Greek or Italian? A Little Help from Jane Scott Hodges

Good Morning Lacquered Lifers! The photos of Jane Scott Hodges’ New Orleans home in the current issue of House Beautiful were of particular interest to me as I begin research on our New Street house. My first instinct was to categorize the New Street house as Italianate, based on its build date (1872), bow front, and door surround; and assume that the six over six windows were a later addition. However, upon closer inspection, the windows could be original, and after seeing Hodges’ house, I realize that New Street may just be an amalgam of different architectural styles, which includes Greek Revival, despite a build date which came after the popularity of Greek Revival architecture had waned. The house was in fact built by an architect to be used as his personal residence, so he may have been more eager to incorporate different styles to suit his taste, rather than follow what was on trend at the time. IMG_9380scotthodges4I look at the columns on Hodges’ 1869 Garden District home, and I see similarities between the columns on her house, and the columns at New Street. While Hodges’ house has the Greek Revival facade characterized by a front door surround with a transom and sidelights, the house also sports a bracketed cornice, which is indicative of the Italianate style. At New Street, the Italianate detailing is found at the front door surround (hard to see in the picture above), while the cornice has the wide divided band of trim which is more typical of the Greek Revival style. Both houses, with their late nineteenth century build dates, feature architectural details indicative of the two architectural styles, making it difficult to define their styles. But really who likes to be put in a box anyway?scotthodges2In addition to the exterior, I look at the interior of Hodges’ home, and I can take cues from some of the extant architectural details. At New Street, the majority of the interior architectural details were removed and replaced with a more “colonial revival” look, a change I will be reversing. The crown moulding in Hodges’ double parlors is what would have been at New Street, as well as a ceiling medallion in the center of the room. DSC_0316scotthodges3 copy

Hodges’ marble mantelpieces are also of interest, as the mantels here at New Street were also removed in favor of colonial revival mantelpieces with dentil moulding. In fact, the house has a total of eight fireplaces, only three of which have mantelpieces, the rest of which were closed up in the first part of the twentieth century … looking forward to opening those back up.scotthodges3DSC_0318
scotthodgesOne day, most likely in the very distant future, you will see a scene like this one, with Hamish and Hugh lounging in a finished front hall … until then ….

Photos via House Beautiful

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