The Horne Residence: A Milton Grenfell Carpenter Gothic Home


With the coming of the railroads and the rapid industrialization of the United States, with its soot choked cities and growing slums, there arose among many a nostalgia for times past.  At the same time, the popularity of novels by Sir Walter Scott, set in the days of gallant knights and fair ladies, helped develop a taste for Medieval England.  One manner in which these sentiments expressed themselves was through the popularity of Gothic styled domestic architecture.  With America’s abundant forests, this style usually expressed itself in wood in what is often referred to as “Carpenter Gothic.”  To guide this architecture many turned to popular “pattern books”, especially those by Batty Langley, A.J. Downing, and Calvert Vaux.


Grenfell, Carpenter Gothic

Horne Residence interior, 2003; Milton Grenfell, architect.



A characteristic of Carpenter Gothic is a complexity of form, and richness—if not exuberance—of decoration.  What makes this decorative profusion possible and affordable was the invention
of power saws.  With steam powered saws, virtually unlimited ornament was readily and economically available.  And avail themselves America’s growing middle class did.   In some older American cities, blocks of carpenter gothic still stand, and if building in these locations—or should it just suit one’s fancy—an architecture in this style might well be considered.

Grenfell Carpenter Gothic


Grenfell, Carpenter Gothic Drawing

The Horne Residence, 2003; Milton Grenfell, architect.

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