Lake or River Villa

A Lake or River Villa for a Picturesque Site

"To a person of common sense views, whose life has been passed in a tame and prosaic district of country where the eye catches nothing on the earth's plane more elevating than unbroken levels of meadow or corn- field, this villa will almost appear an impossible necessity - if it does not seem wholly out of keeping with nature and life as he understands them.

But let another person, gifted not only with common sense but imagination , live amid such scenery as meets his eye daily on the Hudson Highlands, and he will often feel that a common-place, matter-of-fact, square house is an insult to the spirit of all that surrounds him. In such bold scenery, nature overpowers all and suggests all. Even cultivated fields would almost appear an impertinence in the sight of the broad river and lofty hills, were it no that they serve, by contrast to heighten the grandeur of that which man can never subdue, but which always stands ready to awe and subdue him.

...We must call the attention of the reader to the combination of power and domestic feeling in this villa - power in the high roofs and gables, and especially in the lofty, heavenward-pointing tower, and domesticity in the peculiarly homelike look of the wing on the right, with its twisted pillars, as well as in the repetition of this latter expression in the porch and two projecting windows.

...Not to be wearisome regarding our river villa, we would add that we hope the reader will find in it the expression of variety, independence and force of character, strong aspirations, and equally strong attachment to home and domestic life. As the residence of a man or family to whom such a character belongs, and built in a fittingly picturesque site, this villa would have to charm quite beyond the belief of those who know nothing of the effect of harmonious and spirited architecture." [Downing, 343-8.]





Return to Designs for Villas