Italianate Villa with Belvedere

An Italianate villa with belvedere in Hallowell, ME.

The Italianate and Gothic Revival styles introduced romantic irregular asymmetrical silhouettes to American homes, with towers, porches, bay windows, and other elements that broke up the simple rectangular box of earlier houses. But, the Italianate style also appeared in restrained cubical form, as in this villa with a low hipped roof on a symmetrical cubical block topped with a cubical belvedere.

The Italianate style got a toehold before the Civil War, popularized in part by its use for Queen Victoria’s summer retreat Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. It really took off after the war, with examples of the style appearing in all parts of the United States.

Understanding the style, or styles, of a house will help you identify which features are character-defining so you can prioritize their preservation.

Italianate is one of 25 styles described and illustrated with character-defining features keyed to dozens of color photos in Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”

The 720-page award-winning and best-selling hardcover book is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

Signed and personalized copies are available directly from the author in the shop on this site, https://yourhistorichouse.com/shop/.

“A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester is now available in our shop!

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