist”, I was shocked to see something like it in the 1940 Aikin house.
Much is in common between the Aikin house and the Kingsley house. Check out the living room too - very similar to the Kingsley house but with copious use of pecky cypress as he seemed to be using a lot of it from 1926-1940, and especially in the late 30s to 40 it appears… those are the original furnishings as well!! See the huge bubble stone board formed concrete hood to the left.
The master bedroom is absolutely delightful. That’s pretty much all you need to say about that. The walk in closet had been altered poorly at some point with another clerestory. It currently has a tarp over it. To the left, a sloped form apparently used to be for a tree branch that traveled through the house.
The master bathroom has what looks to be an original white dal-tile 4&¼” square tile shower. I’m hoping that under the linoleum is red square terra cotta spanish style tiles with Tunisian tile accents like the other two baths. A large, rustic redwood desk sits next to the window. I may have to put an era-correct clawfoot here. Don’t tell BAHA, OK?
Regarding the materials:
Windows of tinted Belgian glass
Walls in studio and dining room made of wood from General Grant Park - Sequoia National Forest
Wrought-iron electrical fixtures by the late “Otar - The Lamp Maker” of Santa Cruz. Figured tile in bath-room from Tunisia
“Original owner Mary Kingsley, Widow of President of Union Trust of NYC” from a letter included in the disclosure documents.
Regarding the small bedroom, it was built by Albert A. Haskell & Sons. John E. Dinvuddie (?) in 1941 and bears no resemblance to the rest of the house. The walls are covered in 4” clap board. I highly doubt Rowland or Maybeck had anything to do with this bedroom. The third bedroom has a lot of wood paneling. It was likely built around the same time as the little bedroom as the roof is shaped to include both. The green slab doors and ceiling look ‘50s to me, as does the master bedroom closet cabinets, which are a similar color and also done without permits. The wood room has a door that matches the other back doors, being 3” thick with orange glass in it, and was probably moved from the area where to bedrooms start, where it would make sense to have a back door, to the wood room opening to a concrete patio that is unlikely original. I haven’t seen any Maybecks with concrete patios.