A House That Inspires
I’m inspired by a lot of homes– homes that work visually when they shouldn’t as well as homes that just repeatedly attract my eye.
If I find that I can’t stop looking at a house every time I drive by it, I’m not above pulling over and asking the residents if I can schedule a time to come look around. Anytime I’ve ever done it (only four times since I was 20) the owners just invite me in on the spot no matter what shape the inside of their house is in, which is probably one reason why their homes are so welcoming in the first place.
I drive by this house on 62nd St. here in Indy all the time, and I sort of have it in the back of my mind as I puzzle through our newest house design. My curiosity finally got the best of me and I decided I would take some pictures of the outside. Dave was with me and nearly freaked when I pulled into the driveway. I think he thought I wouldn’t ask first (I did, but I didn’t ask to see inside.)
The owner was very sweet. Their family has been there since the 1970s, but the house was built in the late 1800s.
Why does this house work? For me:
- Deep and generous eaves (the part of the roof that sticks out past the house)
- The contrast between the red window trim and the butter-cream exterior paint (vinyl siding, btw!)
- Asymmetrical/Symmetrical plan–Provides order and intrigue simultaneously. Lets me know there are some surprises inside.
- Generous number but human-scaled windows. You know that plenty of light gets in, and that the ‘just right’ size of their frames provide picture-like views of the landscape, which is also nice. Ironically, ranch-style “picture windows”, large pieces of plate glass, are often too big to provide a “frame.” The notion I think is that these larger windows “remove the barrier” between you and nature, which is fine if you live in a national park (or even on a ranch), but that’s not where I see most ranch houses. Picture windows also look like black voids on a house if they are out of scale with the structure. (Wow, I’m really coming down hard on plate glass. Believe it or not, I actually like many ranch houses, and their windows.)
- I love that you can enter this house from all four sides. The front entry (see first picture above), with its Greek columns fronting a folk Victorian cottage is a little weird, but I consider that just part of its quirky, long life and personality. Besides, the scale seems to work, which is where columns most often go wrong.
The house is well-loved. The owner said it has hardly any closets, and she wasn’t thrilled that vinyl siding was put on before they bought it. Still, every time they think about moving, they change their mind. I don’t blame them.