Below is a short write-up on the architectural style of our house

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Some information about the architectural style of our house

Melvin Residence
We live in a house that was built in 1890 and we are constantly busy with the restoration of this beautiful house.

To the best of our knowledge the house was designed by Wilhelm Johannes
 De Zwaan**, one of the architects from Holland that was brought in by Pres. Paul Kruger

The house is in the Victorian (Queen Anne) architectural style. Queen Anne style (1887-1910) has the following characteristics:

  • Basically, a free form composition with Classical details
  • No rules of proportion (house expands in every direction).
  • Bay windows may jut out from load-bearing walls, sometimes out of a corner at an angle of 45 degrees
  • An ornate porch along one or both sides with rows of  stick-and-ball spindles
  • Complicated roof planes, e.g. gables pointing in several directions
  • Usually has a tower, a cylindrical or polygonal structure topped with a "candle snuffer"
  • Vibrant colors were used to highlight decorative features
  • Eclectic appropriation of ornamental elements from earlier periods, e.g. garlands, columns and carved wood
  • May have triangular wooden gable end perforated with jigsaw ornaments

The sketch above was done by Hannes Meiring*

Mr Meiring describes the building as follows:
“A short distance from the Union Buildings, in Pine Street is a house at present known as Melvin Residence – very different indeed from the Union Buildings. The house reminds one of the ostrich palaces of Oudtshoorn and is a rather amusing conglomeration of styles that were popular at the beginning of the century: decorative wooden railings around the stoep, a near classical gable and ornamental plaster work above the bay window, tall chimneys and a stairway that widens towards the bottom and is decorated with pot plants. Today genuine Victorian houses such as Melvin Residence are once again appreciated.”

*Meiring, Hannes. Pretoria 125: Human & Rousseau Publishers (Pty) Ltd, 1980. ISBN 0 7981 1087 2

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