Name that house
January 25, 2013 11:47 AM   Subscribe

What architectural style is this house? Or what style was it originally? It's located in the Midwest and was built in 1941. I've tried this neat tool, but nothing seems to fit. Maybe the place is just a mutt.
posted by scottatdrake to Home & Garden (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'd call it a quasi-Cape Cod.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:49 AM on January 25, 2013

That's a Cape Cod.
posted by hmo at 11:49 AM on January 25, 2013

Cape Cod style was my initial impression too.
posted by sbutler at 11:51 AM on January 25, 2013

I suspect it was built as a standard Cape Cod and the cross-gable bit was an addition.
posted by mollweide at 11:57 AM on January 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Interesting! I didn't think that dormer(?) thing on the front was an addition but maybe I'm wrong.
posted by scottatdrake at 12:08 PM on January 25, 2013

Minimal Traditional. Houses built post-depression had minimal styling that usually recalled earler American styles. This is a Minimal Traditional home with some Cape Cod and/or Colonial references, but it is neither a true Cape Cod or Colonial. Most stylistic touches were non-functioning and concentrated on the exterior, while home interior plans were non-descript. People were very conservative at this time, and so were American homes.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2013 [8 favorites]

The dormer is unlikely to be an addition.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:12 PM on January 25, 2013

It helps to know the context too. If there are a bunch of Cape Cods all in a row with very similar lot layout, and the house in question is the only one with a dormer, it's probably an add-on. If it's just a one-off house that looks different from every other one, they probably just asked the builder to add on a dormer when they built it.
posted by smackfu at 12:16 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Has it been renovated? It has a certain bungalow feel. It could also be a kit house.
posted by theora55 at 12:21 PM on January 25, 2013

The reason I say that the cross-gable part is unlikely to be an addition is because houses of this period very frequently had this roof style, whether one or two stories. It's one of the hallmarks of the Minimal Traditional style, particularly as cross gabled homes fit onto narrower suburban lots and so became popular in suburban expansion post depression.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:44 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Interesting. I grew up in an area with lots of standard postwar capes, so the dormer looked out of place to me. I really like learning more about these vernacular styles. Wouldn't they have built it with windows proportional to the ones on the left, though?
posted by mollweide at 1:02 PM on January 25, 2013

Immediately thought Cape Cod as the others did.
posted by MMALR at 1:14 PM on January 25, 2013

It's hard to tell without seeing the back, but it has some characteristics of a saltbox, too.
posted by alms at 1:22 PM on January 25, 2013

Wouldn't they have built it with windows proportional to the ones on the left, though?

That's generally how I expect windows on a more traditional cape (and actually many houses built in the 20's or earlier) to be, but in the 30's and 40's picture windows were becoming more popular. They made a modest living room look more grand, and let more light into suburban homes that might be nestled up closely against other houses. Here are some very modest, cross-gabled Minimal Traditional tract homes with picture windows in the gable end.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:15 PM on January 25, 2013

I really don't think Minimal Traditional applies, because of the massing. It's really a cape with a gable added to the front to provide a half story. It's a Cape Cod House with added gables. Not an uncommon mod for a Cape, and probably post- original construction.

Minimal Traditional is definitely a thing, but it really begins with a more freeform footprint and more arbitrary massing. This just clearly has Cape outlines, with the gable and large window being the exception to an otherwise consistent style. Look at the roofline on the right side before the added gable interrupts it: it perfectly matches the rest of the Cape roof. They added a gable to a cape and got a bigger family room, more light, and a larger half story.

Here's another 1941 Cape with offset doorway. That's probably (flipped) a lot like what this one looked like before the gable was added.
posted by Miko at 6:40 PM on January 25, 2013

I would not call that a Cape. The massing is wrong. It's very deep, because of the way the slope of the roof comes right to the top of the door. If it had more of a half-wall on the front facade I could see it, but between that and the huge front gable, I don't think it is all that helpful to call it a Cape.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:52 PM on January 25, 2013

Now here's a minimal traditional house with a similar idea, but notice how there's no Cape underneath. The roof is too shallow and short. The gable roofline appears to reach much higher at the peak than the main ridge of the house's roofline. Meanwhile, here's a three-quarter Cape which gives you the offset front door. Here's another example of an offset Cape. Add a gable with a roofline that matches the existing roofline, and you've just got a modified Cape.

No doubt by 1941 this was part of a tract development, and was definitely mimicking a Cape and not a truly traditional Cape, but it's pretty faithful to Cape outlines excepting the extra room on the right. I feel pretty confident saying this, as I've lived all over New England which is Cape country, and seen every kind of mod to the basic design. This is a mod to the basic design which is pretty true to Cape style.
posted by Miko at 6:54 PM on January 25, 2013

It's very deep, because of the way the slope of the roof comes right to the top of the door

But my friend - That's a classic hallmark of a Cape!

Example, example, example.
posted by Miko at 6:58 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

I tend to agree that the gable is added. It just looks wrong, and the windows are mismatched, which would have been avoided if it were all bespoke at the beginning. That means originally it looked a lot more like a traditional Cape Cod. They probably added the pikcher winder at the same time.
posted by dhartung at 11:57 PM on January 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

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