During the second half of the 19th century, as America grew into the commercial and industrial age, these small brick Italianate commercial building were built in droves throughout  the country. Often they held a business on the street level and living quarters or offices on the second floor. They were simple in design, but not just boxes without style. These building represented the owners business and often his families place in their local community. Still in wide use today, they are a reminder of how America became a nation of business owners.

Main Street Italianate Commercial building

Historic commercial buildings have a unique position on the landscape.  They need, for business reasons, to stand out in a crowd.  Yet they can seem to be gaudy, especially in the case of the Salida, Colorado building  that is located in the town’s historic district. Keeping the building’s appearance consistent with 19th century color theory helps it fit in and yet not distract from its historic neighbors.

Goal & Solution


Italianate commercial building dot the business districts of nearly every village and small town in America.  Most have been radically altered over the years to make them more “modern.” The goal with this basically unaltered building was to have it look like it might have when built back in the third quarter of the 19th century.


A period mustard body is highlighted with red trim and green accents. Color placement seems simple until you look at the cornice where all the detailing is stored.