Italianate House Plan: Singer-Sargent

Mar 17, 2022 | House Plans, Italianate

Italianate House Plan, Singer-Sargent



The Roman ruins of the Italian countryside, its medieval defensive towers and homey vineyards are remembered in the American Italianate, a less formal, less stately Italianate than is the English, though no less beautiful and proud.  You might say, “the Italianate is a literary invention”, a creation of Romantic writers and artists–which it is–a picture of an imagined Arcadia, Italian in accent, “picturesque”, as common writers call it.  The Italianate style is recognized by its wide eaves, its numerous brackets, its towers, its solidity; it is a style sometimes called the “Bracketed style” or the “Tuscan style”, though these days, “Tuscan style” implies a hodge-podge informality of contractor build Mc-minis.

The Italianate style continues to be popular among buyers, though not popular with builders and contractors, because the style has not an advocate.  Its period of popularity in these united states extended from the early 1840s, when first pictured in builder pattern-books, through The War to End Slavery (the civil war between the states, 1861-1865), until the early 1890s when Classive architects imagined an America great and grand (reference the World’s Columbian Exposition, 1893), an America of heroes, world leaders who abandoned the Cincinnatus farm to assume the mission of world supremacy, Aurelius-like.  The Italianate style is polite, formal in its informality, assuming the stewardship of beauty; it is a style of family, neighborliness, and responsibility.

For variations of the style, visit The Italianate House.



The Roman ruins of Umbria, Tuscany, et alibi, domesticated from the middle Christian Age through the Classive Renaissance into the Enlightenment, as imagined by English-speaking architects influenced by Palladio and Piranesi.
Cronkhill, Shropshire, 1802, John Nash, the first Italianate villa.
Osborne House, Victoria and Albert’s Royal Residence, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, designed by Prince Albert (with assistance of Thomas Cubitt), 1845-1851.
The Architecture of Country Houses, Andrew Jackson Downing, 1850
For variations of the style, visit The Italianate House.


Italianate House Plan

21a Italianate House Plan, Singer-Sargent, Footprint and Elevation. M. Curtis, des.


Italianate Characteristics

Symmetrical, though not always bi-laterally symmetrical.  Cubic, even when “L” shaped.

Roof Features
Low pitched roofs project in wide eves bracketed in support with corbels.  A roof might be hipped, or gabled, or towered, or flat, yet always there are brackets supporting deep eaves, and sometimes there is a cupola or proper lantern.  Chimneys are tall and massive, symmetrically placed.

Most often grouped in twos, most often arched, segmented or perfect.  The panes might be divided in half or in four, the cross being the most common shape.  Sometimes, windows are three grouped, especially in tower and cupola.  Windows and doors sport a cornice that is sometimes simple as soldiered bricks, sometimes extravagant, stylistic in abstract floral.

Structure and Materials
Stone, brick, stucco, or wood, yet always solid and heavy.  Iron rails might be light on balconies, heavy when a rail approach.

Space and Floor Plan
Logical and rectangular alike the plan of rooms in the Greek Revival.  If “L” shaped, a porch might extend the long length, often along two floors.  You will notice a verticality, not only in the common tower and cupola, but also in a kind of aspiration to something higher.

If the house is foursquare, the door is smartly centered; if “L” shaped, the door centers the tower; or if in a house of towered bays, the door will stand next the bays, allowing the bays to do the work of light and pleasure.  Always, the door is heavy paneled, reflective of the fenestration; the door might be a straight lintel or an arch, in both a transom, sometimes of etched glass, allows light into the foyer or stair-hall.

A wealth of manufactured ornamentation is every apparent, sometimes to excess; best examples restrain with measure and decorate with unassuming taste.

If masonry, the material is unpainted, though brick and wood examples (especially when several houses are in a row linked) are painted in tans and browns and grays with contrasting trim, as A.J. Downing recommended.  Most often, the Painted Lady Italianate is the work of a sentimental, enthusiastic impulse.

Porches invited congress with neighbors, and long porches create opportunities for informal family gathering, and porches, whether long or wrap-around, or extending, marry nature to the civil in all that marriage implies in health and in partnership.

The practical Octagon House: A Home for All, 1853, by Orson Squire Fowler, created a fad which here-and-there persists to this day (because useful and commonsensical), especially in naturally picturesque locations, mountainsides, et alibi.  And too, must mention Olana, the home of the painter Frederick Church, a house as-unique-as Monticello, and as beautiful, yet so very individual that it has neither precedent nor progeny, and yet there is in it something of the Italianesque spirit, via Al-Andalus.


