Thursday’s Doors~ September 3, 2015


There was a unique home on one of my first historical home tours in Delaware, Ohio. I drew it, then pen and inked it, for stationery sold at Asbury Methodust Church. The proceeds went to the “Be Wise” camp for girls held at Denison University. This promotes science and math education to close the gsp between boys and girls.

Each home tour has a designated “base” where refreshments are served, maps are handed out with tickets purchased and the stationery or postcards sold, too.

This home stands out in its unique quality and features. The style of home is called classical “Italianate” architecture.

I recently drove by what was then called, “The Robert Papper Home,” located at 147 North Washington Avenue.

The beauty in its “lines” and details has held up over all the years. It has a “twin” house built at the same period of time.

Delaware, in the early 1900’s, had wide dirt roads. Across the street stands an identical, architecturally designed home. It is “kitty corner” on the same street in olive green with forest green details on the exterior.

The Papper home is a striking white two-story home with black scrolling details in particular accent locations.

The house appears like a stark rectangular shape. If you were drawing it, without the elaborate details, it would look like a “Cracker Jack box” tipped sideways.

You have been waiting with patience. . . Are you with bated breath?

There is a singular white door to describe in its simple beauty.

The three steps leading to the shadowed doorway are short. A long legged person could take them in one stride. I like to imagine a child jumping off the narrow porch.

Above the door, bracketed with a small overhang, visitors stay dry while waiting for the host and hostess to open the door and warmly greet them.

The white door is framed with a black wooden door frame. The outer door is a black metal “screen” door with a grille across the upper part and a series of black (rod iron) scrolling and curlicues.

If you can picture traveling a winding road, coming to the top of a hill in Italy,  this white home with black details would really stand out. It may capture your imagination.

I have seen butter-colored stucco homes with dark brown intricate details and accents. These loosely describe Italianate homes in other locations.

Although the local twin houses are not as elaborate as the Osborne house on the Isle of Wight, England, this is an original example of the Italianate period.

John Nash designed this flat roofed, bracketed windows (reverse of typical window designs) with specific details around 1845. He included towers with flat roofs.

An American example of this Italianate design can be found in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Bland Wood Mansion has a series of flat roofs.

It has more of an “Italian villa” look, with beams under each roof eave. The North Carolina mansion looks more rugged than the delicately featured Robert Papper house in Delaware, Ohio. It was built for Governor John Motley Morehead. I like its typical arched front doorway. It has “old Italian country” stucco with darker tan and brown details.

The black wooden bracket which outlines the top of each window of the Papper home includes intricate black painted, wooden details. This may be found also attached on the edge of the front porch overhang.

Classic Italianate architecture includes brackets and cornices. The traditional flat roof is also featured. This Papper home features black brackets at the top of each of the windows. They appear on first impression like a thick wooden cord with a draped look. There is an ornate diamond shaped “doo-dad” in the middle of each bracket.

There are two elongated windows on either side of the top story and there are matching ones on the first floor. This adds up to four narrow rectangular windows each decorated with the unique top. Adding the detail above the front door, this makes five intricately carved and painted black designs.

No shutters are usually found on true classic Italianate houses.

I feel that knowing what is behind the door of this particular home is intriguing. Both of the homes, one green and the other, black and white, were owned at the time of the 90’s home tour, by brothers who were professors at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The Papper home owner was a Music Professor (nicknamed “Maestro”) while teaching at Monnett Hall. Although you may have heard of Claude Monet, this is one “t.” You can “set a spell” on a bench in the Spring in the Monett Garden, next to the Music Building and hear piano and instrumental recitals.

Due to his musical passion, the Music Prof and his wife had a baby grand piano (black and shiny which suited the interior of their home.) They used many Italian paintings, old yellowed sheet music was framed in black wooden frames and black metal (rod iron style)
candle holders.

They had a 1930’s “spinet” piano and a “spinet” organ.  In their family room they had one of those antique player pianos  (also know as a “spinola”piano from the 1920’s) with rollers that play old fashioned music.

I could easily picture friends and family gathered around some of these musical instruments.

The other home, appropriately green in color, was owned at the time of the home tour by a bachelor Professor of Biology.

He did not have an “official” tour but members of the “cataloging committee” regaled us with tales of antique biology and botany prints framed with old oak frames. He had wooden cases of fascinating artifacts. We begged this homeowner to open his doors for a tour, but he declined.

This Thursday Door essay is thanks to Norm Frampton at:


About reocochran

I am experiencing crazy and hapless adventures in dating that may interest people over fifty. I am now approaching 62 later this year and enjoy taking photographs, incorporating stories or poetry on my blog. I have many old posts which are informative and written like essays. I have several love stories collected from family and friends. Even strangers spill their stories, since I am a grown version of the girl next door. I have been trying to live a healthy lifestyle with better food selections and active hiking and walking. I have written four children's books and illustrated them. They are not published but a battered women's shelter used one about neglect and abuse for their children's program and a 4H group used my "Kissing a Bunny is like saying a Prayer" as a coloring book. Please comment or respond so I may get a chance to know you. Sincerely, Robin

40 responses »

  1. I love your descriptions Robin. IIt puts my imagination in high gear and it actually helps get my morning started. Don’t forget to add your link to Norm’s register page (the blue button)/

    • I appreciate your giving me this hint, Dan. I am going to figure out this simple step, soon! I loved the cathedral style door on his post with its majestic arch. 🙂 I am going to come visit you once I get through this comment!

