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Symmetrical Italianate Villa

A symmetrical Italianate villa. The Italianate and Gothic Revival styles are known for introducing 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 symmetrical form, as in this Dover, NH house with its low hipped roof on a symmetrical block with a pedimented projecting center bay. The full-width porch with turned posts and balusters may be a later alteration. Note the relatively rare bifold shutters on the second story windows -typically used on bay windows where there was not enough room for a full-width shutter to open against the wall.

The Italianate style appeared before the Civil War and took off after the war, with examples of the style ranging from modest wood cottages to immense masonry mansions appearing all across 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 and types described and illustrated in Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”

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

Signed and personalized copies are available directly from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.

Bookstores can order copies from W.W. Norton.

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