Italianate House Plan 20B

21b Italianate House Plan, Singer-Sargent, Footprint and Elevation, First Floor. M. Curtis, des.

Italianate House Plan Features

This suite of towered houses is designed for the painter, the poet, the aesthete.  Here life and work are one with entertaining and study and rest.  Yes, there is hierarchy, the large gives way to the small, the intimate to the public.  Each house is a Great Hall with Tower.  Each has a glass wall floor to high ceiling (20’ to 24’), ideal for the artist … a window sized to nature, framing grass, tree, cloud, sky and heaven.  Each house will like to be set apart from other houses, each being as it is manor-born of the agrarian tradition, English of the estate, Italian of the vineyard, American of the farm.  And then, each house is solid, firmly set into the earth from which it rises to loftier places where a person might take the long view of the ground, of history and of higher things.

Each home is a stage set, inside and out.  Each room has its view and vista, its tableau or balcony, ideal for music and theatrics, and film.  Each room is formed to it purpose, designed to bear weight or to lightly lift itself into the clouds.  Where one house is Roman, another is Italian, and another is Italianate, yet all in the family.  Each house has options for stair and elevator, kitchen and bath (only a few options can be shown here).  Each house is designed to be solid, and to appear so, to be colorful and bold, to hold tints of glass for the dramatic effect, to be heroic scaled so that the person within is enlarged, filled with the confidence of potentialities.

These houses might be one bedroom, two, three or five, depending.  These are not large houses.  The smallest is merely 855 affordable square feet.  The largest is 2,800 standard square feet.  (Yes, each has an option for a below-grade floor, which if on a sloping rise will invite a walkout terrace with balcony above.)  And these are houses for the middle class, for the expanding family, the newlywed, the artist-intellectual in retreat.  Each to his, to her, to their desire.  If you should choose this house, know that price per foot is higher because walls are thicker, ceilings are loftier, materials are more dear, and details more ornate.


Italianate House Plan, M. Curtis, des.

21c Italianate House Plan, Singer-Sargent, Footprint and First Floor Elevation. M. Curtis, des.

Italianate House Plan, Singer-Sargent, #21A

31’-0”                       Height
42’-6”                       Width
17-6”                        Depth
619                           Main Floor
236                           Second Floor
855                           Square Footage
8’-0”                         First Floor Ceiling
17′-0″                        Great Room Ceiling
2                                Levels
1                                Bedrooms
1 1/2                         Bathrooms

Room Size, Primary Plan
Great Room                  16’-0” x 24’-0”
Kitchen                          12′-9″ x 16’-0”
Water-closet                 3′-0″ x 9′-3″
Bedroom                        16’-0” x 12′-9″
Bath                                10′-8″ x 3′-0”

Singer-Sargent, 20B
stair and elevator & stair variations
not shown, two bedrooms and library
if on a slope, a fifth, walk-out floor
2,300 gsf     

Singer-Sargent, 20C
stair and elevator & stair variations
not shown, three bedrooms and library
if on a slope, a fifth, walk-out floor
2,800 gsf

Special Features (various)
home studio
vaulted ceilings
kitchen island
walk-in closets
covered porch
upstairs bedrooms/bath


Italinate House Plan

21b Italianate House Plan, Elevation.  These houses are named in honor of the great American artist, John Singer-Sargent). M. Curtis, des.


*   *   *

Mini House, Lake Lure
Cozy House

Cozy House

  The Cozy House : You will remember Walden Pond near Concord, “the shot heard round the world,” et cetera.  You will recall the disagreeable recluse, Henry David Thoreau, who composed Walden: or Life in the Woods, a book that recounts a simple, retiring life...

Eppes House Appomattox Plantation Petersburg Virginia. credit EWY Media
The Tidewater House

The Tidewater House

  : The Tidewater House Tradition ... Drive along the backroads of tobacco country and you will see untended fields, collapsed tobacco barns, and centuries of hard-used Tidewater houses, some occupied and some standing against time with just a rusting memory...

Temple of Canova Roman Catholic Canova architect Giuseppe Segusini assisting Veneto Italy 1830. credit Elleon
American Sacred Architecture

American Sacred Architecture

.. American Sacred Architecture: Houses of God : At our nation’s center, an obelisk: Named in memory of our first president, George Washington, the Washington Monument stands upon highest ground that it might touch the first and last light of the Sun’s day, Ra’s...

