Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What in the World IS My House- Part 2

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I am a few steps closer to figuring out this house's origins and style.

This comment from LisaCarol of NunkProTunk's houses sent me off on a google search to search "pyramidal roof vernacular". I found many houses that looked similar, but lacked the "flat" top and centered chimney/vent. They were generally rectangular in shape, as well. Very close, but not quite!

A few of you suggested a cottage style might be more correct. I searched for "pyramid cottage" and found this picture, courtesy of the Park City (Utah) Historical Society and Museum:

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Pyramid cottage
"Named for its characteristic pyramid roof, the pyramid
cottage is described as a four room square building with
a pyramid roof and front porch."
Information from: Deborah Lyn Randall, Park
City Utah: An Architectural History of Mining Town Housing, 1869
to 1907
It's my house on the outside! The porch is a little larger, but everything from the flat topped pyramidal roof to the two windows and the simple porch columns is the same. The floor plan is quite similar, also. Our house does not have an entrance hall and the left two rooms are open to each other. There is also a small bathroom tucked between the right two rooms. I will be interested to see if we see signs of previous walls in those places when we re-floor. There is a square "inset" in the middle of the house, as noted in the floor plan above, as well. This is where our furnace and hot water heater are. I think we might have found a match!

I wanted to find out more information about this house style in Colorado. I expanded my search to include hipped roof houses as well as pyramidal houses and cottages. The houses are very common in railroad, mining, and timber towns of the west.

From the City of Longmont's Historical Preservation, Planning, and Development Services: (all emphasis is mine)
Vernacular Wood Frame
By far the most common style of architecture, vernacular wood frame structures have been built throughout Colorado since 1860. With an absence of architectural features and ornamentation that can distinguish a specific style, these simple, modest homes are divided into types according to floor plan and roof shapes.

The hipped box is a small, one-story structure with hipped roof and usually a front porch. These structures are commonly confused with the more elaborate classic box (Four Square) or Bungalow. Ornamentation is the key to distinguishing between these styles. The hipped box has no decorative elements.
So my house is now a hipped box. BUT WAIT! A survey on history buildings by the city of Pagosa Springs states this:
...the “Hipped Box” classification... is a building type, rather than an architectural style. Hipped Box type buildings are simple one story square (or close to square) buildings with pyramidal hipped roofs. They may have a small covered entry or stoop, but they do not have porches
mmmmm... time to do more research, this time at the library to settle these contradictory statements. I'm hoping to find out more information about the earliest occupants, and possibly even information about the original existence or absence of a front porch.

It is pretty clear that it isn't a classic cottage, as those have a dormer and are generally longer.

Conclusion: My house is either classified as a pyramidal cottage, a hipped box, a pyramidal box, or a hipped cottage. OR... all four are right.


Michael said...

I believe you have a "pyra-hipped-box-cottage"

Gary said...

So the one thing that is certain is that you live under a pyramid!

Beth at House-Made said...

This is all so cool! A pyramid cottage -- I suppose it gives you leeway if you ever want to decorate in an Egyptian style*, which then means more research to locate and implement Egyptian style.

*The author of this comment does not actually recommend this course of action.

Tiny Oak Park Bungalow said...

Pretty interesting. I didn't know of the housing type and am glad you were able to uncover something and shared it. You learn something new every day.

Aimee "Roo" said...

looks so much like the pyramid house for sure! even with the floor plan being different the outside is a match.

Christie said...

I love your "Tiny Old House", I too am working on fixing up an old house on a shoestring budget. I just haven't taken many pictures of the ugly process. This is my first visit to this blog, but I will be checking in on your progress. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

What a cool blog this is! I'm wondering if you'd be willing to talk more about your popcorn ceiling decision. I'm facing the same choice.



Jennifer said...

Oh, but Beth... I fully intend on decorating in ONLY the best styles of 3,000 years ago!

Tobi~ I haven't yet decided what to do about the popcorn ceiling yet. I'm sort of a scatterbrained fixer... I flit from project to project and that one just got "lost" along the way! (Along with the money to send the samples off. :) I'll be sure to post an update when I get it done.

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, I have been trying to look for the same type of house. I stumbled across your blog one day in my search. My folks bought a home alot like yours to remodel. I am also curious about what kinda style it was. We lived in an old coal mining town. Dad said they were old coal miners houses. But not sure on that. I have been in 5 of those kind of homes. They have 4 rooms, kitchen, living room, and two bedrooms. A bathroom in between the two bedrooms. As you walk in the living room there is generaly a bedroom off on the right or left. Sometimes they have a wide doorway in between. In back, kitchen sits beyond living room and bedroom sits adjacent to bedroom. Chimney went up the middle with wood stove that sat in the living room. In latter years some people put in a wall gas furnace. Ours was different than most, we had a dining room with only one bedroom. Later Dad extended a bedroom out for me. I have been searching and found maybe this website to be helpful. City Of Fort Wayne They call it Pyramidal-roof Cottage (c.1890-c.1925) and also Antique Home The Maples. Hope this helps a little.

lsaspacey said...

I work in the VA Department of Historic Resources archives department. The best thing about this job is the amount of out-of-print books on architecture and housing styles. You are definitely looking in the right places for your information.

One book you should look for is American Vernacular Design, 1870-1940 by Herbert Gottfried and Jan Jennings. I refer to this book constantly during the day and locating personal copies of this and their companion book on the interiors is a goal.

Good luck!