Judging a House by its Cover

By: Holly Bayer, ASID

On a recent trip to Chicago, I spent an afternoon walking through one of the neighborhoods north of city center and found myself on a street which was a veritable dictionary of architectural style! Side by side, Victorian, Colonial, Art Nouveau and Modern styled brownstones stood; intermingling with each other in the most polite way!

With identical “bones,” these brownstones were erected in the mid to late 1800’s. The ongoing remodel of each of these neighboring properties has distinguished them as entirely unique homes. They may contain the exact same plumbing locations and floor layouts on the inside but their facades tell an entirely different story.

It’s all in the details!

By supporting a rectangular portico with Greek Ionic style columns, this brownstone became a Colonial.

With added gingerbread details, scalloped shingles and cast iron cresting on top of this portico, this brownstone became a Victorian residence:

Next door?

Perhaps the most beautiful of all, an organically detailed, Art Nouveau inspired exterior door:

And to keep the street from being entirely textbook, a Modern entrance; a study in lines, proportion and color!