As the saying goes, “They don’t make ’em like they used to.” While there have been many advances in materials and construction techniques over the past 100 years, when it comes to architecture style and character it would seem that something has most definitely been forgotten along the way. It’s a sad state of affairs when the most remarkable thing about the prevailing architectural style is how un-remarkable it really is. Hence, the appeal of historic homes.
The Italianate style of architecture originated in Britain at the start of the 19th century. It made its way to the U.S. in the 1840’s, where it quickly became the most popular style in the country through the 1890’s. Sometimes referred to as “Neo-Renaissance”, is characterized by basic, often symmetrically-shaped structures, with an added dimension of ornateness that gives these homes their distinctly Italiante style. Everything from town halls, libraries and barns were designed in this style.
A Worthy Example:
A worthy example of this architectural style can be found in the historic home for sale at 7119 Maple Bluff Place in the Geist area of Indianapolis Indiana. This beautiful 4-bedroom, Italiante home rests on 3.25 acres among tall trees on 3 sides.
Italianates do not typically have gabled roofs. Rather, their roof lines follow a shallower slope and often have overhanging eves. Note the projecting eves with cornice moldings and decorative supporting brackets that provide visual appeal to the roofline of this home. In addition to providing a visual appeal, this typical Italiante feature serves the practical purpose of ensuring that rainwater is thrown free of the building’s walls.
An exquisite attention to detail can be seen in the pressed brass door hinges, lock plates and decorative handles that come with this home. Touches like this illustrate that no detail, no matter how small, is overlooked in the Italiante style.
One aspect of the Italiante style that led to its popularity was the versatility with which building materials could be utilized. Beautifully finished cherry, rich oak and pine were used in the woodwork, including solid wood trim that runs along nearly every edge and punctuates the strong, right angles that define the interior of this home. Transoms above the doors effectively extend the height of the doors as a visual unit. Beautifully crafted crown moldings provide a nice, transition from ceiling to wall—an aspect of many modern designs that has been sorely overlooked.
Original chestnut hardwood flooring can still be found in the kitchen and dining room. Other features include a slate roof, 8 original electrical light fixtures from 1938, leaded glass, built-in china cabinets, rock, marble and granite foundation, first floor master suite and possible 5th bed. The second and third floor square footage added together is 2,134 sq. ft.