St. Louis' Gingerbread Homes - Let's Tour the Outside!  (Part 2)

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Thanks for joining us for Part 2 of our Tudorbread Tour!  Let's home at some more homes in detail.

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The limestone icing decorating this home not only adds to its character and beauty, but its application at the base of the chimney, widening and fortifying it, and at the pedestals of the front porch railing and around the doorway, projects a vibe of great strength and security.  Like a miniature castle.  It almost shouts out, “Live here and your family will be safe for centuries!”  And as solidly as these homes have been built, that’s likely true.  Also note the charming three window set in the attic, with its arched center window.  I realize I do sound like a broken record, but it’s simply impossible to find such attractive and exquisite detailing in modern residential home construction.

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A side gabled Gingerbread with two front gables.  When the owners sitting on the front porch aren’t exchanging greetings with the neighbors, they can look up and admire the beautiful styling of their home, including its remarkable doorway:  two layers of brick expanding in stair-step fashion, culminating in a gorgeous mix of white stone and gray brick.  An extra bit of decorative stone on each side near the end of the bargeboards makes the doorway even more exquisite.  This home also appears to have its delightful and original chimney pot top, adding even more character.

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Another side gabled home with two prominent front gables.  Again multi-colored brick, arched doorway, and 3 piece front window set.  Most of the stonework on this Tudorbread appears at the base, with only accents above, again giving it a strong and sturdy castle-like appearance.  Instead of stone trim above the door and windows, this home features beautiful brick craftsmanship.    Note the three layers of arched brickwork above the doorway, the geometric patterns above the ground floor windows, and the semicircular trim above the attic windows.  Pound for pound, I really doubt it’s possible to find a more beautiful home.

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This elegant small home features all the standard Gingerbread features in a slightly different way.  Multi-colored brick, two front gables (although the roof is not quite as steeply pitched), three window set, and large prominent chimney.  This home contains a beautiful three-tiered receding brick arched doorway.  The gingerbread icing is more subtle and sparsely applied.  This feature, combined with the darkly painted bargeboards (typically white), matching storm door and window trim, really makes this home pop, giving it an extremely attractive, more modern look.

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A showcase example in this beautifully maintained home.  Three front gables on a side gabled home form the foundation of an interesting and appealing roofline.  Combining the roof’s blue mix of shingles and the traditional Tudor decorative wood planking, most of it curved, results in a stunning home with buckets of eye candy.  The first floor features an unusual but handsome quartet of windows, plenty of gingerbread icing, especially around the wonderful doorway, and an enchantingly narrow, almost mischievous-looking, window on the right.

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So many beautiful homes, so little time!  This classic Gingerbread features a decorative widening limestone base, stone trim above the windows and around the door, and a three-tiered brick arch doorway header with matching colored brick trim under the second floor windows.  Perhaps the most striking feature of this home are the art glass windows.  Sitting in the front room, with the sun shining in through these windows, the effect must be stunning! Look closely at this home again, and in addition to these four, there are four more such windows – all three second floor windows plus the speakeasy window in the door.

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This delightful home features two front gables with bargeboards that flare out and widen at their ends.  Except for the handsome doorway, there are only small amounts of stone trim elsewhere.  Instead we see exquisite decorative brickwork.  Note the beautiful mix of colored brick placed at angles at the apex of the doorway gable, the checkerboard pattern above the second story window, and the outstanding brick arch trim above the front window.

I am no photographer, but I wanted to attempt a close-up of those wonderful art glass front windows to share with you:

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More art glass, or stained glass, windows.  These photos don’t do these windows justice, but I do want to emphasize that such art glass windows are very common in St. Louis Gingerbread homes.  For a much closer and better look at these types of windows, please check out my ‘Gingerbread Homes – Inside’ section. 

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Of course in many homes the art glass has been removed for “updating” or more energy efficient windows.  While this is completely understandable, I’ve found the majority of St. Louis’ Gingerbreads’ still retain their original art glass windows.  For those who want better energy efficiency but still wish to keep such beautiful windows, there are window companies, such as Viviano (on Chippewa), who offer solutions that allow for both installing new windows to achieve the additional insulation desired while retaining (and actually better protecting) the original stained glass.

