Greek Revival, Honeymoon Cottage FEATURES
This charming cottage is available in two plans, pleasantly formal, and pleasing informal. Both remember Thomas Jefferson’s first home at Monticello, the “Honeymoon Cottage” to which in 1772 Thomas brought his bride, Martha. This beautiful Honeymoon Cottage recalls the unsparing tightness and fine formal quality of Jefferson’s first house. As you can see, the cottage is Doric, distyle in antis (the antis are the piers that snuggle the columns), Palladian and pretty. There are five rooms of adequate size conveniently located. The home’s “T” shape offers terminal elements, “focal points” where beauty and views might be located. The “T” also allows an efficient privacy; rather more privacy in the formal design, rather more efficiency in the informal design. Any of the rooms can be vaulted, as you choose, the other rooms will want to offer attic storage.
The home is one of those “jewel boxes” you have read about, rich in detail, perfect in particular, the informal version within reach of those unburdened by debt. The home will want a handsome, substantial bedstead, Venetian blinds, fine fireplace equipment (even if in the South), a showpiece dining table, copper or pewter tableware and brass candlesticks, pictures as-good-as can be afforded. I recommend luscious textiles, of moss and purple or of green and rose, silk, if possible … the intention, to begin life rich in love, full in beauty.
Greek Revival: Honeymoon Cottage, Precedent
The Greek Revival recalls the glory of Greece, the grandeur of Athens, the wisdom of Socrates, the artistry of Phidias, the literature of Homer, the statesmanship of Pericles and all that is beautiful, good, true. Athens, the world’s first democracy, is charmingly remembered in each little Greek temple-home that dots the plain, that ennobles the farm, that dignifies the townhouse, Athens, Georgia to Olympia, Washington.* Foremost of ancient Greek temples, the house of Athena Parthenos, the “Parthenon”, a temple-home recalled in the modern Lincoln Memorial and in other houses, monuments and memorials in the land of Athena’s grandniece, Columbia.
Columbia’s home, Washington, The District of Columbia, though mostly Roman Palladian, was born of the sentiment that America is spiritual heir of Greek philosophy, drama and art, of the Athenian democracy, though a democracy mediated by stabilizing republican restraints. To honor our Classive patrimony, many American towns boast Greek names; Sparta, Athens, Ithaca, et cetera. As likely you know, Greek temple architecture is a most chosen form of American civic, sacred, and domestic architecture, because most appropriate. You will find some rich variation of Greek precedent in practically every town and city of these United States.
Most domestic Greek Revival architecture employs a sparsely appointed façade, bilaterally symmetrical, tripartite (of three parts – middle and two sides … a bottom, middle, top … et cetera), occasionally columned in a typical Order, “Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian”. Many Greek Revival houses are polychromed in the antique fashion, though most are white, showing Greek Revival geometry to its best advantage.
Greek Revival, CHARACTERISTICS
Rectangular block, temple-formed and true to each Order (Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian), sometimes plain, sometimes eloquent and refined. Occasionally, in homes sans Order, a harmony of parts achieves the Classive effect.
A low pitched, simple gable alike the temple pediment, though sometimes hipped, occasionally featuring antefix and acroterion.
Trabeated, most often with flat lintels over six-by-six windows. Ground floor windows are taller than second floor windows; attic windows sometimes mimic triglyphs and metopes. The surrounds can be heavy or light, and the pure examples approximate the ancient Athenian. The doors and windows are sometimes shuttered.
Structure and Materials
Walls and columns can be of masonry, brick, or wood; wood being most common.
Space and Floor Plan
A temple-form of one or two stories, though a third, attic story is common in townhouses. The gable might be sided, showing an almost Georgian façade; or, the front elevation will be gabled alike a pediment. High-style examples will be full articulated, columned in a particular Order. Palladianesque examples feature wings upon a central block, a hen-and-chickens. Seldom does the plan mimic the classical temple, instead drawing its precedent from the Federal or Georgian.
An entry porch with prominent Greek pilasters or columns: Doric, Ionic, Corinthian. An entablature appropriate to an Order, sometimes articulated, sometimes in broad bands. Door surrounds are often transomed, occasionally recessed.
In simple homes, ornament might be stripped to bare essentials; in grand homes, ornament is fully articulated.
Most often pure white, though color is sometimes employed, and the rare example will mimic the polychromy of classical temples.
Formal, unless of the farmhouse variety. In the South, porches are often large, sometimes enwrapping the house.
*for a detailed history, see “Your House: Style and Period, Greek Revival“.
THE BEAUTIFUL HOME, PLAN #59, Honeymoon Cottage
Living Room 12′-0″ x 16′-0″
Dining Room 11-9″ x 12’4″
Kitchen 11’9″ x 8’6″
Laundry 4’-6” x 7’-6”
Watercloset 11′-0″ x 8′-6″
Bedroom 12′-0″ x 16′-0″
main floor bed & bath
main floor laundry
covered front porch
roof deck garden
suitable for aging in place
Heated Square Footage 706
Exterior Wall Const. clapboard on 2” x 6” studs
Ext. Wall Construction
Wood Clad over stick frame
Roof Framing beam and truss
Ceiling Main 9’-0 to vaulted”
Slab, crawlspace, or basement accessible from exterior
The “Orders” refer to the ordering, organizing principle of a Classive building. You might think of the Doric as manly, its stout Doric column firmly grounded, heavy, bold, its simple features state plainly structure and use. You might consider the Ionic, gentlemanly, strong, yet eloquent in refinement, its strength shown in the potential rather than in the employment of force. Notice the implied energy of the volute, alike Bernini’s David tightened to spring. Yes, the Ionic is sometimes female, when dressed in those details that adorn, that charm, that delight the wearer and all others. The Corinthian might be thought the lady of the Orders, ornate, verdant, sumptuous, her capital, Nature’s coronet, her column, a gown. These days, some will choose to quarrel with the universal feminine, the universal masculine, yet all that is proves compliment in the Nature of Creation.
* * *
* * *
* * *