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house in wilmette
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best I could do with an aerial view. The roofs seem neatly and logically resolved . . . from what little can be seen.


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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8515

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And that Google view proves that the backside is not just a wing, but extends the full width of the front portion. Unfortunately, trees get in the way of street views that might show information about the back end of the house.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having opined that architect W Mead Walter, like others in Chicago and the Midwest in this period, might have drawn inspiration from the work of his
East Coast contemporaries, I turned to George William Sheldon's "Artistic Country-Seats," published in 1886-7 and reproduced (in its plates) by Dover
Publications in 1982, with new text by College of Wooster (Ohio) historian Arnold Lewis. I hoped to find corresponding forms and details among the
excellent original photos of 93 houses built in the first half of the 1880s, mainly in the East but with examples from Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago,
and Minneapolis-St Paul (or St Paul-Minneapolis, as the author has it).

Though many if not most of the houses Sheldon illustrated and described have round or octagonal bays and (especially) towers, I found only two
houses with gambrel roofs. But these two houses share a conspicuous feature with the subject residence, namely the distinct separation -- in form
if not in material -- of the gambrel-roofed upper-floor volume from the floor(s) supporting it.









Indeed this device, the floating of one volume above another, appears repeatedly among the houses (and a few casinos) found in Sheldon; it was
apparently favored by McKim, Mead & White, Wilson Eyre, Jr, and William Emerson, among others, in this period.

As for other details found on the Walter design, beside the polygonal towers we have the prominent Palladian window. Not a single example can be
found in Sheldon (aside from a blind fan-carved lunette centered above a window band, in a Bruce Price residence); this detail was apparently out of
favor in the early '80s -- in the East, at least. But there are several instances of shingled surfaces wrapping inward to an opening, especially in the work
of Bruce Price, four of whose chunky and (largely) symmetrical quasi-Richardsonian shingled houses are found in a group in the middle of the book.

Another detail of note is the flared skirt to the lower edge of a shingled wall; there is a shingled house in Cambridge, MA, by H H Richardson, containing
this feature; others are found as well, all of them more subtly flared than Walter's bold example.

_____________________

Reading Arnold Lewis's thorough text, I came upon matter suggesting (to me) a possible source of inspiration, or at least confirmation, for a young Frank
Lloyd Wright. See if the same thought occurs to you, in these paragraphs:



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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8515

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An improvement to the Wilmette house would be to remove the 7 windows that fill the space between the dormers on the second floor. A recess with shadows would lighten up the load considerably, and also make more clear a relationship between it and Charnley. Perhaps the 1889 date should be 1898? ... or 1899? That would allow remnants from the Exposition to have been worked into the house.

Looking at the end wall, I am even more convinced that there are two stairs in the house adjacent to one another, a service stair with the construction tucked under the overhang as the landing, and the main stair, with the north run rising a couple steps higher, with a door to the service stair landing. The basement access is obviously adjacent to the left of the east entrance, which is a couple steps below the main level. That reinforces the probability that the run of 4 windows open into the kitchen. The design of the windows is inconsistent with the rest of the house, however. Perhaps at some point original windows were replaced?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2018 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you make of the side entrance canopy, with it's upside-down aspect (reverse battered lapped siding, no molding at the bottom, "baseboard" at top), and mitered returns to the whole affair ?

The convincing if not original red accent paint is the crowning touch to this as-found relic ?

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It indicates that the landing of the service stair is about 2 steps below the landing of the main stair.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2018 9:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your X-ray dissection of this structure is most impressive, RG.

John's second and third photos appear to show that the porch ceiling has sagged significantly at its center -- though the brick parapets that support
the central pair of columns don't seem to have deflected much if at all, and (as mentioned) the balcony above reads virtually straight as well. Hard to
know what's going on there.

_____________________________________________________________


The Bruce Price houses found in "Artistic Country-Seats" make an impression on the enthusiast interested in progressive architecture -- to me, anyway.
Author Lewis points out to the modern reader that the collection of period photos was virtually unique in its day, and that it served an earlier historian,
Vincent Scully, as a principal source for his 1972 "The Shingle Style and the Stick Style." And Wrightians will be aware that Scully chose one of the
Tuxedo Park, NY, Park Price houses as an illustration in his earlier Wright primer, published by G Braziller a year after Wright's death.

