Many exteriors may be given added interest by even slight departures in detail from the commonplace.
Interesting effects have been obtained in brick and stucco houses by the use of molded bricks for such details as the divisions between windows (mullions), or for window-sills and other horizontal courses.
Molded terra-cotta, also, either unglazed or with a “matt” surface, and red, white or polychrome in color, may often be happily introduced in panels, friezes, spandrils or lunettes, especially in the stucco house.
Here great interest may be added, and the only caution is to concentrate any such embellishment in certain places rather than have it scattered confusingly about.
Window-heads, for instance, may be enlivened by the introduction of coloured terra-cotta, or a gorgeous coloured frieze may well be placed up in the shadow of the overhanging eaves.
In some instances, it may be permissible or even commendable to introduce cement casts of ornamental placques, cartouches or bas-reliefs in a wall of stucco,whether or not there is also a certain amount of brick work. Houses derived from Spanish or Italian types are the most appropriate for such embellishment.
Tiles are of several kinds, broadly divided into tiles structural and tiles decorative.
Despite the division, each kind may partake of the uses of the other.
The most familiar structural tile is the square red tile (called a “quarry tile,” from the French car re, square). This tile is usually seen used as a flooring for terraces, court-yards, roof-gardens, sun-rooms and the like, though other effective uses have ebeen evolved, such as quarry-tile window sills, or quarry-tiles inlaid in stucco walls to break the monotony of uniform surface.
Decorative tiles, of which a great many fascinating varieties are made today, may find an equal variety of equally fascinating uses in stucco houses. Spanish architecture, especially, is characterised by its extensive use of decorative tiles, which bespeak, in the buildings of old Castile, one of the most conspicuous of the Moorish influences.Exterior iron work is to be considered as appropriate only to houses of brick, stone or stucco. To place an iron railing on a wooden house is obviously incongruous.
Many peculiarly interesting effects may be obtained by the judicious introduction of iron work, at comparatively small expense.
Delicate iron railings and iron grilles form one of the most charming features of Spanish architecture, as well as of Italian architecture, though to a lesser extent. Brick Georgian architecture has also an associated type of iron work which adds remarkably to design in this style.
Exterior ornament does not play a huge part in American domestic architecture, and certainly is not used in the manner of the English architects.
Ornament merely for the sake of ornament, of course, is never desirable, and in any case it should be applied both sparingly and intelligently.
Ornament for the sake of decoration may often add distinct interest to an exterior.
A beam or bracket may be carved, or incident may be affected by the English device of ornamental exterior plaster work.