Stone may not have been prevalent or easy to mine and carve here but timber was in rich abundance. Thus, detailing found in carved stone was primitively improvised in wood resulting in a picturesque style that was both charming and quaint. Carpenter Gothic houses and churches became common in North America in the late nineteenth century and featured adapted Gothic elements such as pointed arches and steep gables. Vertical wood siding, such as board and batten, played up the verticality of the Gothic design. Otherwise (in our distinct puritanical American way), these buildings were relatively unadorned.
Grant Wood’s iconic painting “American Gothic” used this style as an apt rural backdrop for a staunch looking husband and wife. This painting beautifully illustrates the heartland spirit, whose roots were firmly planted in American soil, but possessed strong hearts that soared as high to the heavens as their European counterparts.
The following are some of our dabblings in this celebrated American style.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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