Our house was built in 1927. The land it sits on originally was part of a larger parcel. The owner of that parcel subdivided it into five lots and built practically the same house on each lot.

On April 22, 1927 the boston based architect A.J. Carpenter submitted an Application for Permit to build. According to the permit application, the plans called for a 2 family dwelling, a stone foundation 20 inches thick, the framing mortised and pinned. Building Department Zonal approval was granted on April 29, 1927. The plans were examined on May 4, 1927 by Dolan & Construction, and approval granted on May 4, 1927. Estimated cost for building the house: $10,000.

June 1, 1927 a plumbing pemit was submitted. On June 3rd, approval was granted. A water test was performed on June 23, 1927 and work was completed on July 23, 1928. Based on the timeline, I suspect the home was completed between 1928 and 1929.

I was not able to find much information about our architect. We do know he lived in the same neighborhood and designed a few buildings in the Boston area. He was also an outstanding amateur lepidopterist (collected butterfly specimens).
front facade

The house changed hands a few times until January 15, 1963 when a young couple purchased the home and raised four children under its roof. They lived in the home for 43 years. In late April of 2006, we closed and became the new owners.

House Architecture

My research leads me to believe that the house was loosely based on the American Foursquare design. Commonly built between 1890 and 1930, these simple, square shaped homes provided comfortable space-efficient housing for middle class families. Typically, rooms were tucked neatly into each corner, minimizing space-wasting hallways. This made the house ideal for small city lots. The practical layout and style was often used for mail order house kits from Sears and other catalog companies.

Foursquares typically have the following features:

  • Two stories, with an attic and a full basement
  • Boxy shape
  • Porch ranging from wraparounds to a front stoop
  • Squat, pyramid-shaped roof
  • Hipped roof and front single dormer

Depending on the details, a Foursquare home can adopt any style, whether Neoclassical, Arts and Crafts, Tudor, or Queen Anne.

Some reasons why we loved this house:
Beautiful hardwood floors, once they’ve been refinished, wood trim (some of it original, some painted)
floors

trim

Glass doorknobs and pulls
glass pulls

glass knob

Wainscotting in the dining rooms
wainscot
Above all, we like its simple floorplan and the fact that it has not been “remuddled” (but we’re working on that). This house was never meant to be a home for the affluent, it was built for middle class families. Our challenge is to respect the character of our home and renovate it without making it precious.

PS - Pictures from our initial home inspection can be seen here.