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Historical Facts

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Browse through these interesting historical facts about the history of architecture and the history of interior design.

Historical Style Country Home

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  • In the 18th century, small seats were made to fit into deep window recesses. Now, a window seat is more likely to be a built-in bench sometimes with a lift-up lid for storage, with a seat cushion and pillows for a functional yet relaxing space.

  • The Folk Victorian style occurred between 1870 and 1910. Folk Victorian homes are usually square or symmetrical in shape and feature brackets under the eaves and porches with spindle work or flat, jigsaw trim. With the industrialization and growth of railroads, decorative architectural trim could be mass produced and sent all across the continent. Also, smaller towns could then obtain modern woodworking machinery. Carpenters during this time began mixing and matching pieces of trim according to their taste and what was in the latest shipment offering a style all their own.

  • The origin of dormer windows goes back centuries to French architect Francois Mansart (1598-1666). Mansart inserted a sequence of windows into the sloping roofs to make the attics inhabitable. This is reflected in the name dormer which comes from the French word dormir which means “to sleep.”

  • Stucco has been used since the days of Renaissance Italy and was thought to give a building the appearance of being important. It was also used for weather and fire protection.

  • In 1949, Arthur Levitt and his two sons began a project that literally changed the look of the country forever. Under their control, a swath of empty field on Long Island became the country’s first subdivision which was called Levittown.

  • Dormers have been featured in American architecture since the late 1600’s. Although they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all dormers are windows with their own roof, which is set vertically into the roof of the house. Being able to recognize different types of dormers will give you a clue to a home’s architectural style. For example, gable dormers, generally point to these styles: Colonial Revival, Georgian, Tudor and Craftsman to name a few.

  • For centuries beeswax candles were used to light the homes of European nobility. Beeswax, considered to be a precious material during these times, was typically only cultivated by the noblemen themselves on their own land in fear that the wax would be stolen or sold.

  • Use decorative medallions and other ornamental period style moulding to add visual interest to a plain mantel facing. Stain or finish the added details to match the existing fireplace and suddenly a new, somewhat bland fireplace has the look of an old-world antique treasure.

  • So much of the Southern culture, a porch placed in the front of the home creates many benefits such as a shady overhang, as well as an indoor/outdoor setting meant for relaxation for many months of the year.

  • Some say the noblest combination of forest trees in America is the Oak and Pine. This deciduous and evergreen combo will give your yard color and interest all year long. They are also good sources of food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

  • Wattle fences have been used for hundreds of years in Europe and Africa. “Wattle and daub” houses, made of interwoven twigs covered with mud, are waterproof and were used as long ago as the Stone Age.

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