Italianate Style: 1840 - 1880
Like Gothic Revival before it the Italianate style began in England with the Romantic or Picturesque movement emphasizing rural, rambling informal farmhouses and moving away from the 200 year old predominant and more formal styles of Greek Revival and Classicism. Like its cousin Gothic Revival, Italianate was strongly influenced by Andrew Jackson Downing's pattern books and by the 1860's had completely overshadowed its earlier companion. The Italianate style dominated American houses built between 1850 and 1880. The style declined during the 1870's following an economic depression in the United States. There are several existing houses in our Village showing features of this popular architectural style.
The Seeley House at 83 West Avenue has intricate wooden brackets supporting the eaves is repeated in the porches and cupola. It has poked up gables on four sides with crowned Palladium windows, which have a carved fleur-de-le matching the carving on stone lintels below. This house is a designated landmark.
Characteristic Details of Italianate:
Roofs and Cornices
A hipped roof is most common with large eave brackets that dominate the cornice line or the occasional L-shaped structure with cross-hipped or cross-gabled roofs. The brackets can be arranged singly or in pairs and are themselves often displayed on decorated panels or moldings. The house at 185 North Main Street has paired brackets at the cornice line.
Cupolas or towers are another hallmark of Italianate structures. Frequently elaborate, using the same hip roof and wide overhanging eaves with decorated and bracketed cornices and often showing the same intricate detail over the windows. The house at 83 West Avenue has a cupola with all of these extraordinary features.
Porches are almost universally present porches but are simple and one story in height. The most common porch support is a square post with beveled corners. The structure at 70 South Main Street, a designated landmark, displays a single entry porch with the graceful design repeated across the front of the house.
Italianate windows are tall and narrow with one or two panes. Arched and curved (segmentally arched) window tops became common and extravagant detail was used in the rest of the window framing. On the upper floor of 83 West Avenue segmented arched windows is seen with a segmented crested detail over the top.
Single or paired doors, are popular and occur in the same shape as the windows - rectangular, arched or segmented. Elaborate framing over the doors is similar to the framing used over the windows. The use of a single glass pane in the door itself rather than many small panes surrounding the door first became common in Italianate houses. The house at 83 West Avenue shows these details on its doorway.
The Kraai house at 84 South Main Street is a 2 story brick house with a low pitched hip roof and widely overhanging eaves. The eaves are supported by decorative brackets with a wooden “cannon ball’ hanging from each. The tall narrow windows have stone sills with stone lintels. This house and carriage barn are designated landmarks. The carriage house also has Italianate features.
For an index of other styles that can be found in the Perinton area go to the Architectural Styles page in the History section.