Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mourning the entablature, weeping for the 12 foot ceilings lost in the fire

I'm an architecture optimist: Neither great architecture nor great design should require millions or mansions.

When this bungalow with a Greek temple for a front porch burned last fall, we nearly lost a great small house in a modest neighborhood. They are rebuilding. It will be the best of modern living. But we lost the porch's entablature, the Parthenon porch.

I can't find anything about the history of this house. All I know is that it was "neck-snapping good."

It's not on any historic preservation list.

Only the very best new houses approach this. This reminds me a little of Spring Island in South Carolina by Historical Concepts.

They saved the columns.

They restored the wonderful windows.
P1020238-2010-05-22-Whiteford-Burn-Restoration-Gerie-Gilbert-Diamond-Panes-Basket-Handle Arches

It's looking good.

But you can't tell from here ...

... but we lost the porch's entablature.




The original house had 12 foot ceilings. With rare exceptions nobody would rebuild a 12 foot ceiling. So they are doing 10 foot ceilings. It's huge cost savings, much cheaper to heat and cool, and provides livable space upstairs where there was none before.

The house is back better than ever But I continue to mourn a bit.


  1. Glad they are rebuilding. I mourn the entablature too.

  2. I wonder how much of the restoration insurance covered. It looks wonderful.

  3. I guess you can't blame having that second story of living space...and still 10 ft is quite nice. But I hear you--you and my husband would get along great. He adores craftsmanship and details.

  4. Julie,
    This was an adorable house and it still is. Can you imagine 12' ceilings? Must have worked it magic before air conditioning.

  5. I completely understand the grief you express. It distresses me greatly to see such beautiful craftsmanship destroyed, and oh so hard to replace. My historic neighborhood in North Alabama suffered a tornado last January; most of the houses have been rebuilt/repaired, but it seems much of the detail is gone. I wish I had pictures of the homes previous to the tornado so I can compare to be sure. Our own home I suppose benefited from the storm, although I don't think I'm ever going to feel safe in high winds again. We took the opportunity to replace badly damaged old windows with newer, more historically accurate ones.

  6. Damn. I was thinking (as I saw the reconstruction come to life) "wow, they're rebuilding it just like before!" Nope. Loved this house. Love it less now, but I understand.


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