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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Daybreak Architecture – Row Homes

Some of the more distinctive homes in Daybreak can be found on the West side of Founders Village . These homes feature tall, narrow façades that seem to represent the entire spectrum of colors often found in a box of crayola crayons. These façades, like many other homes in Daybreak, feature fiber-cement siding relying on color and trim to differentiate an otherwise homogeneous row of dwellings. I toured some of the model homes when Golden Medallion Homes first opened them to the public. Inside you can still find a surprisingly open floor plan that features a kitchen and living room on the main floor. This feature more than any other differentiates these row homes with the historic row houses of the past.

Row houses were built by even the earliest European colonies. As early as 1630 European settlers in Virginia were building small groups of attached houses that closely replicated designs used since medieval times. Later, during the eighteenth century, towns along the eastern seaboard prospered and land value increased steadily.

Out of necessity, many builders made the most of land purchased by building row houses that could be accommodated easily by a small narrow lot. At this time row houses became a standard home for many families living within an urban setting. During this time, most of these homes were designed in a Federal style with architectural details being borrowed from Greek architecture. During this time many row houses were built using wood as the sole construction material. This was later corrected as many fires devastated whole streets of homes because of the material and proximity.

Commonly referred to in the Western United States as town homes, both attached and detached versions exist. Famous examples of row homes are in most major cities, but a few stand out particularly in the public eye. The “painted ladies” of San Francisco are a perfect example. In historic Philadelphia , almost the entire city is populated with various types of row houses that were built as early as colonial times. Most of these row homes are primarily red brick in construction, with stone and marble accent. There are even a few examples that are built of solid granite, such as Mayfair in Northeast Philadelphia . The Daybreak row home models are colorful, modern examples of a style that reaches back to medieval Europe . In my opinion they are an aesthetically pleasing way to successfully integrate density into our community and are a welcome addition into Founders Village and Eastlake.

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