WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors

Shop Drawings for Craftsman Interiors
by Robert W. Lang

Cambium Press: 2003
Paperback, 223 pp., $24.95
ISBN 1-892836-16-5

    As Bob Lang says in the introduction to his third and latest book, "The quality of our lives and of our society is affected by where and how we live..." No one believed or promoted that philosophy more fervently than Gustav Stickley, the primary exponent of the enduring "Craftsman" aesthetic in furniture and architecture at the outset of the 20th Century.
    Stickley's magazine, "The Craftsman," published between 1901 and 1916, was the flagship publication of the Arts & Crafts movement in America, providing both the ideological and practical underpinnings of the progressive Arts & Crafts lifestyle and spawning the uniquely American "bungalow" style of architecture that lives on in neighborhoods and communities across the country.
    Lang's book provides both context and measured working drawings for many of the Craftsman-style architectural elements found in typical bungalow homes, including moldings and trim, doors and windows, kitchen cabinets, built-in cabinets and bookcases, bedroom and bathroom cabinets, fireplace surrounds and staircases.
    The drawings in the book have been meticulously researched and compiled from original designs that appeared in "The Craftsman" and in original Stickley architectural blueprints; although, in many cases, Lang has made the drawings more relevant for modern builders and renovators by showing the use of plywood and other modern materials and construction methods.
    The most obvious case in point is his treatment of kitchen cabinets. After detailing original turn-of-the-century cabinets, Lang provides us with drawings of the modern equivalents, with standardized countertop and cabinet dimensions, in both face-frame and frameless versions. An informative introduction to the kitchen chapter, complete with original photos and illustrative key drawings, explains Lang's adaptations nicely.
    All the drawings in the book are based on AutoCAD originals. They are crisp and clearly dimensioned and include all the detail you need to recreate authentic replicas of the original woodwork.
    While by no means a comprehensive catalogue of Craftsman interior design, this book provides an excellent overview of the idioms, details and typical construction - as well as authoritative dimensions and molding profiles - of many essential architectural elements. It is a must-have source book for anyone interested in building or renovating a Craftsman-style home.

. . . Ellis Walentine