Friday Harbor Vernacular Architecture


Very prevalent in Friday Harbor, these homes were originally rectangular in plan, later evolving to L- or T-shaped plans with the addition of porches, kitchens, and other wings. They are generally one or two stories in height with a gabled roof. Windows commonly have a vertical orientation and feature divided panes in a one-overone or two-over-two configuration. Friezes, window surrounds, and corner boards contribute to the simple, dignified character of these early homes. Covered porches often contain the only ornamentation.

Farmhouse – Gable Front & Wing

This is an adaptation of Greek Revival houses common to rural areas. In this house form, an additional sidegabled wing is added at right angles to the front gable, yielding a compound, gable-front-and-wing shape. A shedroofed porch is typically placed within the L created by the two wings.These houses are often two-storied; some are relatively large and complex with more elaborate decorative trim, such as spindlework porch detailing or detailing at the cornice line.

Farmhouse – I House

A derivative of traditional British country forms, the I-House has been used continuously in rural America since the first colonists arrived.Two rooms wide and one room deep, the I-House is side-gabled.This traditional shape is often embellished with porches, chimneys, and rearward additions. Numerous examples of the I-House form are found in Friday Harbor.

Hipped Box

A small house or cottage consisting of a square, one-story “box” capped by a pyramidal or hipped roof. Built for economy of materials and space, this form was common to mining, lumber, and railroad towns of the West. The Hipped Box house has many variations, some of which include decorative detailing. Exterior siding is either clapboard or narrow-gauge horizontal siding or even machine-sawn shingles.Although simple and functional, these houses were given a dressing-up with covered entry porches, wood shingle roofs, simple window surrounds, and vertical, double-hung windows.

Four Square

Similar in form to the Hipped Box, the Four Square is two-storied with a hipped or pyramidal roof and is distinguished by a square plan of four rooms on each floor. A single-story porch usually runs the full width of the front of the building; windows generally are symmetrically positioned. Exterior siding is either clapboard or narrow-gauge horizontal siding.

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne is what most people think of as “Victorian.” Although there are few full-blown examples in Friday Harbor, there are numerous houses not strictly Queen Anne in form but which suggest this type through the use of decorative millwork.

Queen Anne houses are usually asymmetrical in massing and often express a “pinwheel” effect in plan, with rooms seeming to “spin off ” a central core. An almost whimsical mix of materials is common, along with the use of different sized windows, balconies, porches, and decorative mill work. The composition as a whole nevertheless comes together to form a varied yet pleasing appearance.

Craftsman Bungalow

Constituting one of the most popular and fashionable styles in America from 1905-1930, Craftsman houses were affordable, convenient, and practical. Originating with the mid-to-late-nineteenth-century Arts and Crafts movement in England, the Craftsman house was promoted in America by Gustav Stickley, the publisher of The Craftsman magazine. Pattern books and magazines such as Ladies’ Home Journal, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and The Architect further publicized the small cottages that have come to be known as Craftsman Bungalows. Small and sturdy or large and imposing, the appearance of a Craftsman house is unfailingly handcrafted.To achieve a varied look, builders combined natural materials such as wood shingles, clapboard, stone, or rough-faced brick. Front porches supported by short, wide columns are a hallmark. Low-pitched gable or hipped roofs with wide overhanging eaves—in contrast to earlier styles with steeper pitched roofs—are another distinguishing characteristic, as are exposed roof rafters and braces under gables.Windows are commonly double hung, sometimes with a multi-pane window above and a single pane below (six-over- one).Variations of this design can be found in Friday Harbor.