House Style?

kellienoelleJanuary 24, 2013

We just bought a 1922 house. Very excited about it, but not sure of the exact style, foursquare maybe? I am excited to take possession and do some improving both inside and out, but want to stay true to the style. Knowing what it is may help. I am envisioning something more substantial for the porch, I have a feeling that when it isn't January the landscaping will be much more appealing!

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is there a dormer in the attic? that would be a 'hallmark' of the foursquare. Did it once have a wide front porch?

foursquare homes are really squares, four rooms per floor, with prairie and craftsman details.

It is a really nice home, good luck!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:01AM
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"Prairie box" ... the wide eaves are the key, and the cu7be shape.

Great floor plans, very efficient.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Every home that is square is NOT a four-square...the hallmarks of a foursquare are four rooms per floor, yes--BUT one of those rooms is the entry hall, and that puts the door to one side or the other. If you have a hallway in the center, then it is not a foursquare...more likely a colonial adaptation.

Dormers are also a sure sign of a true foursquare, as is a long front porch--which may have been removed, but most likely not. Also, the most common type of roof for a foursquare is a 'hipped' roof, which comes to a point, or very short axis at the top. From the picture, your roof is way too shallow...which leans more toward a Prairie style, but not a foursquare.

Also, foursquares had more than just prairie or craftsman influence--the designs drew from every conceivable just depended on what the builder liked and his budget. My own has tons of Greek Revival details inside, but for some weird reason, the porch columns are Tuscan--square and fluted. :)
It is a nice house...can we get some pics of the inside?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 10:56PM
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Thank you for the responses. For more info, I mentioned 1922, it is located in Kansas City. It actually is NOT a square, more of a rectangle, so just a bit skinnier than it is long. From what I am gathering with the roof features pointed out, it does seem more of the prairie style, so that gives me something to go on. Although I suspect that maybe it is the "mutt" of houses with a few different styles that may have been subjected to some non period updating along the way. I really want to make something grander for the porch in front, but only if it makes sense so am sure I'll be seeking out suggestions here along the way.

It is a relatively modest house since we are trying to downsize from our too big suburban home for just the two of us. This one is just around 2000 sq ft with great usable space on the main floor. Floorplan, the front pretty much opens to a not well defined foyer with a stairway in the center. It has the dining room to the left with kitchen behind (with an odd stairway from the kitchen to attach to the main stairway off the front of the house), the stairway in the middle, and the living room to the right. Things that appear to have been added at some time (as far as I can tell)...a porch that has been enclosed into an office off the living room on the right, a mystery room in the back of the living room that is semi-open to that room, and a mud room/powder room off the kitchen in the back.

I'll try to get some more pics to post. All i have now is the current online listing! I wish it had more natural original wood, but the white trims with all the great windows do make the house seem very light bright and airy!

This post was edited by kellienoelle on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 0:34

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 12:27AM
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Kellie, your house looks beautiful and I'm anxious to see more photos! I loved your description of the layout! On the occasions that I've seen them, I've been told that the "odd stairway" off the kitchen was meant to be used as access for servants. :p

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:16AM
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The important features are the large exposed roof overhang, the paired symmetrical windows and the absence of corner boards.

The Field Guide to American Houses shows a similar house but with a full porch.

The caption says:

Dallas Texas 1917
This house shows the close relationship of the subtype [Hipped Roof Craftsman] with the Prairie houses built in the four-square shape. The unenclosed eaves distinguish this example from similar Prairie forms; the porch supports are clearly Craftsman, but these are also used frequently on Prairie houses.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:38AM
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Craftsman may be one of my favorite styles, so I love seeing a picture which adds some Craftsman charm to the simplicity of my house. It gives me an idea of how enlarging the porch could change the front. I'll have to move in and live before I get too crazy with redoing things, because one of the things that I find most appealing is the bright sunniness while inside and fear that would be lost with a large covered front porch.

A couple pics of inside from the real estate listing....
The living room, if you look at the landing at the top of the stairs you will see the door that connects from the kitchen

The dining room, I will be searching out help to replace that light...

And the kitchen which is a nice space that I'll eventually want to remodel but think I'll have other areas that will demand my attention first.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Kellie, I think Craftsman sums up your house pretty well judging from what I can make out of the trim. Without a picture of the back mystery room, the one on the right side of the house was a sun-room most likely...the mystery one might have been a study?

