Architectural Articles

Craftsman Homes in the Salinas Valley

One of my favorite architectural styles is the Craftsman (popular from about 1905 through 1930). The smaller homes are known as bungalows. They are part of the Arts and Crafts tradition that was popularized in California by the architect brothers Greene & Greene, who designed the impressive Gambel House (1908) in Pasadena.

Don Desmond of Desmond Building and Development of Salinas has built several new bungalows in Spreckles. Designed by the author, the newer homes compliment the older bungalows in town. Many of the traditional forms and details typical of the Craftsman style were used on the exterior, but changes were made inside. The floor plan was updated with a larger kitchen and more spacious rooms opening into one another. The Monterey County Historical Resources Review Board unanimously approved the new plans. These bungalows are described in the book titled Updating Classic America: Bungalows, written by M. Caren Connolly and Louis Wasserman, published by Taunton Press.

Characteristics of this style include a gabled roof (shaped like the letter ‘A’ on the ends), and dormers (windows projecting from the roof) with their own smaller roofs sloped like sheds. Look for exposed roof rafters (2 x 8’s at the edge of the roof overhanging the outside walls that can be seen from below). Decorative wood brackets may also be found supporting roofs and porches. Craftsman houses usually have raised floors (built above the ground about a foot or more), plus horizontal wood siding. Chimneys are usually exposed on the outside using brick or stone. Windows usually are double-hung (sliding up and down) with small multiple panes of glass.

You can find many splendid examples of Craftsman style residences in the central and southern end of Salinas. Take a Sunday afternoon drive with a street map through older neighborhoods between West Alisal and Central Avenue, and between Oldtown and Hartnell College, or drive along Pajaro or California Streets, and between Gavilan Street and Romie Lane. Bungalows in the Salinas Valley will surprise you with their variety. Enjoy the tour.

Published in The Californian, May 2004.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Back to Articles