After nearly a year of searching for a home that I could afford to purchase without a mortgage I found this little sweetie. Built in 1919, she has beautiful bones but like all of us, as she aged things began to sag, and crack, and leak, and groan. She has potential and I hope to restore the beauty that once was.
In researching houses from the early 1900’s I found that the most popular styles were the Prairie House, the Craftsman style, Frank Lloyd Wright and the American Foursquare.
Prairie houses are one or two-story houses with big eaves, strong horizontal lines and and a low pitched roof. Pretty houses, but not mine. (photo- tripadvisor.com)
This little beauty is an example of Craftsman architecture. The exposed rafters, wide porch and slanted columns are characteristic of a Craftsman style house. There are quite a few houses of this style in my little home town, but mine isn’t one of them.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture evolved throughout his life. He originated the Prairie style home and many of his houses reflect similar characteristics- low rooflines and a stress on horizontal lines. His later contributions stressed that a house should be part of the landscape and should blend into nature rather than dominating it. One small aspect of his design is a side entrance to the house, which allowed for more landscaping in the front of the house, in an effort to blend the house into its surroundings. My house has this side entrance, but little else that reflects Frank Lloyd Wright.
That brings us to the American Foursquare style. It is characterized by a pyramidal roof, boxy shape and quiet style. That’s my house. Foursquares also typically have wide porches and clusters of windows. Mine lacks these, maybe the victims of remodeling? Who knows. Foursquares were popular from the 1890’s through the 1930’s. They were economical houses that could be purchased as prefabricated parts (modular houses in the 1890’s?- who knew!) They were solid little houses that fit on a small lot and their boxy shape allowed for a lot of usable interior space.
So why do I care about the style of architecture? It gives me a reference to what I need to do to the interior to restore the house to its original comfort and style. It helps me to blend my personal decorating taste with what fits the house. It has also helped me to gain an insight into what might lie behind the walls and in the attic (if I can ever find the attic access!). I can take what I like from the styles of the period and make the my own. One thing I really love about Frank Lloyd Wright is his concept of blending the house into nature. That will be my guiding light as I begin to work on landscaping the front of the house.