A Sears Osborn Look-Alike

A Sears Osborn Look-Alike

I recently ran across this house on Zillow.  It looks a lot like a kit house sold by Sears called the Osborn.  The house was offered from 1916 to 1929 and seems to have been a popular model for them.  I'm not sure if the house below is an Osborn, but if not it was...

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The Colonnade: A Craftsman Bungalow Icon

The Colonnade: A Craftsman Bungalow Icon

Often the most dominant interior feature of Craftsman-style bungalows, the colonnade has lately been enjoying something of a revival - even showing up in new construction. Long before the term "open concept" forced its way into the world's homes via television,...

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Replacement Windows Scar Row House

Replacement Windows Scar Row House

There are replacement window installations and then there are really strange replacement window installations.  The center house of three contiguous row houses has had some rather uncommon surgery on its two primary windows in order to accommodate the installation of...

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Neo-Victorian Houses

Neo-Victorian Houses

Americans have long been noted for their eagerness to embrace whatever is new - even when it's a revival of something old!  This has been especially true of architectural styles.  In the 18th century we were embracing Classical details in new construction;  the 19th...

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Inside a Monolithic Dome

Inside a Monolithic Dome

While not exactly a house, this 1970's domed structure could easily be one.  It certainly has potential!  This popped up today on Zillow and got my immediate attention.  I became intrigued as I looked at the images - all are from zillow.com:                          ...

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Vinyl Siding Revisited

Vinyl Siding Revisited

It's been over a year since I first posted about vinyl siding, so I thought it was high time to take a look at some more houses which are shrouded in it.   Vinyl is often used to conceal the scars that result when window openings are unfortunately reduced or porches...

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Demolition by Neglect

Demolition by Neglect

An astounding number of historic structures disappear each year simply because the owners have stopped caring for them.  Known as "demolition by neglect", the phenomenon is on the rise.  Recognizing that old buildings are instrumental in giving shape and character to...

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The Architectural Observer rarely looks at “important” buildings; the focus is upon overlooked ones.  Some will be antique survivors which have come through time surprisingly intact.  Many will be old buildings which have been altered without regard to their stylistic integrity while others will be new construction which never had any stylistic integrity to begin with.

The decline of architectural integrity is just one more facet of the prolific and ongoing devolution of our culture.  The Architectural Observer calls it like it is!  Are there more important and pressing issues facing us now?  Yes, but everyone needs a distraction from those other issues once in a while.  And besides, this is relevant and much more fun!

There are three kinds of distractions here:

OBSERVATIONS  highlights the lowlights of our built environment – and observes occasional architectural details which might otherwise be overlooked.

PLAN BOOK AND KIT HOUSES examines structures built from mail order plans or actual kits.

DRAG QUEEN ARCHITECTURE showcases buildings built in one style but which are trying to pass themselves off as a different style.

Let’s face it; we built better buildings in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries than we do now.  Let’s take a cue from the past and start to remember how buildings are supposed to look and function.  Thanks for joining me – please use the contact form for polite inquiry or to gripe at me.