Inspired by rural Italian villas and Renaissance town palaces, some of Richmond’s most striking homes are Italianate style. You’ll spot these architectural gems throughout the city at historic landmarks like the Bolling Haxall House, the Putney Houses, and the William H. Grant House. But not all of Richmond’s Italianate buildings are grand mansions. In fact, historic home lovers will be happy to find Italianate homes for sale in Richmond every now and then, from Jackson Ward (like this newly listed Italianate townhouse) to Church Hill and the Fan.
The history of Italianate homes in Richmond
The Italianate style developed in the 1830s as public tastes began to shift away from the rigid symmetry and formal lines that had dominated the 18th century. The style was introduced to the U.S. by way of England, where it was part of the Picturesque architecture movement. American builders and architects put their own spin on Italianate style, giving it a uniquely American character. Architect Alexander Jackson Davis was one of the style’s greatest proponents in the U.S. Eventually, this became one of the most popular styles of the 19th century, used for homes as well as commercial buildings until the early 20th century.
Characteristics of Italianate homes in Richmond
Richmond’s Italianate homes reflect a movement away from rigid formalities in architecture, which is why we might use words like expressive, vibrant, decorative, and colorful to describe these homes. Most Italianate homes were built from brick and stuccoed, with an elegant look that was surprisingly inexpensive to build. Some common characteristics of Italianate homes:
- Heavy, overhanging cornice supported by large, decorative brackets
- Designed in rectangular sections with an asymmetrical floor plan
- Low-pitched roofs
- Balustraded balconies
- Arcaded porches, sometimes with Corinthian columns
- Round arches on windows, doors, and fireplace openings
- Three-sided bay windows on townhouses
- Cast iron architectural ornaments such as cornice brackets, window hoods, balconies, and porches
Finding Italianate homes for sale in Richmond
If you have your heart set on buying a true Italianate home in Richmond, you’ll have to keep your eyes open and be ready to pounce. Italianate homes aren’t as common in Richmond as they are in some cities, but we do sometimes find examples of the style in historic areas such as Jackson Ward, The Fan, and Libby Hill. To start your search for an Italianate home in Richmond, contact the team at Ruckart Real Estate today.
Classic Commonwealth: Virginia Architecture from the Colonial Era to 1940