The On the Block column in today’s Boston Globe Magazine featured one of my favorite house styles – the Gothic Revival. The three houses in the magazine are extraordinary. Want to see inside?
The Gothic Revival architectural style was popular in the US from 1830 to 1875. The style featured steep gables, often with decorative trim, and motifs that included trefoils, quatrefoils and Tudor arches.
The houses in today’s paper are every bit as exquisite inside as out. I had already fallen in love with the house at 20 Chestnut Street in Taunton after it turned up in a “serendipity search” in MLS. 7 High Street in Westborough and 19 Irving Street in New Bedford are new to me – though I’m going to search through my bookshelves since the Globe reports that Irving has been on the cover of two books on architecture.
Here are the Gothic Revival houses from the Globe in all their glory. Click on the small photo for a photo showcase with interior views and more information.
Elizabeth Bolton is an old house enthusiast and real estate agent in Cambridge MA.
I was on another antiquing jaunt recently when I came across this wonderful octagon house in Templeton MA on the “scenic tour” leg of my trip (I was lost).
This three-story octagon-plus-cupola is on Patriots Road at the corner of Cottage Lane. It’s a fabulous example of the octagonal style. While it looks like it needs some TLC it appears to have its original siding and decorative quoins.
The Octagon Inventory website page for Massachusetts has more info and photos – including an amazing photograph of the house’s staircase. The house was built in 1855 and is known as the T.T. Greenwood-Orre house.
Turns out there’s another octagon house nearby on Cottage Lane in Templeton that I missed.
Here are a couple more posts about octagon houses in Centers and Squares’ neck of the woods:
Octagon Houses in Stoneham – Read more about the octagonal style of architecture and see photos of Stoneham’s three octagons
Octagonal House in Medford – who knew there was an Octagon in Medford? It’s a little hard to spot but I did one day and snapped this photo.
I’m just getting to Sunday’s Boston Globe and was delighted to see a selection of Royal Barry Wills houses in the Boston Globe Magazine of Jan.1, 2012.
In its column, “On the Block,” the Globe featured three capes designed by architect Royal Barry Wills in Holden, Groton and Hingham. RBW designed Tudors, Colonials, and even a few Modernist houses, but it’s the quintessential New England Cape for which he is best known.
If you’re a Royal Barry Wills enthusiast, as I am, you’ll enjoy seeing the houses featured. Click on the small photo below for more info and lots more photographs.
Want to see more? We’ve got an earlier post with a link at the bottom that shows all the Royal Barry Wills houses in Massachusetts that are on the market (or at least those where the agent included the architect’s name in the MLS description). It’s probably the most charming collection of MLS photos you’ll ever see in one sitting.
We were on our way to a brokers’ open house in Medford when I stumbled upon the house at right. I love octagon houses and knew there was an unusual example of one in Medford but I never knew where it was. Turns out it’s the Richard Pinkham House at 24 Brooks Park in Medford.
Richard Pinkham was a house builder and this was his own home. The house’s construction dates from 1850 – 1855. Pinkham purchased the land in 1850 and the house first appears on a map in 1855. Richard Pinkham lived in the house for at least 50 years.
The house is very distinctive - blending elements of three architectural styles: Greek Revival, Italianate and Octagon Mode. What’s most unusual about the house is that the octagonal element is enveloped by the rest of the house with wings or rooms projecting from three sides of the ocatagon. It’s best appreciated in an aerial view.
The Richard Pinkham house was restored and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
Next door to the house (with a parking lot that straddles the Pinkham house) is this handsome building. It’s a large Federal Colonial style apartment building at 20 Brooks Park. The building was designed by Stirling / Brown Architects of Winchester. It’s a beautiful city building. You really have to look long and hard to realize that it’s only a few years old rather than 150 years old or more. Why can’t more new buildings look so good?
I’ve always liked Brooks Park. The loop of the street circles the grassy park of the same name. It’s tucked away but close to Medford Square, just across Main Street from the Royall House. There’s an interesting asssortment of houses of different eras including the house for sale at 13 Brooks Park that was our reason for visiting the neighborhood.
