Craftsman bungalows of early 1900s were simple, yet elegant

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News

Written for the 2010 Tustin Area Historical Societyís annual Old Town Promenade

Craftsman homes, also called bungalows, were built frequently in Orange County cities, including Tustin during the early 20th century. Architects and designers, such as Greene and Greene, Gustav Stickley and others, used the design, which followed the simpler scaled down principles of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Earth tones, high quality materials, an appreciation for craftsmanship, and simple yet elegant design details were the hallmarks of this wonderfully understated new style.

The Craftsman Bungalow, which featured big porches, low-pitched roofs, often double-gabled, and wood siding, was built at a time when builders were true craftsmen and many materials used were very high quality.

Raised concrete foundations and hardwood flooring as well as the use of termite resistant redwood for the structure characterized their construction. Built-in cabinets, shelves, seats, ironing boards and niches are other earmarks of these bungalows, which were often built between 1900 and 1930.

The Old Town Tustin Home and Garden tour on May 1 will feature a California bungalow built in 1915 on Main Street west of the downtown area.

Selected for the city of Tustin Historical Survey in 1990, the house has a double-gabled roof, fronted with wide frontfacing porch gables.

Matching piers of brick in shades of tan, red and gold support a railing of wide and narrow balusters on each side of the centered entrance.

Narrow clapboard siding, doublehung windows, a brick chimney and a clapboard double garage in the back yard verify its architectural style.

Home to several families, including Charles Greenwood and his wife, Belle, and Ira and Daisy Price, over the years, the house has also been owned by the First Advent Christian Church. Trajan Perez is the current owner.

Fewer than a dozen homes were built in Tustin during the Depression era, resulting in a housing shortage in later years.

Because there were few vacant lots available in Tustin at the time, many of the homeowners with small groves surrounding their houses divided their property.

The owner of the Victorian-Italianate house and barn at the corner of South A and West Second streets sold the acreage behind his home to Bill and Harriet Jones, who subdivided it into three 50 by 150 square-foot lots.

Working with two partners, Jones, who had retired after 30 years as Knottís construction supervisor, built a home on each lot in 1961.

When they didnít sell for $18,000, the two partners moved into the houses on either side. The middle home was kept as a rental until 1978 when Mr. and Mrs. Jones made the decision to downsize and moved into it.

This house, which will be open to visitors during the home and garden tour, is warm and cozy, a modern day bungalow with knotty pine.

A master bedroom has been added at the rear and the size of the kitchen has been doubled, but the original country ambiance remains.

Tickets for the Tustin Area Historical Societyís annual Old Town Promenade from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 1 are available at the Museum for $20 ($25 at the door). Contact the museum (714-731-5701) for more information or go to their website at


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