American Bungalow Magazine
A Modern Crafts Man Takes Root Image Credit: American Bungalow Magazine
A Modern Crafts Man Takes Root Image Credit: American Bungalow Magazine

A Modern Crafts- Man Takes Root

When Judy and Mark Deitch contemplated renovations on their newly purchased Calabasas, California, ranch house, they were about to launch themselves into an architectural and design endeavor that would lead them from an initial flirtation with the Prairie style to becoming devotees of Arts and Crafts.

Jenna Anderson and Sarah scott

By the time construction was complete, their from-the-ground-up Craftsman build would combine old and new elements while harmoniously blending with its natural surroundings, in a respectful nod to the movement’s originators.

As new parents living in Burbank in 1999, the Deitches craved a tranquil environment that would also offer quality public schools for their preschool-aged children. Mark was intrigued with the Calabasas area in the west San Fernando Valley, despite its high home prices and low house inventory, so the communications firm founder and CEO put his marketing skills to work by conducting direct outreach to homeowners.

“He sent letters asking if they’d be interested in selling their home to a nice, young family,” says Judy. “To our amazement, we got so many replies that we were able to choose from several lower-priced fixer-uppers.” The two decided on and purchased a neglected 1950s ranchstyle home with a picturesque view of open wilderness in July 1999, intending to remodel the house as their time and finances permitted.

Unfortunately, after living in the home for several months, they found that there were structural problems that precluded simple, cosmetic renovations. “So after almost two years of planning, deliberating and procuring a bank loan, we began the journey to build our dream house,” Judy says.

As they delved into architectural research, a different aesthetic began to call to


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