Letter From the Editor: Let’s Celebrate!

Small Home Gazette, Winter 2014

Letter From the Editor: Let’s Celebrate! (Twin Cities Bungalow Club turns 20)

Sometime later this year the Twin Cities Bungalow Club will begin its 20th year. A precise date of birth for the Bungalow Club is unknown (we know the first newsletter was in the fall of 1995) and pales in comparison to the importance of fulfilling our mission and serving our members.

Below are some Bungalow Club memorable moments from the past 20 years, collected by our board of directors:

  • In 1996, the Minneapolis Historic Preservation Commission presented the Twin Cities Bungalow Club and its founder Kristi Johnson with an award for the year’s best community organization project.

  • Longfellow Planbook cover.One of Kristi’s major accomplishments was the creation of The Longfellow Planbook with local architect Robert Gerloff. This book of plans illustrates ways to remodel bungalows and other small houses to fit the needs of today without sacrificing the character found in homes built during the Arts & Crafts period. Copies are still available from the Longfellow Community Council in southeast Minneapolis.

  • In the earliest days of the club, we remember sitting in a church basement and seeing vintage interior and exterior photos of Arts & Crafts era homes from Keith’s Magazine, the national periodical produced in Minneapolis during the early 20th century. It was proof that we were in the right place at the right time.

  • You may remember the lighting designer who, at one of our events, declared that recessed lights were appropriate for bungalows. The collective gasp from the audience may not have been polite, but it was honest. (The board resolved later that evening to require outlines from all future presenters.)

  • Several years ago at the annual State Fairgrounds Arts & Crafts Show and Sale, a bewildered woman walked up to our table to ask where she could find the arts and crafts items—“you know, the crafts made by ladies to sell at church?”

  • Bungalow Nation magazine.The book Bungalow Nation featured several Twin Cities area homes and, one year, we were lucky to feature several of them on our annual tour. Both the book and our tour generated outstanding amounts of local and regional publicity. The day of the tour, attendance was triple what we’d expected, and we “fondly” remember frantic trips to a copy center to print more tour guides.

  • It was a treat for us board members to visit every known salvage yard and vintage lighting shop in the Twin Cities to compile reviews of the businesses for this newsletter. (Okay, it’s a treat if you happen to be working on your house and need a few things.)

  • There was the magical afternoon watching artist Kevin Hicks from Ephraim Faience Pottery throw and decorate a pot before our eyes. This highlight was matched a few years later when Bill Campbell and Irwin Terry from Century Studios demonstrated their techniques for creating Tiffany style lamp shades.

  • Two wonderful trips to Glensheen mansion in Duluth and Fairlawn mansion in Superior are strong memories. The chance to eat dinner with 28 friends in Glensheen’s elegant dining room was a treasure.

  • Tile by Wendy Penta.In 2002, we commissioned local tile artist Wendy Penta to create a limited run tile that depicted a typical Twin Cities bungalow.

  • We are delighted that the club has had the resources to bring “celebrity” presenters to Minnesota, including bungalow book authors Jane Powell and Paul Duscherer; Bob Yapp of PBS’s “About Your House” fame; American Bungalow magazine publisher John Brinkmann; and Arts & Crafts scholar Anne Stewart O’Donnell.

  • Best of MN.In 2013, the Star Tribune selected the Bungalow Club as the “Best Style Clearinghouse for Bungalow Dwellers” in its Best of MN issue.

Thinking of these memorable moments we are reminded how many people have been involved in making them happen. The historians, writers, Bungalow Club members, photographers, architects, advertisers, craftspeople, and homeowners involved over the past 19 years are the reason for our success and longevity. Here’s to making our 20th year just as memorable!