I doubt I will ever discover an answer to this 122-year-old mystery.
What was built would have cost less than what was drawn. But, the savings would have been negligible in the end. However, there are other areas where the detailing on the exterior became simpler:
Was there some sort of overall cost-cutting in 1894? Or did the architect of the house, Charles Squires, decide to subtly create a simpler effect?
Again, I doubt an answer will ever be forthcoming.
I have however concluded one thing. In removing the wood panel under the triple-arched windows on the main facade, I intended the change to be temporary until I could figure out a better solution than something which would just rot out again. Now that I have the original 1894 drawing of the main facade (showing a likely tin panel), and now that I know WF Norman can do pretty much anything, I am going to see if they can recreate the original look of the panel…in tin.