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Sunday, February 3, 2013


ROSTER OF GOOD GUYS—In North Park’s historic blocks, as well as most of San Diego’s early neighborhoods, reside the largest inventory of Craftsman era (1895-1920) bungalows anywhere.  So said editor John Brinkmann of American Bungalow Magazine, when I interviewed him a few years ago.  As the years wear on, this huge collection of local bungalows and their owners often need a bit of repair.

Fortunately good help is hard to find unless you have an insider list or two.  About once a quarter, North Park News publishes a roster of artisans and craftpersons, who specialize in bungalow maintenance.  But until their list comes out you might check my list. Being a long-time resident (I graduated from the “three story” Roosevelt Jr. High to give you a timeframe) I’ve been dealing with “fix it folks” for a long time.  The following list is made up of people and services I’ve had success in dealing with. Again, there are others out there who do solid work, but this list is my team.  No apologies offered.

William Van Dusen is a good man for all things wood.  I’m eager to replace a set of dry rotted French doors that are only ten years old.  Bill showed me why big box warehouse doors are made to fail.  Among many other problems, few handymen seal the bottom of exterior doors anymore to help keep moisture from climbing up into the wood frame.  He also pointed out how my 100-year-old original French doors are still in good shape.  Joinery is everything.  Now all I have to do is convince my household chief financial officer that a custom French door set for our bungalow is an investment in forever (OK, maybe just another 100 years).  Our 1915 beauty deserves the best.  But, before Bill comes over and screams, I must remind you he is a woodworker and not a handyman.  There’s a big difference.  But give him a call and he’ll be happy to refer you to one or two handymen.

Need a kitchen? or if you need lots of work done, give VanBerg Construction a call, they’re local, they’re competitive and do the job.  Nice folks.

We recently refurbished the oak floors in our bungalow with Geary Floors. They were not the lowest bid, but their floorside manner was very positive and the job was first rate.
I met them via St. Augustine High School after asking the good fathers there what firm they used to refinish the school’s gym floor.

North Park Rug & Carpets
Of course, when we had our floors redone, we needed to have new carpets to show off the floors.  We go to North Park Rug & Carpets.  For the best selection of quality rugs and carpets at fair prices we are lucky that store is in North Park.  This multi-generation retailer is simply the best.  However, if you are looking for collector grade Persian/silk rugs, I recommend Amir Ghods at Home Décor Fine Rugs.   Besides being the nicest man I’ve met in a long time, he is perfectly willing to explain to you the differences between collector quality Asian rugs and machine weave products that are made in the USA.  Amir is a pro. He doesn’t judge he just loves his trade and shares his knowledge.  And, that can be said of North Park Carpets as well.

Stickley reproductions at Seaside Home
When we first moved into our Craftsman Bungalow, we wanted to furnish it with Arts & Crafts era furnishings, preferably with a Stickley name.  Sadly, original Stickley antiques were going for $30,000 (in 1989).  But, we were happy to realize the next generation of Stickley furniture makers is producing fine reproductions of early Gustav Stickley and Harvey Ellis designs.  We’ve purchased reproductions when we could afford them.  Our Stickley reproduction pieces are the living room settle in red/wine leather w/coffee table; a Harvey Ellis rocker; a Celleret, and a Queen sized bed frame.  Stickley products are sold at Seaside Home in La Jolla.

I’ve noticed Pacific Drapery has moved to the rear (North Park Way) side when it leased out its front space to Pigment’s expansion.  It’s good to know this fine drapery and shade store is sticking around because they do excellent work.  All our window curtains are from Pacific Drapery.

Ephraim Faience
Pottery and Paintings come into our bungalows on whims, much like our kittens.  Over the years, our pottery collection arrived via countless antique store visits.  If we have a favorite it is the Ephraim Faience Pottery operation in Wisconsin and now Cambria, California.  We enjoy this wonderful Arts & Crafts era style (but at modern price).  A nice place to see Ephraim Faience pottery is Craftsman Revival in Solana Beach.

We met Laird Plumleigh, America’s top ceramic artists, at his studio in Leucadia when we were searching for ceramic tile to install in our new fireplace that Phyllis Shess designed.  We found the exact tiles we needed in Laird’s vast boneyard that is sprawled across the yard of his home and studio.  We discovered Laird’s work when he manned a booth at one of the local street fairs.  We bought a centerpiece tile “Ramona Oak” several years before we had Jim Crawford over at Authentic Fireplaces install it for us.

When our grandson lofted a baseball through one of our windows, we went to Golden Hill Glass to get new panes. 

Authentic Fireplaces with
Laird Plumleigh tiles
Jim Crawford at Authentic Fireplaces is a favorite of ours, he worked with us to design a Batchelder style fireplace in our bungalow.  He is passionate about his work.  No one is better at fixing or restoring or building new bungalow era fireplaces and chimney’s.