But they will not necessarily be familiar with the four other houses presented together in Sheldon's collection. One of them at least will be of interest, for
the similarity of its plan to the house Scully chose. And the last of the set will be an interesting let-down, after the promise offered by the first four ?

































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outside in



Joined: 29 Jul 2006
Posts: 1143

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

here's what the Village of Wilmette has on the landmark listing:

600 Central Avenue – W. Mead Walter House
Architectural and Historic Background:
The W. Mead Walter House is significant because of its outstanding architecture. It is a wonderful example of the Queen Anne style and also shares many features of the Shingle Style that grew out of the Queen Anne movement. Also the house, originally constructed in 1893, retains much of its integrity. The only significant change to the house was the enclosure of the second story porch in the 1950’s. Although this is an alteration to the front façade of the building, the change from screen windows to glass is one that has small impact on the architecture of the house. Also this change was approximately 50 years ago and is part of the change over time that occurs in any house’s lifetime. 600 Central was listed in the Illinois Historic Structures Survey conducted in the 1970’s. The house is also listed as “significant” in the Village of Wilmette’s Historic Sites Survey of East Wilmette.
In 1892 Hattie Walter bought the property at 600 Central that her husband, W. Mead Walter, would design a house for. Walter was a partner in the architectural firm of Walter & Goebel. The firm designed a number of homes in Evanston. One house, 2135 Orrington, is an Evanston landmark home. With this one exception, the rest of the homes are rather plain. The house that Walter designed for his own family is strikingly different.
The Queen Anne style developed in England in the 1870’s as a combination of architectural styles. Features and ornaments were borrowed and combined from many different styles that became the style of Queen Anne. In America the Queen Anne style was altered to suit both climate and culture. The use of wooden shingles instead of tile led to the Shingle Style of architecture that is very similar in form to the Queen Anne style.
The Walter House is an amalgamation of styles, features, and materials that is Queen Anne in style with a heavy use of wooden shingles. The most striking detail of the house is three octagonal turrets. The shake shingles of the roof continue around the second story of the turret to the rear of the house. The lower story of the house is tan brick and the front turrets and side elevation are sided with clapboard. The front façade is also dominated by a wide porch with classical columns which is overhung by the second story. The fenestration varies throughout the structure. This variety of features and styles blended together in this house makes it a unique and outstanding example of Queen Anne Architecture.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 16131
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent. Now to look for an early photo or photos, and perhaps a color description. I wonder where Mr Walter's papers reside . . .

Isn't it remarkable to find the house in close to its original condition ?

SDR
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8515

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The 1893 construction date clears up the Exposition situation.
There is nothing special about the house on Orrington, as little as one can see of it through the trees.

"Also this change was approximately 50 years ago and is part of the change over time that occurs in any house's lifetime." That term "change over time" is used to justify retaining alterations that are often detrimental to the original intent of the architect. The 1927 gallery at Hollyhock that replaced two guest bedrooms and baths, and added a wide doorway between the space and the adjacent pergola prevents restoration of those two spaces, and violates FLW's design significantly, but since it is a "change over time," it supposedly cannot be restored to the as-built condition. Until it is, Hollyhock cannot be considered restored at all.

At the Walter House, since the windows of the second floor porch replaced screens, that isn't such a major problem. Though considering the nature of the railing, I wonder if even the screens were a later addition?
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Roderick Grant



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Posts: 8515

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of the several "Sheldon" houses pictured above, Farwood by Wilson Eyre, Jr. gets my vote for the best of the lot ... in the entire book! Its simple, English plan is very interesting, too.

Another entry in that book is the first "Breakers" by Peabody & Stearns (one of my favorite firms of the age) for Cornelius Vanderbilt, a typical rambling mansion of the day. After burning to the ground, it was replaced by the current "cottage" by William Morris Hunt. In that entire book, which concentrates for the most part on the super-rich of the East Coast, the largest and most expensive house by far is the Washburn House, "Fair Oaks," in Minneapolis, an 1883 house that cost $750K ($17.6M in today's dollars). Perhaps that house spurred the residents of Newport to up the ante from shingle to marble? They couldn't allow hicks from the Midwest to outdo them!
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