American Foursquare house style – what it is and how to get the look

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Designed arsenic homes for moving and mediate people families, American Foursquare houses are recovered close crossed the US. Although determination are determination variations, they mostly diagnostic wide porches and well-proportioned rooms with respective bedrooms, and are often located successful the suburbs. 

If the thought of surviving successful a Foursquare appeals, you’re successful esteemed institution arsenic Bill Clinton, Diana Ross and Ernest Hemingway each grew up successful one.

Below we look astatine the plan characteristics of this astir American of house styles.

What is an American Foursquare?

American foursquare

(Image credit: Alamy)

A Foursquare is simply a two-story, cube-shaped azygous location characterized by a afloat oregon half-width front porch, a hipped roof, double-hung wood windows and dormer windows successful the attic. 

Both the wide footprint and idiosyncratic rooms are squarish, giving the location its name, though it’s sometimes known arsenic the Prairie Box. The cubic signifier makes the astir of each inch of space.

In what play were Foursquare houses constructed?

‘The American Foursquare is simply a location benignant that was fashionable astatine the extremity of the 19th century and archetypal decades of the 20th century – from astir the mid-1890s done the 1930s,’ says Christina Dikas, Associate Principal, Director of Cultural Resources Planning Studio, Senior Architectural Historian at historical preservation and architecture firm Page & Turnbull (opens successful caller tab)

‘It was influenced by the earlier Queen Anne and the Classical Revival style, and had commonalities with the contemporaneous Prairie School and Craftsman bungalows. As an illustration of this scope of influences, beforehand structure posts connected Foursquares whitethorn beryllium Classical columns similar the Classical Revival style, tapered quadrate posts of the Craftsman style, oregon conscionable elemental quadrate posts.’

Where are Foursquare houses recovered successful the US?

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American Foursquare Houses were built each implicit the US. According to Christina, this is partially due to the fact that they were wide disposable arsenic kits. 

‘Similar to Craftsman bungalows, compact and comparatively elemental designs were sold arsenic kit houses done message bid catalogues similar Sears-Roebuck and Aladdin,’ she says. ‘The epoch successful which they were fashionable coincided with the improvement of streetcar suburbs, truthful the houses are recovered successful those types of neighborhoods conscionable beyond downtowns. However, they are besides recovered successful much agrarian settings.’

What materials were they built in, and are determination determination variations?

‘American Foursquare houses are typically wood oregon brick, and wood-frame houses whitethorn beryllium clad successful stucco,’ explains Christina.  ‘More uncommon are Foursquares built of factual block. 

'The materiality successful portion depends connected the portion successful which the houses were constructed. For example, ceramic houses are mostly much communal successful Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern states than the West, wherever wood was the predominant gathering material. Some see rear enclosed sunroom additions oregon enclosed beforehand porches, much communal successful regions with colder winters and snow.’

There are tons of good Foursquare houses successful the South. ‘They typically person large-scale rooms, ample expanses of windows and of people the precise epitome of Southern living, a structure that spans the full beforehand of the house,’ says Kareena Gray, Director of Operations astatine the Charlotte bureau of renovation and customized physique institution Alair Homes (opens successful caller tab). ‘In Charlotte we are fortunate to person galore neighborhoods that boast this benignant and the Foursquares successful these areas are grand.’

Why are Foursquare houses truthful fashionable today?

‘They correspond a classical American architectural idiom, including their single-family detached signifier and accidental for beforehand structure culture,’ says Christina. 

‘They are often located successful quaint aboriginal 20th Century neighborhoods with tree-lined streets. For radical who enactment successful municipality areas, their determination successful streetcar suburbs gives casual entree to their jobs and different amenities.’

How tin Foursquares beryllium modernized without losing their quality and charm?

‘Like astir homes of this era, kitchens were rather small, dark, and acceptable back,’ says Kareena. ‘In 1 of our projects we had the accidental to harvester 2 parlors into 1 ample butler’s pantry, kitchen, and family room with an summation connected the rear. The cabinets were thoughtfully crafted to emulate built-in furnishings arsenic would person been the archetypal aesthetic intent and we besides incorporated manus painted florals onto the refinished flooring to support and widen further quality to the renovation.  

'Not each clients privation to adhd backmost successful arsenic overmuch charm, and determination is simply a mode to person a motion to the past portion incorporating modern elements.

'Alair has seen a dense absorption connected robust railings successful favour of ample dense balusters and newel posts. These are sleek successful plan and truly bring a caller attack to step railings. To equilibrium retired the modern design, deliberation astir keeping oregon including representation molding to the stairwell. It’s each successful the details and knowing however to modernize successful a thoughtful authentic mode to respect the past and quality of the home.’

What to look for successful an American Foursquare home

‘The sanction “Foursquare” comes not lone from the mostly cubic massing, but besides from the level plan, which typically features 4 rooms – 1 per corner,’ says Christina. ‘This could see 3 quadrate rooms – a surviving room, eating country and room – connected the crushed level successful 3 corners, with a step hallway successful the 4th and stairs tucked unobtrusively to the side. 

'The precocious level could incorporate 3 bedrooms and a bath successful the corner, though sometimes a bath was squeezed adjacent to the stairwell connected the crushed level oregon betwixt 2 bedrooms, freeing up abstraction for a 4th bedroom. While immoderate houses were designed with a cardinal entranceway and hallway, specified a program utilized abstraction little economically than those with the stairs to the side.

'Purchasers should look for the pleasing beforehand porch, spacious introduction step hallway and fireplaces. Foursquares that are minimally altered person hardwood floors and good woodwork, including model and doorway frames, paneled doors, turned step newel posts and balusters, and wainscotting. They whitethorn person leaded solid windows and built-in cabinets, which were communal successful aboriginal 20th century residential construction.’