Our plumber is Bill over at Powers Plumbing, period! 

Pool maintenance: Rodger's Pool service.

Although, he’s not a landscape installer, Ray Shaw is a first rate landscape designer.  He helped us with design and plant selection and he’s kept in touch.  His specialty is Victorian and Arts and Crafts gardens. Talk about a niche.  He’s the best.

As for interior painter, that’s a job I have been asked to continue over the years despite the passage of the 13th amendment 150 years ago this week.  But for the big stuff we use Father’s Painting and Decorating.  The job they did for us in 2000 is still fresh, we just need to call them again to touch up Southside sun damage.  In North Park, west facing and south facing walls take the brunt of weathering.

When we replace any of our kitchen appliances I will be happy to bid out what I need between Ferguson’s and Fixtures Living.

Looking for period replacements for brass knobs, knob plates, hinges, glass knobs, cabinet pulls etc.  Then introduce yourself to the Rocky Mountain brand of fixtures available at San Diego Hardware (Bill Haynsworth).  If you have the patience to find originals then go to Architectural Salvage (Elizabeth Scalise) over on Kettner Blvd.  I can get lost for hours in each of these stores.  FYI; San Diego Hardware is run by the same family that started the business back in the late 1900s.

We had custom stained glass windows made via Dard Hunter, III.  We met him at one of SOHO’s Craftsman fairs several years ago and kept his business card.  Although he’s back east we were able to work with him over the phone.  Wonders of communication, scanning and emailing helped us here.  The windows arrived in great shape and they fit in our dining room like a proverbial glove.

Another name, Michael Good comes to mind.  He’s the region’s best wood stain remover and restain guy.  Keeping the original wood in top shape is a bungalow priority.  Michael is the man.

Everyone needs a friend in the antiques business.   Della Creelman, a North Park neighbor, whom we’ve adopted as family is an antiques pro.  Her main business is estate liquidation.  What we do is let Della know what kind of antique furnishing we’re in the market and when she finds it we either buy it from her or she tells us where to find it.  Our latest purchase was a glass tea cabinet we found at one of Della’s estate sales on Pershing Ave.

I’ve saved Craftsman Revival in Solana Beach for last on my list because I think the world of Tom Gerardy, the owner and visionary, who has made his life’s work to make all our bungalows and period homes look terrific.  His shop to me is like a living museum.
I’ve mentioned other carpet companies in this list, but Tom has the best selection in Arts & Crafts era designs.  The selection of period pottery is second to none. But his shop is more than carpets.  The entire range of Arts & Crafts era goods can be found here.  My goal is to buy a Morris chair from him, but I’m afraid when I go there to buy it I may be distracted by his wonderful collection of Plein Air paintings or pottery. It’s not in North Park, but well worth the drive to east Solana Beach.

How to Contact Tom’s List:

Arts & Crafts Specialist/Retail:
Craftsman Revival (Tom Gerardy), 858-259-5811

Millworking (wood, doors, cabinetry,etc.)
William Van Dusen, 619-443-7689

Stickley Furnishings:
Seaside Home, 858-454-0866

Father’s Painting & Decorating, 858-232-2468

Landscape Design:
Raymond Shaw, North Park, 696-9179

General Contractor:
VanBerg Construction, South Park, 619-237-5527

Ceramic Tile:
Laird Plumleigh, North County, 760-942-6051

Powers Plumbing, 619-295-2115

Hardwood Flooring:
Geary Floors, 619-460-3345

Wood Refinishing:
Michael Good, North Park, 619-291-3575

Pacific Drapery, North Park, 619-295-6031

Golden Hill Glass:

--Ephraim Faience Pottery West, 805-924-1275
and/or Ephraim Faience may be purchased locally
at Craftsman Revival, 858-259-5811.

Rugs and Carpets:
--North Park Rug & Carpet, North Park, 619-296-3156
--Craftsman Revival, 858-259-5811
--Home Décor Fine Rugs, Amir Ghods, 858-274-3674

Stained Glass, Arts & Crafts Era Art:
Dard Hunter, III, 740-779-3300

--Ferguson’s (Don Miller), 858-974-5100
--Fixtures Living (Mike Bershaw), 858-966-3643

Authentic Fireplaces, Jim Crawford, 858-274-6134

--San Diego Hardware, 858-576-1892 (new)
--Architectural Salvage, 619-696-1313 (old/antique)

Antiques consultant:
Della Creelman, antiques and estate liquidation services, 619-291-2660

Rodger Siordia, 619-316-1555

Fitness Equipment/Repair:
Fitness Direct, 858-653-3600

Top of the Tank is an occasional series on life in historic North Park, one of the nation's most diverse and architecturally significant neighborhoods with special emphasis on the Arts & Crafts Era (1890-1920).

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