|Hamilton Ormsby House, Lyndon, KY 1867 Photo: Wikimedia|
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Monday, May 9, 2016
|The N. Wilson House, East Millstone, NJ. 1888 Photo: Wikimedia|
The details on this house are rather intriguing. The first floor windows are segmental arched, the second rectangular, a slight variation from the usual interplay of shapes. The subdued label stone moldings are spare with bulls eyes and carved keystones, echoing patterns one sees on late 19th century Eastlake interior woodwork. The two main carved features are the porch and cornice. The porch which wraps around the house is a rather clunky arrangement of disparate artistic forms. Fussy posts with too many molded sections support an entablature that consists of an open arch with drops on the first stage, a row of pierced circles on the second, and strange boards on the third which have blind quarter arches with keystones and incised Eastlake carving in the spandrels. It seems the designer, instead of relying on any precedents, decided to construct an entablature from various random sections from a catalogue, transforming classical design into a series of superimposed decorative bands. The cornice as well is very strange. It's elaborately paneled in its frieze, with a run of dentils, then another band of panels above. The brackets, which are s scroll type, are elongated. It is in their placement that we can see the influence of the irregular conception. Unlike most Italianates, this house has an uneven and irregular placement for the brackets, with different spacings between the groupings. Around the tower section, for instance, we have two tightly placed brackets in a pair to the left while to the right are three tightly placed brackets, behaving as they would if there really were a projecting tower. Similarly to the right of the projecting facade, we have one widely spaced bracket and then a tightly placed pair, basically filling the space on the cornice with as many brackets as possible. It's very strange. As you can see on the side facade, there is a bizarre projection over the box window which takes the form of a mansard roof in section with decorated barge boards. But stranger is that the architect decided instead of treating it as a mansard roof proper, to run the cornice design onto it, causing to to grow inorganically out of the facade.
Overall, the Wilson house is a great example of someone who let their desire to impress with carving and woodwork get in the way of adhering to harmonious principles. But despite awkwardness, the house achieves its purpose in appearing grand and expensive, and is overall a successful stylistic muddle.
Saturday, May 7, 2016
|The John G. Schenck House, Neshanic, NJ 1858 Photo: Wikimedia|
The first story has simple molded paired windows and the expected porch, with very thin paired columns and a central rounded pediment, echoing the touchstone of the design, the segmental arch. The second story has paired arched tombstone windows in the side bays with elaborately eared moldings connecting the two windows (note the several ears). These are topped with keystones that become brackets supporting the hood molding. The central bay features a palladian window with a segmental arched central element and a conforming molding. The entablature construction is complex. The architrave molding here is a unique Greek key design, while a second molding is bead and reel, an expensive carved choice. The dramatic paired s scroll brackets terminating in acanthus leaves interrupting a run of elongated dentils divide bays with paired segmental arched windows in between. Round arched tombstone windows differentiate the central bay. Noteworthy is that the high level of decoration seems to continue on the sides. Finally, the cupola is magnificent. It's low with a run of five arched windows, brackets that run the length of the wall, a cornice that has an engaged rounded pediment (again the echoes of the arch), and a Moorish fringe forming the entablature decoration. This house uses its curves and echoes them in each element of the design to form harmony and a likeness of parts, drawing the house into a unified vehicle of design. It's definitely one of my favorites.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
|The William Munro House, Hillsborough, NJ. 1870|
Built in a somewhat rural area of Hillsborough, NJ, the William Munro house is an impressive example of a symmetrical plan villa in wood and has been beautifully maintained. The house is a cube with the defining feature of engaged round pediments on three of the facades which is echoed in the cupola. The central bay of the front facade projects dramatically while the sides are flat. The first floor windows are long with simple molded surrounds, while those on the second floor are segmental arched with deep hood moldings. The simplicity of the first floor windows is warranted by the elaborate porch that encompasses the majority of the first floor. The porch itself is impressive for the contrast between its heavy cornice with brackets, panels, and central pediment, and its impossibly thin posts, which make the roof almost seem to hover. The central second floor window on the front is particularly elegant with paired segmental arched windows with a bracketed projection over the window; over this is a fancy jigsaw cut out that is a vernacular version of rococo designs. The house's entablature is tall, with pairs of c and s scroll brackets, that surround segmental arched windows. The engaged open pediments (pediments with an open molding in the bottom) have arched windows, dentils, and centrally placed bracket pairs (somewhat uncommon). The cupola is particularly fine with a strong architrave molding and brackets placed both at the top and bottom of the wall, easing the transition from roof to cupola. The repetition of shapes in this house is a model of harmonious design. Images of the richly decorated and finely preserved interior can be seen here.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
|Frank P. Hearne House, Hannibal, MO. 1871 Photo: Mike Steele|
|Alfred Lamb House, Hannibal, MO. 1859 Photo: Mike Steele|
This lower house was built by Alfred Lamb a railroad president in 1859. Since this photo, the house has been beautifully restored by expert restoration craftsmen and is now the Belvedere Inn. It follows the five bay plan with a hip roof. The segmental arched windows on the second floor are topped with especially fancy cast iron rococo hood moldings. The porches have been restored with all their splendor. What catches my eye especially on this house though is its massive cupola, perhaps the largest cupola I have posted on this blog. The cupola is rectangular, rather than square as expected, and each bay of the cupola has two arched windows with eared surroundings and dentils. The sides are twice as long as the front. I'd imagine that given its size, it must produce a sizeable interior space that has more functionality than the typical cupola.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
|The Jesse McVeigh House, Hannibal, MO. 1885 Photo: Brandon Bartoszek|
|Photo: Amanda Baird/BlackDoll Photography|
The plan must have been popular. It seems that John Mounce beat the McVeighs in introducing this plan in his house at 207 N Maple in 1880. The Mounce house is basically identical (without the second story porch addition) although the second story windows are joined rather than separated as in the McVeigh house.
|Mounce House, 1880 Photo: Mike Steele|
|Photo: Amanda Baird/BlackDoll Photography|