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Another wonderful St. Louis Tudorbread, this one with a clay tile roof.  Such roofs are rare on Gingerbreads, but are they ever beautiful!  And long lasting.  The extended stone trim above the primary second story windows works delightfully with the arched stone and brick combination just below it on the first story windows.  Note the two attractive curves near the base and midway up the chimney.  The doorway feature handsomely combines a tan color with the traditional white.  Truly, this brightly multi-colored brick home just radiates sunshine!   

And here's a close-up of those windows:

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A small home by today’s standards, but containing greater amounts of detail and charm than most modern homes four times its size!  Note the beautifully arched front window set highlighted with stone above and below, the impressive doorway, and the picturesque attic window.  No modern construction I’ve ever seen is going to make the effort to beautify an attic window, but this is common in St. Louis Gingerbreads.  And as you can see, it adds immensely to this home’s charm and character.

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Another stunning Tudorbread.  Side gabled, with two steep front gables.  The large chimney has been uniquely constructed to be a pair of chimneys.  The placement of red brick highlights around the doorway and below the windows makes the more brownish brick really pop.  The feature I really enjoy the most though, is that awesome stone arched entryway to the back yard.  Fantastic!

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I must claim this exquisite home as St. Louis Gingerbread even though it does not contain any of the gingerbread icing normally associated with such homes.  It certainly qualifies as eclectic Tudor with its steeply pitched roof, massive chimney, and prominent front gable highlighting the entryway.  But instead of wood planking or stone for decoration, here we see a wonderfully artistic use of brick that must have required great craftsmanship.  Vertical lines of brick, horizontal lines of brick, protruding patterns of brick, all creatively placed for a magnificent effect!

This home also includes some unusual bargeboards.  Very appealing and worth a closer look:

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This handsome home is especially interesting because it presents one long and extended front gable instead of the usual two, like in the previous picture.  Another great example of how a roofline can add to the beauty of a home, in contrast to the simple straight-line horizontal roofline found on many other home styles.   The multicolored brick and limestone trimmings up the chimney, around the doorway and windows, once again work together to create a lovely St. Louis Tudorbread home.   Note the decorative feature to the right of the doorway; these additional touches are not uncommon and add even more charm to these homes.

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I wanted to use this attractive home to illustrate and emphasize the stunning doorways that are so common on these homes.  Here we have a doorway topped off with a gravity-defying brick arch presented in four receding layers.  That level of technique and workmanship is simply not found on today’s homes!  Owners of these homes should take great pride knowing they own such incredible craftsmanship.

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Another stunning doorway on this charming St. Louis Gingerbread home.  Its shape, and combination of brick, stone, and color all work together to create a truly gorgeous work of art:

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A side gable home with two front gables like many of the homes featured here.  What differentiates this Gingerbread is the large area of the front gables, which extend lower to maximize their width at the bottom of the home.  Also note the prominent chimney with its detailed stonework at the top.  When I enlarge the front entrance you can see six layers of arching brick decorating the entryway!

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Another fine St. Louis Gingerbread.  All the features you would expect:  steeply pitched roof, multiple gables, triple window set and lots of gingerbread icing.  But in place of the normal rectangular chimney, an incredibly cool turret, complete with small stained glass windows, has been masterfully constructed!

That wraps up our tour sampling the exterior features of St. Louis Gingerbread homes.  Of course, this style of home isn't built anymore, but some of the Tudor features on which they are based can still be seen in today’s residential construction.  In almost all cases mono-colored vinyl siding has replaced brick and stone.  Consider this typical modern suburban home as an example:

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This handsome home uses multiple front gables to create a varied roofline much like Tudor styling.  It also features a set of three windows on the ground floor common on Tudor homes.  Of course, the prominent and welcoming front doorway, typical of Tudor styling, is now recessed, and the garage door has replaced it as the home’s dominant feature.  This is common.  It appears the bigger and wider the garage door, the more desirable the home.  This is surely a reflection of our nearly-complete dependency on the automobile in our suburban areas.  And so such is the state of residential architecture today.

In conclusion, I hope this segment has demonstrated the beauty and diversity of St. Louis’ Gingerbread (or Tudorbread, or eclectic-Tudor) homes.  At first glance, some of the smaller Gingerbreads may look almost identical, as many have the familiar two front gable configuration.  But a slightly closer look, as I've attempted to illustrate, shows great differences in individual detailing.  In my study, like fingerprints, I never found two that were exactly alike.  The only consistent element I did find was that they were all charming and full of character.  Please check out “Gingerbread–Inside” if you’d like to see more features of these homes.