The Arts & Crafts Houses of Massachusetts

A Style Rediscovered

Heli Meltsner

pp. 160, 8.25 x 10, Paperback



May 22nd, 2019

At the opening of the twentieth century, Massachusetts architects struggled to create an authentic new look that would reflect their clients’ increasingly informal way of life. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement in England, the result was a charming style that proved especially appropriate for the rapidly expanding suburbs and vacation houses in the state—charming but overlooked, principally because the style is somewhat difficult to describe. The Arts and Crafts Houses of Massachusetts brings these homes, hidden in plain sight, the attention they deserve. Meticulously researched and with abundant color photos, the book is the only work focusing on the state’s Arts and Crafts domestic architecture and the only one to include an illustrated field guide. It is also the first book to explore the use of this cutting-edge style in designing buildings for estate servants, transit workers, and renters—groups that historically lacked access to professionally designed homes.

Heli Meltsner is a long-time historic preservation consultant, the author of the Poorhouses of Massachusetts: a Cultural and Architectural History (2012) and an editor of Saving Cambridge: Historic Preservation in America’s Innovation City (2013). She is curator of the Cambridge Historical Society and serves on Cambridge’s Avon Hill neighborhood conservation district commission. Heli graduated from Swarthmore College and trained in historic preservation at Columbia School of Architecture. She was also senior planner with the Framingham planning department. A resident of Cambridge, she is passionate about historic houses and helping them survive to tell their stories. Especially memorable for her was a visit to England’s Letchworth Garden City and Voysey’s Perrycroft, both models for the houses in this book.