Michigan House Detective

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Research, Building Styles, Greek Revival, History

A recent book by Fred Peterson titled Homes in the Heartland describes the evolution of the balloon-frame farmhouse in the upper Midwest.  Peterson notes one characteristic of many, first generation farmhouses: an eclectic nature where they were built in stages with several additions. When settlers arrived in the Midwest one of their first priorities was building shelter.  This […]

The I-House

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, History

When people think of 19th century houses they often  imagine grand Queen Anne homes with towers, elaborate porches and oodles spindles, brackets and fretwork.  However, if you read through my blog you might have noticed that there isn’t much devoted to high-style Victorian homes.  I have, however, written a fair bit about more common houses.  […]

Minnesota Romantic: The LeDuc House

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Andrew Jackson Downing, Gothic Revival, History, Picturesque

Andrew Jackson Downing ([October 30, 1815 – July 28, 1852) was a prominent landscape designer, architectural critic and advocate for romantic architectural styles in the United States. His pattern books Cottage Residences (1842) and The Architecture of Country Houses (1850) were widely read and introduced Americans to revival styles popular in England. Jackson’s advocacy for the […]

The Georgian: Berkeley Plantation.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Georgian, History

In his book Architecture in the United States, Dell Upton proposes that there are two themes in American architecture: The classical, which is “regular, ordered, modular, symmetrical, balanced,” and the picturesque, which is “less obviously ordered, asymmetrical, less obviously unified, often accretive.” Upton’s views echo those of E. K. Rossiter and F. A. Wright, who […]

The Second Empire Style

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in History, Second Empire

Many 19th century building styles like the Greek Revival, Gothic Revival and Italianate were inspired by historic precedents and featured antique details and design.  Around the middle of the century many Americans opted for a more “modern” style which adapted some fashionable designs elements current in Paris.  This new style, called the Second Empire, proved to be especially […]

The Greek Revival: America’s First National Building Style

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Greek Revival, History

The Greek Revival has always been my favorite American building style.  I find its simplicity appealing while its bold and solid nature remind me of the growing confidence and wealth of the new American republic.  The Greek Revival style is quite significant because it was America’s first national style.  Although based on a European precedents, the […]