Thoughts on New England Homes
BY NOLAN RAZBAN '23
*Inhales deeply* ahh you smell that dear reader? Spring is coming with its flowers, rain and overconfident dads who think they can prime their entire house themselves. That’s right: we’re entering prime home remodeling time, when folks realize that maybe their kitchen’s brown backsplash should have stayed in the 60s. Despite their need for constant reparation, part of New England’s charm is its old houses. I mean all of the academia vibes we’re obsessed with wouldn’t exist without a gothic and ancient greek design. This being said, I thought we’d take a little stroll together, just you and me dear reader (note the lack of an “s”), and I’ll point out the homes along our route that tickle my fancy, or get my knickers in a knot.
The first house may be confused for a salad dressing: the Ranch style. This house is a walking (or…grounded? sitting? idk) red flag: it is one of the only classic New England style houses with a basement. What are you keeping down there Ranch? I sure hope it's just buttermilk and garlic. When thinking of the quintessential suburban home, chances are this is the one that pops into your head. It does its job, I suppose, but being a resident of such a home myself I can assure you that the overabundance of dead space I have to walk by every time I want to go to my kitchen makes me weep. Finally, aside from its suspicious undergrounds and poor design, this house is also literally in the form of an L. Enough said.
Alrighty, let's move onto a classic example of Amerians going “oh great idea! I’ll be taking that:” the Greek Revival style. This was popularized after the US gained independence, and I guess the American aristocracy was feeling a little bit insecure so they compensated by adding huge out of place columns to their houses? You’re not that guy pal. The columns are meant to emulate the beauty of ancient Greek architecture, but just look silly on a two story house. In their original function, the columns served as structural stability. Today however, they only hold up gutters, if that. I’m upset dear reader, the houses would look so much better without these columns *begins crying*
Alrighty, I’m sorry about that breakdown, I’ve calmed down a bit so we can move on to one of my favorites: Queen Anne Victorian style. These houses, though they feel more like castles, have beautifully detailed design elements and well-planned space (my favorite! no dead space! Are you listening Ranch style?). This is one of the only styles of houses that can get away with being whimsically colorful without being seen as vulgar. The contrasting colors don’t detract from the details: they elevate them. They also have what may be the best type of room a house can have: a turret. I absolutely adore a good turret for its versatility: it could be a reading room! A writing room! A place to be a rich victorian child longing to live a normal life, and as you look out onto the gardens and see other children playing you can only keep yourself from wallowing at your own sorry fate of being stuck in here studying arithmetic with the tutor your diplomat/wall street bigwig father picked out. A classic woe.
Finally we have the most classic of New England homes: the Colonial style. It’s a box with little windows and a very long, very pointy roof. Although its nostalgia factors are through the roof since it looks like a doll house, I personally ask that my home be a little more creative than those house drawings I did in second grade. Maybe add an extension? Bigger windows? A personality? Maybe I’m just salty that I keep putting off watching little women, and every time I pass a house like this I’m reminded of my failures as a New England resident.
Now folks, don’t you press defamation charges against me if I poke some fun at your home’s style: you know I’m right. And now you’re armed and ready to make any road trip with you unbearable as you point out every feature of the buildings you pass by. Woot woot!