The “pyramidal house” seen here is a vernacular example of a popular national house form (single story, square plan with four rooms and a pyramidal roof). Similar houses were built throughout the nation from roughly 1890 to 1930. Their practical form made them a popular choice for modest budgets. While numerous examples of these “workhorse” houses still survive today in both urban and rural areas, their numbers are rapidly dwindling. This one can now be counted among the losses.
The house had already witnessed some past alterations when photographed by Google in 2012. Wide replacement siding covered the original narrow clapboard; a small and simple porch replaced what was likely a full-width porch, perhaps with some modest embellishments. While subtly altering the exterior character of the house, these changes pale in comparison to the most recent alterations…
This is the kind of house that once typified many working-class neighborhoods; modest but cozy. The sidewalk leading to the porch recalls a time before the universe centered around our cars. The driveway, essentially two tire tracks, allows for a little more green space in the narrow yard and leads to an equally modest garage. Image courtesy Google Street View.
This view of the side better shows the wide bay window, a feature not commonly found on this modest house form. Image courtesy Google Street View.
Now, let’s fast-forward to 2018 and see how the house has been “reimagined”…. (scroll down a bit more…)
Oh, my. Where to begin? My first impression of the facade is that it looks like an enclosed porch due to the “stone” veneer on each corner. The front porch appears to have been replaced with someone’s back yard deck… note that the handrail is about a foot longer than necessary, leaving the bottom rail in the dirt. Since no one walks anywhere now, the traditional sidewalk leading to the door was dispensed with and the deck is accessed from the gravel that has been spread everywhere along the side of the house. The front entry says “Neo-Victorian” with leaded glass sidelights and transom but the windows say “Neo-Prairie”. The barely-projecting front window attempts to add dimensional interest to the otherwise cropped-looking facade (a covered front porch would have helped out there and would have looked much better than a back yard deck). With its new “stone” veneer, the bay window on the side appears to be defying gravity. Vinyl siding effectively hides all the surgery.
The yard has a much different character than it did before. Image source: zillow.com
Two more floating projecting spaces – and NO windows! Image source: zillow.com