COUNTRY GREEK REVIVAL

The country Greek Revival house combines simplicity with sophistication.  In contrast to the imposing facades of high-style mansions from the period, these houses have uncomplicated yet handsome appeal.  Inspired by early 19th-century excavations of Greek temples, they typically feature understated elements of Grecian architecture such as triangular front gables resembling pediments; friezes fashioned from large, flat boards; columns; pilasters; porticoes; and porches. Combined with informal components like metal roofs or louvered shutters, these houses project an approachable dignity. 

Universal in regions east of the Mississippi, the style was popularized by carpenters’ guides with titles like The Practical House Carpenter, The Builder’s Guide, and The Beauties of Modern Architecture.  The guides offered detailed examples of square columns with simple capitals, round columns with Doric capitals, front entrances framed by narrow sidelights and transoms, and pilasters emphasizing the corners of façades. Symmetrical single- or two-story houses clad in white-painted clapboard or brick were frequently extended with one or two side wings accommodating additional living space.  The traditional floor plan features a center hall with two rooms on either side illuminated by tall, large-paned windows. Interior walls are sparingly detailed with tall baseboards and large plain door casings and an absence of cornices.

 

This form is easily adapted to modern living by removing partition walls and joining the rooms to create voluminous, high-ceilinged great rooms and adding master suites, guest quarters, home offices, or gyms in the wings.