. “I like a vernacular that feels slightly monkeyed with -True authenticity is a lack of perfection.” – Gil Schafer
One of the elements I am most fascinated with lately is the back sides of vernacular Greek Revival’s – The fronts have fairly predictable variations on the standard layouts – either the classic Temple, The more restrained ‘simple’ Midwestern layout – or the ‘Hen and Chicks layout – (where temple front is flanked by smaller wings on either side).
While most farmhouse retain the strictness of their facade (save for a enclosed porch or two) – It is the back view that reveals the age and ‘accumulation’ that happens on old houses. – The House Pictured below is a New Build which is artfully designed by Architect Kristine Sprague to look original. It features a back (or more correctly side?) facade that was made to look as if it naturally and ‘organically’ created over time . What I find most interesting is that the windows on the top floor do not line up symmetrically with those below – which actually minimizes and relaxes the symmetrical tension of the back view.
“Dates and style labels are used as general guidelines to distinguish various design forms. Care must be used in attaching design labels to specific buildings. Few examples of pure styles exist.
Before 1870, the major design resource for builders were “pattern“ books that illustrated plans and elevations of buildings. Often houses were built with parts from more than one pattern, and favorite details of several styles were combined. In addition, many styles received local variations in response to different climates, availability of building materials, and personal needs. In many cases, designs continued to be built in some areas of the country long after they were considered out of fashion in others.”