Italianate Farmhouse in Maine

An Italianate farmhouse in Winthrop, 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. The style was used for urban mansions and rural farmhouses, like this example with its attached ell, woodshed, and barn. The view from the belvedere would have been of fields rolling down to the lake.

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 our shop, https://yourhistorichouse.com/shop/.

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

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