WHAT IS ITALIANATE STYLE ARCHITECTURE?
Italianate architecture was inspired by the rural villas in the Italian countryside. It typically will include low-pitched gable roofs, with overhanging eaves supported on scroll-cut brackets, arched windows and doors, and tower forms.
See examples of Italianate architecture & moulding.
ITALIANATE ARCHITECTURE CHARACTERISTICS
Homes designed in the Italianate style generally emphasize the picturesque qualities of rural Italian villas and countryside farmhouses. The style is highly versatile, allowing for large country houses to simple suburban homes. Italianate homes are rarely single-story and usually feature an “L” or “T” shaped floor plan.
Other common characteristics of Italianate architecture include:
- Square towers, topped with a decoratively bracketed cornice
- Hipped, low pitch roofs
- Tall, narrow windows with ornate hood moulds
- Quoins in brick homes
- Larger homes may have cupolas
ITALIANATE STYLE TRIM & MOULDING
Both interior and exterior Italianate style mouldings are typically elaborate combinations of shapes and profiles. Italianate moulding frequently involves standardized profiles, fretwork and turnings made by machines.
Crown and dentil moulding is common among Italianate interiors. Meanwhile, elaborate window hood moulding is a common feature of Italianate exterior designs.
HISTORY OF THE ITALIANATE STYLE
Italianate architecture originated in Britain at the turn of the 19th century. Around 1802, British architect John Nash designed Cronkhill, a country house, in Shropshire. Cronkhill is considered the first example of an English Italianate style villa.
In England, Italianate villas would continue to be built until the 1850s, when Gothic Revival architecture became more popular throughout Britain. However, during this time Italianate was increasingly popular across the Atlantic in America.
In America, Italianate style architecture dominated American homes from around 1850 until 1880. The style became popular in large part to American architect Andrew Jackson Downing. His pattern books were popular during the 1850s, and heavily promoted both Gothic Revival and Italianate styles.
The style spread across America, predominantly in the North East, Midwest, and Western states. San Francisco in particular is known to have many examples of Italianate style homes from this period. By the 1880s, Italianate had been largely surpassed in popularity by Colonial Revival architecture.