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3 Architecture Styles You’ll See in Jamaica Plain Homes


Jamaica Plain is an area rich with history. In the nineteenth century it was a country escape for wealthy Bostonians who would ride their carriages from their Commonwealth Avenue brownstones to palatial estates in JP for a summer respite. But as public transportation grew and the neighborhood became more urbanized, the lavish architecture shifted. Now, in 2021, visitors to JP can see the ebb and flow of local populations in the architecture of the local homes.

Colonial Revival

This style is akin to what we might find in New England suburbs still today. Between 1910 and 1930 the colonial revival style boomed, drawing on the United States’ early history and styles like Georgian and Federal architecture to create detached two-story homes. However many homes predate that popularization. Clapboard and shingle, or contemporary siding, are most common in Jamaica Plain colonial revival homes.

The Loring-Greenough house on South Street is a Colonial style circa 1760. You can see how later homes drew from those characteristics on a smaller scale. Often Colonial Revival homes are square or rectangular with symmetrical windows on the front, often on the sides as well, framed by shutters.

Italianate

Despite its name, the Italianate architecture style came to the United States from Britain. This style isn’t super common in Jamaica Plain but you can spot it, and it does provide an interesting contrast to the more stately styles around it. Inspired by Italian villas, these homes are often designed in an L or T shape with molded window surrounds and flat edges.

Interestingly, Andrew Jackson Downing who pioneered the style here in Jamaica Plain, designed three types of house for different classes of people: well-to-do, middle-class, and farmers. As could be expected, the grander the home the higher class bracket the buyer was in.

Victorian Gothic

This is a style that’s unique to Jamaica Plain, where you’ll find the most Victorian Gothic homes in the Greater Boston area. These are the homes that have turrets and spires growing boldly from the roofs and decorative ornamentation on the roofline. Sometimes these homes can be small but often they’re massive, majestic affairs that have since been turned into multifamilies.

This style was popularized in the mid-to-late nineteenth century and texture is crucial to achieve the look. That’s why you might see stone and wood mixed with three-dimensional ornaments and an asymmetrical roofline. This style of home is thought to be a romantic allusion to medieval architecture—you know, without the famine and lack of hygiene.

No matter what the style of home, we’ve seen them all. Let us know what appeals to you most during your consultation with our team, nextdoor@unlimitedsir.com