Clayton classic inspires creativity: 1910 Arts and Craft-style bungalow sees extreme makeover

The Taylor family moved back to Clayton to raise their daughter on the St. Lawrence River that they both love. John, a historic architect, chose an Arts and Craft Bungalow in the heart of the village one block from the river and main business district as his home and office.

He opened Taylored Architecture this past year after renovating their home. Clients meet in the upper office, while they’re surrounded by John and Kristen’s creativity. What was the cold attic, became the “sky suite” which was dramatically brightened by skylights and painted wide plank floors in Benjamin Moore’s “freshly cut grass” swatch.

After living in the Washington, D.C., area, the convenience of small town life is just what the couple was looking for. Kristen also has started her own business, Taylor Public Relations, working out of their home.

Their home is a classic 1910 Arts and Craft Bungalow. The exterior has extended eaves with open rafters supported by authentic handmade brackets. The large open porch is framed with square columns and has unique cutouts in the porch walls. Generous windows flank the entrance allowing the sunlight and river breeze to cool the home in the summertime. Entrance to the living room is directly from the front porch in this efficiently planned home. They have recently created the new bluestone pathway to provide a larger area for plantings and privacy.

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The Bungalow style was made popular by Gustav Stickley who published plans in his Craftsman Magazine. Sears Roebuck also sold kit homes, delivering them to owners via railroad boxcars. Town historians speculate that this house might be a Sears catalog home that would have arrived at the Clayton train depot on the waterfront.

Inside, the kitchen, dining and living areas are separated only by partial walls and simple tapered columns. The interior has lots of with character. A built-in window seats adds seating in the dining room. The rooms have tall baseboards, picture rails, wooden floors and a brick fireplace. Kristen chose new lighter colors rather than the traditional tones used in Arts and Craft bungalows. Walls are a light shade of apple core and castle rock with bright white trim throughout. Fabrics and rugs draw their color from carefully selected art by river artists.

At Porch and Paddle, she chose painted furniture with craftsman detail. The dining table and chairs are a moss green with mahogany-stained table top. Upholstered arm chairs repeat the slat back of an original Morris chair. Woven flat-weave rugs add warmth and color. The chandelier is hand forged in Vermont.

1910 bungalow re-envisioned

The kitchen addition and renovation project was their biggest endeavor. They enlarged the space by incorporating the back porch footprint, which kept the original rooflines. Inset cabinetry construction with single-panel doors reflect the simplicity of the Arts and Craft style. Kohler’s farmhouse sink with honed Carrara marble countertops and backsplash complete the style. A favorite piece is the Bluestar gas range and hood in ruby red — one of 250 standard colors and made in Pennsylvania.

The master bath was renovated with Dal tile’s classic white subway tile, double apothecary sink, Carrara marble countertop and a reproduction clawfoot bathtub. The small hexagon unglazed porcelain tile replicates bath flooring of the era. The 1910 stained glass window was added for privacy and accent.

“We believe that great design doesn’t have to be expensive. We have done the majority of work on this house ourselves and have chosen furniture and fixtures- mostly from local vendors — with quality, frugality, integrity, and design impact in mind,” Kristen said.

The hands-on renovation continues to be a labor of love as the exterior is painted, and Marvin Window’s divided light cottage style windows in Wineberry will soon replace the white vinyl insert windows.

Peggy DeYoung is a nationally certified interior designer who owns the Porch and Paddle Cottage Shop in Clayton. Contact her at