Types Of Houses I - House

I - House

I-House The I-house is a vernacular house type, popular in the United States from the colonial period. Fred Kniffen a specialist in folk architecture named this type of house as I House in 1930. He chose the name "I-house" because of its common occurrence in the countryside farm areas of Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, all states beginning in the letter "I". He did not use the term to imply that this house type instigated in, or was restricted to, those three states.

The I-house was developed from traditional 17th century British folk house types, such as the hall and parlor house and central-passage house. It became a popular house form in the Mid-Atlantic and Southern United States at an early date, but can be found throughout most of the country in areas that were settled by the mid-19th century. All I-houses feature gables to the side and are at least two rooms in length, one room deep, and two full stories in height. They also often have a rear wing or ell for a kitchen or additional space. The facade of an I-house tends to be symmetrical, and they were constructed in a variety of materials such as logs, wood frame, brick or stone. In the South a variation of the I-house, with one-story rear shed rooms and usually a full-width front porch, is often referred to as the Plantation Plain house type, though it is more correctly termed as an I-house with sheds.

Because of the popularity and simple form of the I-house, ornamental elements of popular architectural styles were often used. Front porches and any decoration would be in the restrained Federal manner through the 1840s, or in the Greek revival style during the 1840s and 1850s. The I-house was also adapted to Gothic Revival and Italianate styles during the mid-19th century.

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