Working as a real estate allows me to indulge myself - though I have to guard my enthusiasms. It’s hard not to fall – and fall hard – when I see a fabulous house on tour. My budget keeps my home buying in check but there are fewer safeguards on my time.
It’s easy to get carried away online – spending precious time cruising through the listings on MLS. But every once in a while I indulge myself.
I call it the serendipity approach to MLS searching. When you need to pull up an MLS listing to make an appointment or answer a question an address search is typically the easiest way to find the entry.
But rather than type in “404 Elm Street” I type in just “Elm” and skim through the universe of listings on streets with “Elm” in the name.
Elm in fact would be a good one to search. So are street names like Main, North, Adams, West – any street’s that likely to have been around for a long time and have lots of old and interesting houses.
Yesterday I hit the motherlode when I searched the MLS for “High”. The search results maxed out – over 500 properties were listed for sale on High Street, Ave, etc or some variation of High such as Highland, Highfield or Highway.
And there were some glorious houses in the bunch. One after another fantasy-inducing house came up in the results. Too many to go through in one sitting.
Here are two of the most wonderful.
The first is a splendid turreted Queen Anne Victorian in Spencer. It’s really a compound with a large turreted carriage house and another small cottage. Check out the architectural details in the photos. All this on two acres for $799,000.
The second property is one of the most amazing houses I’ve come across on MLS. It’s a Japanese styled house in Fall River at 657 Highland Avenue. It was designed by noted architect Ralph Adams Cram in 1897 for Unitarian minister Reverend Arthur Knapp.
Buildings designed by Cram and his firm in Cambridge include houses at 128 Brattle Street and 26 Elmwood. Cram designed many churches including the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York and at least two in Cambridge: the Unitarian church in Harvard Square and the Society of St. John the Evangelist on Memorial Drive.
The extraordinary house in Fall River with its pagoda roof is on the National Register of Historic Places. Known as “Rising Sun” 657 Highland Ave is listed for just $299,888 – under $300k and magnificent!
You gott see these Houses on High - click on the small image for lots more photographs.
Cambridge House With A Tree In The Middle I came across this photo from an office tour earlier this year. It was an amazing house at 44 Grozier Road in West Cambridge. Designed in the early 1980s by architect /owner Eduardo Catalano, it was definitely one of the most unusual houses we’ve been lucky enough to tour.
There were many memorable elements but the one that caused the biggest stir was the tree growing up in the middle of the dining area, pictured here.
More about Catalano and his most well known designs can be found here, including additional photos of the house on Grozier Road.
I can remember a couple of us wondering if the house would be too “out there” for Cambridge home buyers or if perhaps some design enthusiasts would be in the market and able to afford it. We needn’t have worried – the house sold immediately – for more than $400,000 over the asking price.
Arlington Historical Society Triple Decker Lecture This Tuesday, Stuart Brorson of the Arlington Historical Society will give a talk on “The ‘Menace” of the Triple Decker” that will answer the question – if you ever thought to wonder – why there are so many triple deckers in Cambridge and Somerville but relatively few in Arlington and other nearby towns.
Brorson’s lecture will touch on architectural features of the triple-decker, public perceptions of this new style of building, and what the triple-decker can tell us about the period in which it was popular.
There’s relatively little information readily available about triple deckers so this is a not to be missed event for architecture enthusiasts or for anybody who’s ever called a triple decker home.
“The ‘Menace’ of the Triple Decker” lecture is scheduled for 7:30 pm on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at the Arlington Heights Nursery School, 10 Acton St, Arlington, MA 02476.
Open to the public. Admission is free for Arlington Historical Society members or $3 for non-members.
I was parked on an East Cambridge side street today to go to the Registry of Deeds in Cambridge for a real estate closing. This beautiful pair of Greek Revival doors caught my eye. This Cambridge neighborhood is a hotbed of Greek Revival architecture and there are many handsome examples.
To learn more about East Cambridge architecture see the Cambridge Historic Commission’s book East Cambridge by Susan E. Maycock.