Historic Zoning Commission
Fourth and Gill H: Level III
Staff Recommendation for New primary structure
The staff recommendation remains generally consistent with the initial review: the Commission should discuss the overall massing, size, and scale of the house as it relates to the surrounding context of the historic district.
Pending the approval of overall massing, size, and scale, staff also recommends the additional conditions of approval: 1) final door selection to be wood and submitted to staff for approval; 2) the use of wood lap siding over HardiePlank siding; 3) using dark-colored asphalt roofing shingles and unpainted brick masonry elements to better connect with the historic context; 4) revision of side elevation windows to create more even proportions on each side.
Applicant RequestOther: New primary structure
New single-family residence fronting Deery Street. Overall footprint measures 37.5' wide by approximately 64' long, incorporating several projecting massings on the side and rear elevations, and an 8'-9" deep front porch. House features a cross-gable roof with a one-story hipped-roof porch on the façade (northeast), a two-story hipped-roof massing on the right (northwest) elevation, a partial hipped-roof porch on the left (southeast) elevation. The roof is clad in asphalt shingles, the exterior is clad in wood lap siding with brick porch supports, and the house rests on a brick-clad foundation. There are decorative horizontal trim bands at multiple levels on each elevation.
The house is proposed to be set 18'-9" from the front property line, with the 8'-9" deep front porch set 10' from the front property line. The house is relatively centered on the lot, with a right (northwest) side setback of 5'. A concrete walkway will extend from the front porch to the sidewalk. Parking is accessed off the alley, with a 20' by 20' paved parking pad.
The façade (northeast) features a side-gable roof with a 6/12 pitch, with a one-story, centered, hipped roof porch. The façade is clad in wood lap siding, with brick porch supports. All façade windows are 2'-6" wide by 5' tall, metal, single-light casement windows. The three-bay first story features two pairs of single-light windows flanking a centrally-located half-light door. Two bays of paired single-light windows are evenly spaced on the second story.
The left side (southeast) elevation features two front-gable roof bays on each side of the elevation, and a one-story, half-hipped-roof porch from the leftmost front-gable roof section. The porch features a 1/12 pitch hipped roof and is supported by square brick columns. All side elevation windows are 2'-6" wide by 5' tall, metal, single-light casement windows, with one 5' by 5' picture window on each story. There is a significant amount of transparency on both stories of the southeast side elevation.
The right side (northwest) elevation features a two front-gable roof bays on each side of the elevation, with a two-story, hipped-roof massing projecting from the center. Windows on this side elevation are irregularly spaced 2'-6" wide by 5' tall, metal, single-light casement windows. There are no windows towards the rear elevation, though a front-gable roof section is isolated with vertical and horizontal trim bands.
The rear (southwest) elevation) features a side-gable roof with a 6/12 pitch. A two-story, centrally-located flat-roof massing projects outward from the rear elevation, featuring six adjoining 2'-6" metal casement windows on first and second stories.
Not noted on drawings: the applicant has requested options of fiber cement siding in place of lap siding, and wood windows in place of metal windows.
PLACEMENT; HEIGHT, SCALE, & MASSING
1. The new house is proposed for an average-sized lot in Fourth and Gill that historically held a two-story, wood frame residence with an exterior of wood and a one-story corner porch. The proposed house reflects the shape of the lot, with a rectangular form and the narrow side parallel to the street.
2. The house's proposed setback is 10' from the front porch to the front property line, and 18'-9" from the front porch to the house's main massing. The average front setback of the block is 12.4'. The adjacent house (709 Deery Street) is 17'. The new house, along with the house proposed for 701 Deery Street, will maintain the historic façade line of the streetscape and reinforce the street's established alignment. The house is centered on the lot and will maintain consistent side setbacks.
3. Guidelines recommend avoiding "replicating or imitating the styles, motifs, or details of older periods," and encourage compatibility in interpretation of historic styles and forms seen in the neighborhood. The proposed house is a contemporary interpretation of the Prairie style, including a mix of wood and brick elements, a lower-pitched roof, wide eave overhangs, and emphasis on horizontal lines on the façade. While there are not many Prairie-style houses in Fourth and Gill (or Knoxville), the selected style does fit into the neighborhood's period of significance. The Prairie style is an appropriate style selection for the applicant and owner's goals of a large house, as most Prairie houses were two stories and incorporate substantial porches. The Prairie-inspired elements have reduced in the revised design, with the removal of the corner brick pilasters.
