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Italianate Architecture

Italianate architectureThe Italianate architecture style was popular in the United States in the mid to late 1800’s. Its popularity was big because of its ease to use different type of building materials and fit various budgets. This style came about in England during the picturesque movement. American Architect, Alexander Jackson Davis, is credited with introducing Italianate architecture to America in the 1840’s as a option or alternative to the preceding Gothic Revival style.

Italianate designed homes are common in the Midwest and northeast part of the country. In the south, Italianate house plans are less common. The Italianate style saw little construction in the south due to the civil war and the agriculture depression of the 1870’s. By the time things had picked up, this style was no longer the fashion statement. The Queen Anne house plan style had moved in as the latest trend in home design.

Italianate house plans are usually two or three stories in design with low pitched hip roofs. Over hanging eaves are generally wide (at least two feet) and are supported (in appearance) by decorative brackets or corbels usually grouped in pairs. Windows are tall and narrow, flat or arch top, and windows are dressed with some type of crowning or pediment. Exterior finishes can be seen in brick, stucco, and siding, making Italianate house designs very flexible. Other features include a covered entry or single story porch with decorative columns, towers (usually at front entrance), double front doors, low pitched gable centered over front entry, and square cupolas.