The porch in that 1917 picture posted looks pretty deep--my porch is only 8', but still provides welcome shade during Ohio's hot summers. My house faces west, so I still get the sun in the latter part of the day...if your house faces south, I think in summer you'll wish for a long porch. :)

That dining room light is trying very hard to be faux colonial...probably changed out in the 50-60s...a Craftsman/Prairie style light would look much better--a tip though--don't hang the new one as low as a lot of people do. My dining room and parlor fixtures are at the same height, and it looks so much better than having the dining room one lower--it will still light up the table at normal height.

Unless something isn't working--here's the best piece of advice you can get: don't alter/redo anything for a year--what may seem awkward at first, likely had a good reason for being which you will only discover after having lived there for a while. From the pics, I'd say nothing cries out for redoing except the decor. :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 3:24PM
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"Unless something isn't working--here's the best piece of advice you can get: don't alter/redo anything for a year--what may seem awkward at first, likely had a good reason for being which you will only discover after having lived there for a while. From the pics, I'd say nothing cries out for redoing except the decor. :)"


    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Good advice. The only room I really want to get my hands on sooner is a rather large second bathroom with space that could be made much more functional (and prettier). I think that there is also possibly room to put the washer and dryer in there rather than having it in the basement. I have seen a couple different ideas on Houzz with cabnitry to disguise that are quite nice. I wouldn't feel bad about changing it because I would venture to guess that there is very little "original" in there. A couple different views of the bathroom, I think there is potential there to be really nice

My house faces west too, as does our current one now. Only difference is that our main living space in our current house is in the back, with very little used rooms (dining and living) in the front. You may be right about needing respite from the early day sunshine beating in the windows on my main living space! That I'll live with before committing to any changes. Plus it will give me time to do some research on what would really look/function the best.

This post was edited by kellienoelle on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 17:06

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 5:01PM
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That is a pretty large bath--I'd change almost nothing since the floor is great, and I love those windows! To add a washer/dryer, consider whether you need a separate shower and tub? How often do people these days really take a bath? That space could hold a washer and dryer side by side, with little alteration to the plumbing. Alternately, you could use the shower stall space with just minor changes to accomodate a staxkable washer/dryer.

Don't think about those 'high efficiency' units as I've heard and read a fair amount of negative things about them: often you have to cycle it a couple times to get out tough stains, and worse, they start to accumulate odors which are extremely difficult to clean out. My own are just old normal washers and dryers--the washer is from probably 1988, the dryer was in the house when I moved in, and the manual says 1967! To me, the hype surrounding the new style units is just that--designed to get more money out of the consumer for unneeded and less useful features.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 6:47PM
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That is exactly what I was thinking, actually going the stackable washer and dryer in the shower stall route. The master only has a shower, so I didn't want to get rid of the only bathing option in the house. It wouldn't involve much changes in plumbing, just needs a new tub/shower combo(the one there is pretty mini - perfect for bathing kids, but not so much for showering) with some nice tiling surrounding it. Buying a new vanity, maybe seeing if you could wall off the toilet somehow. Like you I love the floor and windows, so it seems to be like it could be much nicer with just some minimal changes!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:30PM
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Bear in mind Kellie, that an upstairs laundry ought to have a drain pan in case of leaks--guess what--that shower stall already has it! A nice stroke of practicality and recycling. :)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 8:48PM
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So you passed on the one with the bad foundation :-)

Karin L

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 3:13PM
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We've looked a few other houses that had those similar braces. For better or worse we passed on all of them, although I guess it isn't that uncommon for older houses in this part of the country. This one has a stone foundation that appears to be in good shape. As far as I can tell anyway. We are springing for the inspector recommended by our structural engineer friend (who is twice as expensive as all the others) hoping he combs it with a fine tooth comb. With this house are sacrificing some space and conveniences for a house that just feels "solid" (if that makes sense) so I want somebody to tell me if that is not the case. Fingers crossed that it is as nicely maintained as it appears because otherwise we will be packing up a POD and moving in with friends while we continue the home search!

Just for fun, here are a couple of pics I took today...
the narrow staircase that runs from the kitchen to attach to the landing of the main staircase

And a couple from the "bonus room" off of the main living room. It is about 10 1/2 feet x 7 feet. It has some nice big windows, but most of the house does. It's cute, but I am not sure what to do with it.

This post was edited by kellienoelle on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 0:25

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:30PM
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