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The Weather Network
Aug. 17, 2019 | Saturday
Editorials and Opinions
Architext: Design echoes
The New Traditional in our photo is a perfect case-in-point with every detail working in concert to evoke the historic Canadian interpretation of the Queen Anne style. (Supplied Photo/Brian Marshall)

Do you love the look of 19th-century houses but remain hesitant to shoulder the potential challenges of living in an “old” house?

While the reality is generally much less onerous than imagined, there’s no argument that accommodation must be made in buildings of venerable age. If this is not your cup of tea, you are not alone. In fact, the desire for a modern home that looks historical is common enough that it fuelled development of the New Traditional architectural style.

More often than not, New Traditionals are based on design styles of the early 20th century (Eclectic, Prairie and Craftsman, etc.), although Victorian or Romantic forms are not uncommon. While architects who specialize in this style can create a residence virtually indistinguishable from period houses, it’s far more likely that their design will result in a home that is immediately recognizable as, but subtly divergent from, its historic antecedent.

A New Traditional design truly works when someone looking at the house assumes it is original to the era of the style. The New Traditional in our photo is a perfect case-in-point with every detail working in concert to evoke the historic Canadian interpretation of the Queen Anne style.

Consider elements like the asymmetrically placed curved porch wrapping the corner tower, the two-storey bay, the use of paired divided windows, shingle cladding of the tower and front gable, among other details. Consider it a tribute to the architect’s skill that the design elements used which diverge from historical accuracy (e.g. the Palladian window in the front gable) do not detract from the Queen Anne feel but actually accentuate it.

So, next time you are out and about, ask yourself whether that’s really an “old” house you see or is it one of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s fine New Traditionals.

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