Eye Candy! Of the week

By Chris Parks

Property: 1230 W. Willow St., Lansing
Owner: William Brown
Taxpayer: William Brown
Assessed Value: $86,700

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: A massive hedge at the corner of Roseland Avenue and Willow Street attempts but fails to obscure the home’s exquisite gable designs. Gable designs are lost to neglect and deterioration, which is unfortunate because gable designs are a form of folk art. Individual builders were known for their designs, which varied according to needs of the client. Homeowners to avoid maintenance too often remove gables resulting in the loss of an exquisite art form.

The atmosphere and elegance of certain homes sometimes causes you to wonder if their placement could be more perfect. This is one of those instances.

Built in 1875, the home is tucked snuggly behind the sidewalk bordered by shrubs, and under the shade of stately trees.

Homeowner William Brown purchased the red brick building about almost two years ago, and is maintaining it as four apartments, though he plans to move in.

And when asked what his favorite part of the grand house was, Brown responded simply, “It’s just a neat old place.”

— Chris Parks

designs (a.k.a. vergeboards, gableboards, gingerbread, etc.) are
a decorative feature that protect and disguise the horizontal timbers,
or purlins, of the roof. All too often, gable design is used
where it does not belong. Gable designs are most appropriate on a variety
of architectural styles from the Victorian Period including; Gothic
Revival, Folk Victorian, Queen Anne, and, sometimes, Italianate.


Don't: make
most common mistake by adding gable designs to an architectural style
that they are not appropriate for. Consult an architecture before
adding gable designs to your home to avoid a costly mistake. In
addition, if your home once had gable designs that were removed, consult
an architect who can determine what the original designs were and then
employ a highly skilled craftsman to reproduce them. Stock gable
designs may seem to be the obvious substitute for the original but it
would be wrong.

Do: Maintain
existing gable designs. They are a work of art that are a unique
feature of the architecture. Once they are removed, reproduction
requires a highly skilled craftsman and are a costly feature to replace.