The Real “Greek” of the Greek Revival

American architects love to use columns, we’ve been using them since it seems the country was founded. In the early 19 century we had the Greek revival, in the late 19th century we had the colonial revival, and the 20th century we had a number of different colonial and classic revivals. All of these styles of architecture had one thing in common, they employed classical columns.
It’s one thing to study American architecture, as I have for the past 35 years, and marvel at how well done are done and how much they seem to look like ancient buildings of Greece or Rome. It’s another thing to actually go to a place that has original Greek temples and see what we would call the “real thing.” I had a chance this past summer to visit Sicily, The home of a number of original Greek temples. To see them in their natural habitat with their great beauty and realize they were built centuries ago by people we will never see or never know is an amazing experience.

These buildings are the prototypes for such great American building says Stricklands second bank of United States in Philadelphia, and Jeffersons state capital in Richmond Virginia. LAs well they are the prototype for all the Greek revival houses we see throughout United States built in the first half of the 19th century. To look at the real Greek architecture and then come home and see them here again in United States, it’s a wonder to me that we decided to emulate some of the most beautiful architecture in the world to represent our country.

If you have a chance and get to visit Europe try to seek out and original Greek or Roman buildings to see how the real experts in the style did it. If you can’t get to Europe, just stop and enjoy the Greek and classic buildings in your own town, and know that those columns had a long history before they set foot in you neighborhood!

Color of the year for 2017



Irish green landacape

Irish green landacape

Pantone’s “Color of the Year” for 2017 is Greenery — “a fresh and zesty yyellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.”

For American architecture the best “green periods” were the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century. These were eras when the naturalistic tones of nature became extremely popular. Shades such as olives and deep greens were all popular in the paint materials of the day. The Arts and Crafts era from the first third of the 20th century with its predilection for autumn colors was the perfect period for the use of greens both inside and outside the home.

In the Sherwin Williams palette, similar colors to the 2017 “Color of the Year” are (6719) Gecko and (6731) Organic Green. A similar historic 19th century color is (2815) Rookwood Olive.

The best place to see an expansive range of greens is the Emerald Isle, Ireland. I was able to visit two years ago and the image below shows a good example of the variety of organic greens against the brilliant sky and great landscape of that country. If you have a chance, take a trip to Ireland, enjoy the fantastic people, its wonderful food and beautiful cities but be sure to enjoy all the green.

Seasonal Colors

Thinking about color for all seasons



Seasonal Colors

Historic Victorian house colors in Winter

 Seasonal Color

Thinking about house colors for all seasons.

This picture recently sent from a client illustrates the necessity of thinking about how your house will look in all seasons. In many parts of the country that’s four distinct periods. Even in the Southwest and Deep South there are at least two seasons. Through out the country, the light changes during each season casting different shadows and effecting how we see color in general. Winter in and the snow country presents a challenge because ones house colors need to not only look good in a lush green landscape, but also in gray sky, and bright white snow! This picture is an excellent example of how period Victorian colors hold up well in the snow and show the house off to its best advantage even in a stark landscape. It’s important to be aware of how many season you have, how changing light affects the colors you are considering, and what overall “Look” you want the house to have in the major seasons. For example, if you thought a light colored house with darker trim would look great in the snow, then the colors pictured here would not be for you. But if this pictures makes you go “Wow,” then period house colors can really enhance your homes visual nature.


Modern museum

Colorful Leon, Spain Museum

Modern museum

The MUSAC museum in Leon, Spain

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, AKA the MUSAC, is a contemporary art museum in the city of LeónSpain. The building is celebrated for its avant-garde architecture, and it has been awarded a number of prizes incuding the 2007 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture.  Designed by the architectural studio of Luis M. Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón, the multicolored panels that adorn the exterior resemble the stained-glass windows of a cathedral. The architects drew their inspiration for this work from the main rose window (called The Falconer) at the 13th century Gothic cathedral, Santa María de León. It is a “Museum of the Present”, in the words of its curator Agustín Pérez Rubio, and collects artworks only from the period between 1992 and 2012. It is a visual landmark in the city and seeing it person was a thrill. The exterior is exciting and is as imposing as a large cathedral. The colored panels do remind me of those paint slips you get when you are considering colors for your house.