21 November 2012

Honoring Jane Powell


Jane Powell on a BAHA House Tour (photo: Daniella Thompson, 2008)

On 11 November 2012, Jane Elizabeth Powell of Oakland, California, passed away in her beloved Bunga-Mansion, surrounded by her loving caregivers, friends, and her sister Mary. Her three devoted cats Maya, Tasha, and Piper were there with her through this courageous battle, and it was amazing to see their close bond and how they were present for her every day.

Jane was born in Detroit, Michigan. The second of three strong sisters, she learned from her mother Peg to embrace her family, “adopted’ family, and many friends, and make each person feel special and well loved. Jane touched many people’s lives in a profound way and had an amazing group of loyal friends who were with her through this long journey. Her father Nelson taught Jane the power of laughter and love of bad puns. Thanks to her quick wit and ability to make puns about almost anything, she was labeled the “bad girl of bungalow writing.”

She was a restoration consultant, house restorer, lecturer, color consultant, and the author of six books that read as if she were talking to you in person. Her books titles are Bungalow Kitchens; Bungalow Bathrooms; Bungalow Details: Exterior; Bungalow Details: Interior; Bungalow: The Ultimate Arts and Crafts Home; and Linoleum.

Jane was a preservationist exraordinaire and a favorite BAHA lecturer. Never afraid to speak her mind, she will be remembered for her funny, smart, energetic, edifying, and highly opinionated talks.

As a hands-on restorer and perfectionist, she brought ten vintage houses back to life with help from family and friends. The practical experience of restoring houses armed her with the 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 house. She left behind a vision for the restoration of her own home, the 1905 Jesse Matteson House, and her family is currently working on an offer from one of Jane’s former clients to buy the Bunga-Mansion and finish her restoration dream.

Jane is survived by her cats, Maya, Tasha, and Piper; her sisters, Nancy Klapak and Mary Enderle; her niece Karin Klapak and nephew Brian Klapak; and many interesting and loyal friends. A memorial service will be announced for some time in January 2013. Sympathy cards may be sent to Mary Enderle, 389 Photinia Lane, San Jose, CA 95127.

Ideas for honoring Jane’s legacy are offered on her website.

The Berkeley Daily Planet published Robert Brokl’s eulogy of Jane on 4 January 2013.

Your comments are invited below.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anthony Bruce said...

Jane Powell was truly one of the extra-special people in this world, and her knowledge, insight, and WIT will be sorely missed!

27 November, 2012 15:33  
Anonymous Deborah Anderson said...



Jane was a unique, non-conforming individual in her own write. Also, a very talented person who had many accomplishments. Jane will be missed but not forgotten.

05 December, 2012 00:26  
Blogger meghan shigo said...

I just learned of Jane's passing. She was an amazing woman. Jane came to the Anaheim Colony twice to speak to us about preservation. My favorite quote from Jane was the recessed lighting is ceiling acne. We have every one of her books. What a loss. Tim and Meghan Shigo

19 December, 2012 21:27  
Anonymous Lorri Rosenberg Arazi said...

Jane always had time for a friend or a fan. I'm a real estate broker and, earlier this year, had the pleasure of representing a home she'd rehabbed about 10 years ago. I called to invite her to the open house and, on Sunday aftenoon, was thrilled to have her visit. She was a treasure and will be sorely missed!
Lorri Rosenber Arazi

28 December, 2012 19:09  

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