For years now, as I have slowly driven around the leafy residential districts of Emporia, I have noted houses which must be by the same architect as they all have certain characteristic details, the most telling of which is a curvaceous piece of trim under the windows.
Most houses have no such trim, curvaceous or otherwise. The windows on most houses have a window sill, and nothing under but the siding of the house.
But the mystery architect thought to add an extra bit of flourish to his houses, and this extra bit is both distinctive and attractive. It marks the houses.
Of late, I have been jumping out of my car and snapping pictures of houses with curvaceous window flourishes.
On occasion, an owner sternly walks up to me. “Why are you taking pictures of my house?”
Luckily, my reply brings a smile to the owner’s face (at least so far), and I am often invited in for a tour. As there is nothing I enjoy more then getting inside the interior of a cool old house such invitations are accepted with alacrity.
To date (September 2014) I have not uncovered the mystery of who designed these houses. Several owners told me their house was by Sears, which sold kit houses all across the country. My research does not support this, and the owners have never seen the tell-tale numbers stamped onto, say, the basement ceiling joists (the numbers indicate where the pre-cut lumber was to go). In addition, there is too much variation to all the houses. This is not something one sees with kit houses, but it IS something one sees with custom-designed houses.