    • This was such an absolutely creative and sweet way to describe my post, Marissa. I know the music is drifting through my mind, whenever I drive by this home. He had “state of the art” stereo and speaker system. At the time of home tour, he had chosen the Italian composer, Vivaldi.

    • Balroop, this is a great comment which helps me a lot. I tend to try and write the Door posts, one step at a time. Your seeing this as being “organized” I am taking as such a nice compliment, dear one. Thank you so much and hsppy you had a few memories awakened by this home description. ♡

    • Eli, so glad you may check this place out. I may need to put “Blandwood” together. It separated out when I posted from my cell phone.
      Maybe you will join the Thursday’s Doors group? I eoukd like to see the doors. I asked Norm permission for a words only description post and he has been so kind to “allow” me to post these. I just have done 4 posts, skipping week my Mom fell.
      There are some beautiful doors, with Norm’s double peacock hotel doors being one of my favorites. Judy showed a photograph of a beautiful blue door in Bruges. I like the dark humored film of two killers staying in Bruges with Colin Ferrill being a depressed killer. I am sure I misspelled his last name. Happy Labor Day weekend, Eli. 🙂

  2. I always enjoy historical home tours, but it’s been years since I’ve done one. I think the last was in Cincinnati shortly after my training days. Time to do another, I’d say. 🙂

    • Carrie, the Seven Hills and so many older neighborhoods of Cincinnati would be lovely to tour. My daughter, 2 boys and I are heading next year over Spring Break to where two of my good friends have exclaimed about the houses are historical and really gorgeous~ ~ Savannah. Carrie (daughter) wants to check out the art school there and boys will be slightly good and patiently waiting to go to the beach a little distance away. 🙂

    • I bet they are beautiful, my dear Cheryl.♡ You know you could join the Thursday’s Doors group. You would know how to link it up, too.
      I love Southern mansions and also, even though it is a weed that suffocates plants, Spanish Moss makes it look antique and charming. Sometimes scary, as in decrepit homes that are abandoned. Hugs, Robin

    • This is a very astute comment! I think it is one that applies especially to those of us who are curious, by nature. Thanks for stopping by, checking out what was behind this door. 🙂 ~ Robin

    • The details are not too forbidding, just intricate framing the top of each window like it were draped with a black narrow cornice or as I mentioned, a cord. If I were making it a 3D diorama, I may use black velveteen fabric twisted. My drawings are quaint and not like a draftsman or artist. People buy them to support causes but I enjoyed this past practice and now usually do children’s art work since they like the fun and imperfections, Jay. 🙂

    • Maniparna, I would gladly walk with you through this home and wish we could cross the street and go two doors down to see inside the “one who got away!” 😉 Thank you for this kind comment, my friend.

    • Yes, exactly. But don’t you wish we could go peek inside the other house, too?! I picture us in all black gear, Mission Impossible song and our faces painted dark so no one will see us, no full moon either. . .:)

    • Frank, photographs are always welcome in the comments since most people are visual. I wrote a lengthy and personal comment on this past post.
      So many connections from your post (Italianate neighborhood with Germans choosing this narrow and simpler architectural structure) from my parents both attending U. of C. and my Dad’s childhood working experiences. We were so proud of how he overcame his situation, His own Dad in Veterans Hospital and Mom not fully capable of meeting rent and bills. He eventually became a nuclear engineer at NASA. My Mom’s parents were German and Swedish immigrants, meeting on a street corner. Thanks so much for sharing your detailed description and photographic tour of a Cincinnati historical neighborhood. 🙂

      • Glad you enjoyed my little journey into the historic neighborhood. A lot of renovations going on now, thus it’s a vibrant area – but it still has issues. Cheers to your parents connection to Cincinnati!

    • It is hard to describe but I have worked with very neatly blind children and adults so when they would ask me to describe things, I really try to start simply and build a picture from it, Kabir. Thank you, dear frienf. So glad you are back in my life. 🙂

  3. Wow, that certainly had my mind running all mover the place, from architecture of Italy to the late 1800s of early America, the inhabitant all seem to have a profession that befits the style of house.
    Would have loved to have seen some pictures Robin, also the interiors of the houses.
    Very interesting and descriptive post.

    • I gave you some lovely examples of bigger, grander homes, Emu. T

      Thanks to Frank, there is a link above of simpler almost tenement style Italianate houses in a historical Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood. So glad you tried your best with visualizing the twin houses from Delaware. I have started looking at comments and (statistics) numbers, realizing that my “brand” of description instead of photos may not be as popular on Thursday’s Doors posts. We shall see as I go along. Thanks for your comments.

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