Jane Powell 1952-2012

Jane PowellIt is with great sadness that we announce the loss of our dear Jane E. Powell, author, linoleum expert, historian, and notorious curmudgeon.

Jane passed away  peacefully on the morning of November 11, 2012 surrounded by friends in her beloved Bungamansion in Oakland. She will be greatly missed by countless fans and friends, and especially by us.

Ms. Powell was a restoration consultant, house restorer, lecturer, and author of six books, including Bungalow Kitchens; Bungalow Bathrooms; Bungalow Details: Exterior; Bungalow Details: Interiors; Bungalow: The Ultimate Arts and Crafts Home; and Linoleum.

A long-time Artistic License member and former president of the guild, Jane was well-known as “the bad girl of bungalow writing”  and often described herself as  “historian, author, and notorious curmudgeon.”

As a hands-on restorer, she brought ten vintage homes back to life and sold them to appreciative buyers, as well as restoring her own home, the 1905 Jesse Matteson house, affectionately known as “the Bungamansion.”   The practical experience of restoring houses armed her with the kind of concrete knowledge that can only be gained by screwing up, and thus she was uniquely qualified to help her clients avoid many of the pitfalls that go along with restoring an older home. As a restoration consultant, she helped homeowners as well as house museums with their kitchens, bathrooms, interior and exterior paint colors, and other aspects of restoration and renovation.

Ms. Powell wrote for magazines including Old House Journal, Style 1900, and American Bungalow. She wrote a monthly column as well as feature articles for the San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and her opinion pieces appeared in the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Oakland Tribune, and on Oaklandnews.com. She also appeared on HGTV’s Curb Appeal and Food Network’s Ultimate Kitchens.

Jane Powell at Bungamansion
Jane at the Bungamansion benefit in 2011, photo by Melanie Hofmann

She was a popular and entertaining speaker, and lectured at conferences including The Grove Park Arts and Crafts Conference, Pasadena’s Craftsman Weekend, Seattle’s Bungalow Fair, the Restoration and Renovation Conference, and many others. She also spoke for preservation organizations, neighborhood associations, home builders groups, and historic district organizations across the country, and even at kitchen showrooms and retail businesses. In addition to the talks based on her various books, she spoke on related subjects including historic preservation, development issues, and the built environment.

Jane is survived by her sisters, Nancy Klapak, Mary (Rob) Enderle, Karin and Brian Klapak her niece and nephew and many loyal friends. A memorial service is planned for January 2013. Donations can be made to the East Bay SPCA-Oakland in honor of her many cats at Jane’s website via PayPal www.janepowell.org/tinykitties .    Sympathy cards or donations can also be sent to her sister Mary Enderle at 389 Photinia Lane, San Jose, CA 95127.