Thomas Jefferson’s influence has been enormous, no less in politics than in architecture: The University of Virginia campus is the model of university architecture and planning from Charlottesville to China; the Virginia State House governs state capitol building design; and his quintessential homes, “Monticello” and “Poplar Forest”, have influenced American architects for over 200 years. Many builders and architects have continued to work more or less faithfully in Jefferson’s style. Those who honor the guiding principles succeed, the other mocking, self-conscious, and ironic Jeffersonian interpretations most often fail—the good, the bad, and the silly can all be found in and around the University of Virginia campus, and campuses everywhere. The domestic Jeffersonian style has fared better in domestic architecture than in commercial, civic, and university architecture.
Characteristics of “The Charlottesville”
A pediment with fanlight over a Palladian Doric portico.
A low pitched roof atop a simple cornice supported by giant pilasters.
Triple hung windows on one side of the great room, Jeffersonian doors on the other.
Red brick with faux limestone is appropriate; earth-tone clapboard if necessary.
Features of “The Charlottesville”
Alike Jefferson’s “Monticello”, this home hides its second floor behind a gigantic order; unlike Monticello, this home is modest, asymmetrical, has an attached garage and indoor kitchen. Other dissimilarities include a modern, open floor-plan, interior bathing rooms and closets. In my opinion, Thos. Jefferson would have enjoyed the three porches and the great room whose doors open upon a patio for dancing and entertaining — I am uncertain of the great man’s opinion of barbeque. Jefferson would surely feel at home with the correctly scaled interior, classical details, especially the Jeffersonian doors. Seems to me, Jefferson’s furniture would be at home in the “Charlottesville”, especially his reclining chair, the Campeachy chair. Then too, the gardens will like to be formal, with an open yard, and shady spots.
Plan # 67
2,676 Square Feet
1,485 Main Floor
1,191 Second Floor
1 car Garage
Clapboard or Brick
open floor plan
economical to build
main floor bed & bath
office/study (1st fl bdr)
covered front & side porches
Heated Square Footage 2,676
Main Floor 1,485
Second Floor 1,191
Exterior Wall Construction Stud, SIP or CFR
Roof Framing beam and truss
Roof Pitch 5:12
Ceiling Main 21’-0” great room
9’-0” main floor
Basement, slab or crawlspace
Other Jeffersonian style house-plans include:
#17A, 5.12; 3,400 gsf; with variations
#17B, 6.4; 4,629 gsf
#17C, 1.1; 5,495 gsf
#17D; 2,950 gsf
#60, 4.1; The Jefferson; 2,856 gsf
Jeffersonian; common, 1772 – 1840 in the mid-Atlantic states; revived occasionally, nation-wide. (For more of the style, please see The Beautiful Home Treatise, Jeffersonian.)
The Jeffersonian style is the creation of our third President, Thomas Jefferson, statesman, political philosopher, author, historian, scientist, planter, an architect who composed verse, an American genius. The Jeffersonian encompasses elements gathered from all of history, selected with taste, composed in reason.
You will find in the Jeffersonian, Roman precedent, Palladian organization, French Bourbon elegance, American eloquence. In precedent:
of the Roman, the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian; Temple of Gaius and Lucius Caesar (the Maison Carrée);
of Palladio, Villa Almerico Capra (La Rotonda), Villa Badoer (La Badoera), Villa Cornaro;
of French Bourbon, Hôtel de Salm;
of pattern-books, Palladio’s The Four Books of Architecture, Gibb’s Book of Architecture;
the Virginia State Capitol Building, ascended from the Maison Carrée;
Monticello, ascended from the Hôtel de Salm.
A central pediment over a Doric portico, with fanlight.
Low pitched, gabled and hipped roofs.
Three-part temple – central pediment and wings – on a raised foundation.
An entablature of broad white bands.
The tall windows are shuttered.
The skin is red brick, the columns are limestone or treated to resemble limestone.
A distinguishing Jefferson dome, octagon.
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