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)
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: