Robb-Kagan House // 1939

Colonial-inspired homes on Nantucket never will go away, and that is because the entire island is a local historic district! New construction, demolitions, and alterations to existing structures all need to be reviewed and approved on Nantucket, no easy task! This home was built in the inter-war period (before the historic district), when New Englanders still harkened back to the classics, Colonial homes. The house was built in 1939 for Annie Robb, and it was later purchased by artist couple Vladimir Kagan and Erica Wilson. Vladimir had a really interesting life. A cabinetmaker’s son, Mr. Kagan came to the United States at 11 after fleeing Nazi Germany with his family. He trained at his father’s New York workshop and by the 1940s was producing his own designs. One of his first orders was a set of tables and chairs for a delegate lounge at the fledgling United Nations! Meanwhile, across the English Channel, a young woman named Erica Wilson came into the world in 1928 in the town of Tidworth, England. Her father was in the military and the family moved to Bermuda soon after Erica’s birth. A drawing prodigy, Wilson “translated her drawing techniques into needlework,” Illya said. Needlework became her artistic focus and she graduated from the Royal School of Needlework in London. The duo lived in this home as a summer respite, where they could hone their artistry and skills. Their son, Ilya Kagan (also an artist, of course) also stayed in the home and still resides on the island. Love it!

All Saints Parish House // 1893

As soon as the All Saints Church of Ware was completed, work immediately began for the parish house which was to be built nextdoor. It is not clear who was retained as the architect, but it could have been Patrick W. Ford, who designed the high-style Victorian Gothic church. The design is almost the complete opposite of the church, in that the parish house is of wood-frame construction, modestly scaled, and is Colonial Revival in style. The parish house features nice proportions with its symmetrical facade, pedimented central bay framed by pilasters and the large Palladian type window at the center.

Warren Dunton House // c.1890

Much of Dorset Village was built in the early-to-mid 19th century, but there are some excellent examples of Colonial Revival and Craftsman homes and buildings. This Colonial Revival house was built c.1890 seemingly by Warren Robbins Dunton (1839-1902), who served as a Captain in the American Civil War. Captain Dunton seemingly built his home after moving the older house on the site back on the lot, building this house at the street. Great house, look at those chunky shutters that actually match the window openings!

Eva Southwick House // 1898

Okay, there is just something about this house that is so intriguing and unique and stands out among all the other (thousands) of Colonial Revival style houses I have seen. I just can’t quite put my finger on it! This late 19th century beauty was built in 1898 for Eva Bailey and Francis Southwick eight years after their marriage and after the birth of their children. It is unclear who the young family hired as an architect to design the home, but they definitely went with a loose adaptation of the Colonial Revival style in an American Foursquare form. The house has a large Palladian window and a minimal front portico supported by Doric columns.

Ernest Zeiss House // 1897

Another eclectic house in Waban is this beauty, a blending of Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles under an impressive gambrel roof. The home was occupied by Ernest L. Zeiss, a salesman. Waban, which was once a neighborhood within the reach of the middle-class, has since become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in one of the most exclusive towns in the Boston metro. It is safe to say an ordinary 9-5 salesman would not be able to afford a house like this today!

Immaculate Conception Rectory // 1904

Next door to the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church (last post) in Everett, you will find the church rectory, which completes the city block. Though very different in architectural style, the building is compatible with its more grand neighbor with the use of materials and setbacks. The rectory was built in 1904 in the Colonial Revival style, which was very popular at the time in New England. The three-story, hip-roofed building has bowed bays that flank a single-story porch with Doric columns that shelters a central entrance with fanlight and sidelights. Other Colonial-inspired details include the tripartite window set into the recessed arch above the porch, modillion cornices and splayed brick lintels with keystones. It is not clear who designed the rectory, but they did a great job at it! Rectories served as the residence of the priest of the church. Not bad digs if you ask me!

Dunnell House // 1884

William Wanton Dunnell (1850-1933) was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and was educated in Rhode Island schools. He eventually helped run his family’s cotton goods business, which grew over the next decades. The Dunnell Finishing Works factory was a success in Apponaug (Warwick) Rhode Island, and he had over 500 employees turning out over 1,000,000 yards of printed cloth a week! Before all this, William had this amazing house built in College Hill, Providence for his family. The local architectural firm of Stone, Carpenter & Willson was hired and blended Shingle, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival styles elegantly under one roof. I am particularly fond of the sawtooth shingles, Palladian motif windows in the gable, and undulating facade. The house is owned today by RISD.

Emmel Building // 1896

In 1896, architectural sculptor Charles Emmel purchased land in the rapidly developing Forest Hills section of Jamaica Plain, Boston. He hired local architect George Zimmer, to design a massive double-house which would serve as an income-producing investment, and could also be a sort of advertisement for his sculpture work. The result is this massive Colonial Revival style property, perched atop a puddingstone foundation. Architectural ornament has been lovingly preserved, a testament to the owners of the building today and the amazing work of the original owner, Mr. Emmel. I found myself staring at the building for a while when walking by, looking at all the hidden detail and architectural ornament which adds so much to the building.

Stetson House // 1897

Waban is full of eclectic homes from the end of the 19th century, and this example is probably my favorite! The Herbert and Georgia Stetson House was built in 1897 and demonstrates how elements of the Colonial Revival style were incorporated into a less rigid Queen Anne style plan. Herbert was a lumber dealer, and likely used his own product in his home. The mixture of ornament includes Colonial
Revival style pedimented dormers, a Palladian motif window, oval windows, and a modillion cornice in combination with bays, oriels, a dramatically overshot gable roof, and a swept dormer reminiscent of the Queen Anne style. Together, the composition is perfection, and really makes you stop and analyze all the details!

Potter House // 1909

Murray Potter (1871-1915), a professor of Romance Languages at Harvard, purchased an older Shingle-style house at this location in Lancaster with the desire for it to become his summer residence with wife, Bessie. They deemed the 1895 house too small and decided to raze the 14 year old dwelling and construct a larger, more academic home. Bessie was born and raised in Salem, and her upbringing was likely the inspiration for their Lancaster house. This home was designed as a copy of the 1782 Pierce-Nichols House in Salem, designed by Samuel McIntire. Murray died at just 44 and Bessie lived at the homes for just a couple summers alone (they did not have children) until she sold or gifted the house in Lancaster to the Perkins School as a dwelling for the unmarried female teachers. It remains owned by the private school.