20 March 2014

Winter Walk Off

Although a little late with this post, it was eventually completed (past the official deadline.) My winter walk-off was started on Monday, but then we were gifted a March snow storm for the record books. I started after the storm, but did not finish the walk or photos until sunny yesterday.

My walk was around Old Town Alexandria. This year, I photographed things that were interesting to me.

When temperatures warm, freeze, warm, and when there is no rain gutter, you get icicle lights.

This is storefront to an interior decorator and furnishings store on the main commercial drag. Although artificial greenery is used, the plastic growies seem organic and tastefully arranged.

Turning back to the residential streets, I always admired this house. It is simple, understated, yet highly elegant probably for its restraint and proportions. Although Alexandria was wealthy and boomed during the 1800s, the extravagance of the Victorian era never caught on. Italianate style (in a row house urban environment) dominates. It is characterized in this house with tall narrow windows, muscular ornamentation used sparingly, simple segmented arch (metal) hood moulds over the windows, and a mansard roof. What's missing is the cresting (metal decorative railing) along the top of the roof.

With row houses along the sidewalk and few if any front yards, a pedestrian scale allows appreciation of details. Door knockers easily seen from sidewalks are one of the ways homeowners distinguish their homes. This one is found on a gate leading to a garden.

This door knocker proudly displays the symbol of the new country immediately after the revolution. Although the knocker is not old, the door itself is. Its panel construction is similar to that used today, but the panels are flush with the rails (horizontal and vertical frames.) Today's doors would have the panels recessed, as in the following photos.

And this newer home decided to go with the edible route. Pineapples would never do.

Another way of personalizing your abode is with a unique wreath. Staying with the fruit theme, if life serves you lemons, make a door wreath.

Nothing says spring like a wreath of bird nests full of eggs on a pink door.

If you can't have a watchdog guarding your house, how about a watchgargoyle at the front door to scare off intruders?

Take a good look at the brick on this house. To think all this decoration, from projections, patterns, and double negative corners, is from the same size 4" by 8" (10cm by 20cm) brick.

Old Town is not all stuffy and staid. Teddy, Ben, Abe, Ronnie, and a redhead I don't recognize beckon for some southern barbecue.

This is known as a spite house. There are a handful in Alexandria, but this is the smallest. They were originally built by the owners of alleys (back in the day I guess alleys were privately owned.) This owner got fed up with people using his alley for shortcuts to their backyards (where horses, wagons, etc. were stored) so, he built a 7-foot wide (2m) house on it for spite.

Hope you enjoyed your walk around. Visit other walk-offs at A Tidewater Gardener.


Les said...
I can't imagine living in a spite house. You couldn't enjoy a big meal for worrying about fitting into the house. Thanks for taking the time to post a Walk-Off, especially in one of my favorite Virginia cities.
Swimray said...
It forces you to stay thin. Your Walk-Off forced me to look at details I always walk by.
Anonymous said...
Lovely details. I bet it never gets old. Tee hee
Casa Mariposa said...
I love Alexandria! I see something new every time I visit. Your walk off is much more interesting than boring burb.
Sarah Laurence said...
I enjoyed the icicle light and the colorful doors - what a lovely city!
Hoover Boo said...
I enjoyed your walk through a beautiful neighborhood--thanks for sharing it. That redhead couldn't be Thomas Jefferson, could it?
Swimray said...
Thanks. Burbs can be interesting, too.

The icicle lights are gone, but I'm not crying.

I will look harder at the redhead, but I was thinking female. (I believe Margaret Thatcher was here years ago.)

Swimray said...
That is indeed Thomas Jefferson. I asked the restaurant owner.
Jennifer said...
I love that little skinny house! More perfect is the fact that it is painted bright blue.
You just can't beat older architecture. The mouldings, the doors, the windows and even the door knockers are wonderful.
Swimray said...
There are more spite houses around town like this, but none thinner. 'Like living in a hallway.
Sybil said...
I love that "spite" house. I could live in a tiny house like that. Got rather carried away Googling "spite" houses and had a fascinating time. Thanks for the inspiration. Hope spring has arrived there. We're still waiting for it here in Nova Scotia.
sweetbay said...
I've been to the Old Town in Alexandria once. A beautiful and unique place.

I wonder if I could afford even a quarter of that "spite house"! lol I doubt it! I love old brick houses. My grandparents had a tall narrow Federal type house with painted brick in a small town in Indiana. That house had a lot of character.

I enjoyed taking this stroll with you!