September 25th 2014

parapet peeves

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We have a distinct fondness for the Dutch or Flemish gable. That’s evident in our Baton Rouge, Louisiana house featured in this month’s Architectural Digest.
BlountConservatory-008While the angular form of the traditional (and more common) triangular gable has a certain staid formality to it, the frivolity of the Dutch and Flemish parapeted gable always seem to convey friendly invitation. They almost hint the owner has a touch of humor or kind countenance.

Their roots originated in places like Amsterdam, Holland or Lubeck, Germany where many buildings have gable ends overlooking canals and quaysides. Lined side by side along the waterfront, a succession of these create a happy site sure to lift a heavy heart. They appear a gathering of engaged personalities, all seated at water’s edge, anticipating the oncoming arrival of something or someone to accompany their jovial spirits.

These robust facades come in varying designs. Sometimes they are rigidly or haphazardly stepped (commonly called “crow-stepped”) and the fancier versions almost appear as if they were delicately scrolled by the hand of a gifted calligrapher. Whatever their pattern, they articulate the sense of a graceful placard – something of worth and beneficence lies within these walls. A bit of whim lifted toward heaven – a blithe prayer offered up.

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Faithfully,

Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley

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