|The John Graves House on Hillhouse Avenue, 1862.|
Unlike the other houses I have posted, this house is of wood without any pretension of simulating stonework. The architect chose to emphasize this with many elaborate carvings and clear clapboard siding. Everywhere there are ornaments tucked into the houses nooks and crannies and blind panels filling wall space. A strong belt course in wood divides the first and second stories dramatically. The front windows have heavy cornices and brackets and vary from floor to floor. This house is a celebration of variety and carving ability. The brackets on the box window above the porch are particularly interesting as they intersect all the horizontal bands of the entablature. The following pictures show some of this delightful ornamentation.
The windows on the second floor, with different brackets and elaborate foliage carving within the arch. Note the simple brackets on the cornice, a surprise given the elaborate treatment of the façade elsewhere.
These pictures give you an idea of the delicacy and robustness alternating in the Graves House's decoration. While some people find this decoration monstrous, I tend to delight in the whimsy and complexity of it all. The same things that cause me to enjoy it are exactly the qualities that encouraged people in the mid 20th century to label the house a 'monstrosity' and encouraged them to demolish them. In looking at a house like this, you eye never knows what to focus on first, and that appeals to me, making this one of my favorite houses on the avenue. I've also always thought that the color scheme was particularly well done; the red window sash, the alternation of browns, creams, and yellow tints all are period appropriate choices and don't overemphasize the decoration as a "painted-lady" color scheme might have. The Victorians loved their browns and this house responds to that period's point of view.
The interior of the house has recently been renovated by Yale. The staircase is particularly fine with its carved newel post.