Wednesday, January 28, 2015

'Blandwood', the Charles Bland House, Greensboro, NC

Blandwood, Greensboro, NC. 1844
Continuing my exploration of some early Italianate houses, Blandwood in Greensboro is one of the nation's oldest Italianate homes, and it's spare design reflects the simplicity of many early Italianate houses. Begun as an 18th century farmhouse (the four room plan of which can be seen below), the home reached its current design in 1844 under the aegis of none other than Alexander Jackson Davis, the man who introduced Italianate design to America. Davis altered the house for James Moorehead by creating a new wing connected to the original house by a central hall and adding Italianate details, such as the arched entryway, central tower, plaster exterior, and rafter brackets, which are characteristic of most early Italianates. The lack of cornice ornamentation is also typical of an early design. The facade is of the symmetrical and central tower type, and unusual for this kind of design the tower projects dramatically from the facade and is not relieved by side porches. The overall effect is severity at its extreme.

Atypical for an Italianate house, this building lacks the usual play of round and flat headed windows that are usually found in towers. Similarly, the small size of the second floor windows is uncommon. The house also creates a strong sense of formality by the connection of the kitchen and side buildings with segmental arched arcades and simple pilasters. A folly like this is more common in English formal design than American. The interiors are well preserved, since the house was saved from demolition and now operates as a museum. A couple images below, selected from the NCSU page on the house, illustrate the elaborate interiors in their pre-restored state. Blandwood is a rare survivor of a fascinating early page in the history of Italianate design in America. 

Following Photos: NCSU

1 comment:

  1. The simplicity of the exterior is startling!