Saturday, February 2, 2008

Design Plans

Joel incorporated many of her design ideas with house plans found in magazines such as House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and Ladies Home Journal. The Craftsman, an architectural magazine, was also a copious source of ideas. In a 1903 edition of the Craftsman were several articles featuring the Craftsman house style used by Joel. Possibly, Joel researched these magazines at the Allen County Library or gleaned ideas from companies such as Sears Roebuck and Aladdin.[i] Drawing on a variety of sources and her vision, artistic talent, and motivation, Joel changed the housing in the Fort Wayne area by introducing a blend of durable and attractive houses.

Joel could customize any architectural style to meet the customer’s needs; however, her specialty was Craftsman houses. Houses built in the Craftsman style featured broad low-pitched gabled roofs with open eaves. Other unique features such as exposed rafters, roof beams, verge boards, and knee braces added to the durability and attractive appearance of the house. Joel recommended stucco; however, the customer could always choose from stone, wood siding or shingles for the exterior of the house. Items such as window boxes, trellises, latticework, and patterned windows were also available on an individual basis. [ii]

Besides Craftsman, customers could choose other house styles, such as Colonial Revival, American Foursquare, Dutch Colonial Revival or any combination thereof. Gothic-looking steep gable roofs were an option. Once the customer’s design needs were agreed on, Grace Crosby drafted the house plans. A page was added to the Wildwood Homes, a book of house plans, whenever a new house was designed.[iii]

[i] Nancy Vendrely, “Ninde Homes a Vision of Turn-of-Century Women.” Fort Wayne Journal Gazette People Section, Southwest, October 21, 1997, n.p.[ii] Connie Haas Zuber, “Ninde’s Homes Inspired Love at First Sight,” Fort Wayne News Sentinel, June 27, 1987.[iii] Wildwood Homes, n.d.n.p. The house plan, a Dutch Colonial-for the Ninde’s first house at 3030 W. Wayne Street-and nineteen additional architectural layouts are included in this book (Allen County Public Library Indiana Collection).

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