Miami en Condado San Juan Puerto Rico 2
Art Deco House

Art Deco House

... The Art Deco House: Prologue to Epilogue : Anthropology, archaeology, the assembling, the cataloging, the visual encyclopedias of every culture’s everything, their patterns, their statuary, their furniture, their temples and teapots were pictured in...

McKim Mead White Vanderbilt Mansion Hyde Park New York. credit NPS 2
Renaissance Revival House

Renaissance Revival House

... Humanism and the Renaissance Revival House : You remember Socrates’ rival, Protagoras, the able sophist who observed that “Man is the measure of all things.”  Yes, if we measure by arms-length with manmade tools.  Even so, there is something hopeful, something...

Storybook Cottage. credit Littleny Stock
Storybook Houses

Storybook Houses

... Storybook Houses : Look!  Witches, giants, dwarfs, elves, fearies, unicorns, the enchantments and romance of make-believe live forever in the universe of imagination.  Mere suggestion and you picture witches, giants, dwarfs so real that you can draw them as...

American Carpenter Gothic
American Carpenter Gothic

American Carpenter Gothic

... Grant Wood's American Carpenter Gothic : An odd etymology: Grant Wood painted into the national memory a Carpenter Gothic house, the Dibble House, Eldon, Iowa.  In the picture, a pitchfork wielding father, his buttoned-down daughter, a barn, a church steeple, a...

Hunter Huffman 1 sm
Introducing Hunter Huffman

Introducing Hunter Huffman

: Hunter Huffman   New to The Beautiful Home, Hunter Huffman, a dedicated advocate for sustainable community growth, a champion of classical architecture. With a diverse background spanning industries such as construction, architecture, and urban planning,...

beautiful home book
The Beautiful Home Book

The Beautiful Home Book

The Beautiful Home Book : In 1988 I began a seven-volume treatise on American domestic architecture because I intended not to draw plumbing plans in a desk at the office of some fashionable Modernist.  As it happened, 1988 was a year when we Classives were...

Cozy Houses, Chateauesque, The Beautiful Home
Cozy Houses

Cozy Houses

... Cozy Houses : Yes, rents are up.  Most Americans pay nearly half their income to be dry and warm.  Yes, houses are growing larger, more expensive, farther from city convenience and close community.  Yes, new houses are rickety, uglier than ever they have been. ...

Miny House Bora Bora
The Cozy Home

The Cozy Home

...  Cozy Home : The cottage house, the tiny house, the bungalow, the shotgun house, the summerhouse are all cozy homes, vernacular houses of no specific style but of many a particular period.  Among my favorites, the summerhouses of Switzerland and Sweeden, and of...

George Washington architect west facade
George Washington Architect

George Washington Architect

... George Washington, Architect : George Washington is not a well-known architect, he is better known as president, general, farmer, and yet his architecture is more influential than that of Le Corbusier and F.L. Wright.  Yes, you should laugh, because true.  In...

Cracker Barrel, Vanishing America
Vanishing America

Vanishing America

... Vanishing America : Dan, a man in his early 70s, is selling his Tidewater house to developers who intend a McMansion on his large corner lot in suburban Washington, DC.  Dan is reluctant to discuss the sale for fear that publicity will anger the new corporate...

Tidewater House Plan, color elevation
Tidewater House Plan

Tidewater House Plan

... TIDEWATER HOUSE PLAN INTRODUCTION : Drive along the backroads of tobacco country and you will see untended fields, collapsed tobacco barns, and centuries of hard-used Tidewater houses, some occupied and some standing against time with just a rusting memory to...

Interior of the Bruton Parish Church established 1674 Willamsburg Virginia. crtedit Steve Heap
Tidewater Christmas

Tidewater Christmas

... Tidewater Christmas Traditions   : Once upon a time, Christ was remembered at Christmas, as in the Tidewater where Christmas was the summit of Advent, season of expectation, reflection, penitence in preparation for the birth of Christ.  Advent, “the approach,”...

Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site. credit State of Louisiana
Tidewater Home

Tidewater Home

... This month and next we recall the Old South, the family farm, and the Tidewater home, a home that challenges imagination.  When young in the North, home was most appreciated when the fireplace allowed hard drifting snow to be pacified.  Now when old in the...

For your delight, please join our mailing list to receive weekly issues of our eZine

You have Successfully Subscribed!