4. The proposed house is two stories, measuring 25'-11" to the roof peak on the façade elevation. The size and proportions of the new house relate more to the largest buildings in the district (multi-family buildings at 403 E. Fourth Ave; 727 Deery Street) than the immediately adjacent Queen Anne cottages. Responding to discussion with the Commission and the neighborhood, the applicant has dropped the roof peak height down two feet (was previously 27'-4" to roof peak). The house at 705 Deery Street is taller than the immediately adjacent existing houses.
5. To break up the large rectangular form, the proposed house uses varied massings, including the two front-gable massings on the left (southeast) elevation, two one-story, hipped-roof porches, and a variety of siding details. The side elevations are significantly asymmetrical.
The flat-roof, two-story projecting massing on the rear elevation is a unique tactic to incorporate additional interior space. It will be somewhat visible from the street due to the size of the proposed house. It does contribute transparency to the rear elevations.
6. The proposed house is compatible in façade width with the Fourth and Gill examples selected for the application packet (two-story, side-gable or hipped-roof houses with three-bay facades). However, the comparable examples provided in the application (ie, 716 Deery Street) use a rectangular form where the wider side of the façade is aligned with the street. The proposed house extends significantly towards the rear property line, occupying the maximum building coverage permitted on the lot. The overall massing of the house is large. The house's massing is aligned with the larger buildings on E. Fourth Avenue and Deery Street.
7. The façade integrates a mix of vertical and horizontal elements with horizontal trim bands, brick porch columns, and symmetrical window placement. These elements are characteristic of the Prairie style. The previously-proposed brick pilasters have been removed, in favor of vertical and horizontal trim elements.
8. The proposed cross-gable roof form is compatible with the neighborhood context. The roof forms are appropriately complex and draw from nearby gable-roofed designs, while also incorporating a low-sloped hipped roof porch on the façade. Guidelines also recommend using eave lines which conform to those of adjacent properties, and using divisions between stories that mimic neighborhood buildings. The proposed eave lines are taller than the immediately adjacent properties on the block (709, 713, 717 Deery Street) but are comparable two-story examples on the other side of the block.
9. Guidelines recommend constructing new buildings to equal the average height of existing buildings on the street. The proposed residence is on the taller side of this average.
10. The house includes a raised, 2' tall brick masonry foundation, which is compatible with historic foundations.
11. Using a centrally-located half-light door, flanked by the two square porch columns and accessible via a new concrete walkway from the sidewalk, the design successfully incorporates a strong sense of entry on the front façade.
12. Guidelines note that the shape and pitch of roofs on new construction should imitate the shape and pitch of roofs on neighboring existing houses or other houses of the same architectural style. A 6/12 pitch is less steep than many of the original houses in Fourth and Gill, but there are many two-story houses with similar façade widths which use lower-pitched roofs. The roof features sufficiently deep eave overhangs and proportionate fascia boards on the gable fields.
13. The design includes an 8'-9" deep, 21'-11" wide front porch which is proportionate to the design of the house and historic porches in the neighborhood. The proposed square brick columns and solid wood porch railing/enclosures are consistent with the contemporary interpretation of the Prairie style. The revised front porch is larger than the initial proposal.
14. Asphalt shingles are an appropriate roofing material within the design guidelines. The final selection should use dark green, dark gray, black, or another dark color to simulate roof colors on original houses.
15. The half-light door is appropriate for the house's design and contributes additional transparency to the façade. The applicant should specify the door material and select a material compatible with the overall house and the design guidelines (preferably, wood).
16. Guidelines recommend wood materials instead of synthetic siding, noting that concrete composition planks may be appropriate for new construction as well. The submitted drawings propose wood siding, though the applicant has requested the option of HardiePlank and provided instances where fiber cement siding has been approved on new construction. In the opinion of staff, due to the overall size, massing, and style selected, the house will be sufficiently "contemporary in spirit" and does not need further material elements to differentiate from the historic context. Wood lap siding features a more historically appropriate exposure pattern and overlap than fiber cement siding, which can present visually as flat and lacking depth. Using wood lap siding, along with the proposed brick elements, will keep the new house consistent with the historic materials used along the street.
17. While paint colors are not directly in the HZC's purview, in the opinion of staff, red or brown brick masonry elements would be most compatible with the neighborhood context, avoiding current trends of white-washed brick and monochromatic facades.
18. The application includes a substantial amount of transparency, in the form of rectangular, single-light, metal casement windows. The Commission should discuss the appropriateness of the window form and material with relation to the proposed house design and neighborhood context.
19. The northwest (right) side elevation lacks sufficient transparency, especially towards the rear. With the removal of the brick pilasters, a large swath of solid siding with no transparency is present towards the rear. Modifying both side elevation windows to even out the proportions would assist in "creating a mix of wall areas with […] window elements like those found on the neighborhood's historic houses."