Located at 78 Powell Street in North Brookline, the Kramer House is an excellent example of the variations that can occur with the Colonial Revival style. Built in 1895 as one of five speculative houses by developer Albert Jewell, the home was one of the first to sell, likely due to its many interesting features. The original owners were Grace and Edwin Kramer. Kramer was superintendent for R.H.White & Co., the large dry goods store in Boston. R.H. White & Co. was eventually bought out by Filene’s and the flagship store struggled after WWII, as with many downtown shopping establishments. By 1901, the home was owned by Dr. Nathaniel W. Emerson, a surgeon. A few years later it passed to H.B. Duane, who was in the grocery business.
Designed by J. Williams Beal, an architect who got his start as a draftsman for the firm of McKim, Mead & White, this home stands out for its interesting design features and materiality. The home has a traditional gambrel roof configuration which is accentuated by a shed dormer and eyebrow dormer, and the design is particularly distinctive for the use of ashlar stone veneer for the front sections of the house. The large gable roof dormer has twin oriel windows set in a stone veneer beneath the over-hanging gable end, which is sheathed in slate shingles, showcasing the contrasting, yet soothing use of materials.