Historic Zoning Commission
Fourth and Gill H: Level II
Staff Recommendation for Exterior rehabilitation
Staff recommends postponement of Certificate 9-D-23-HZ, allowing the applicant to provide a revised design that more clearly indicates the building's historic evolution. The Commission should discuss the proposed fiber cement lap siding and windows.
Applicant RequestArchitectural feature; Doors; Material changes; Porch; Roofing; Siding; Windows
Exterior rehabilitation. Applicant proposes removal of the existing non-historic roofline, siding, windows, and doors. Exterior of the house is proposed to be largely reconstructed with a pitched front-gable roof clad in asphalt shingles, an exterior of fiber cement lap siding with cornerboards and window trim, and cedar shingles in the gable fields. Windows will be installed in new fenestrations on the façade, side elevations, rear elevation, and upper gable fields.
The façade (southwest) will feature a centrally-located, multi-light door flanked by ten-light sidelight windows and topped by transoms, and paired six-over-six, double-hung windows (no materials provided) on the two outside bays. The left side elevation will feature five bays of four-over-four, double-hung windows. Four-over-four, double-hung windows with trim are located in each gable field. On the rear elevation, two sets of multi-light double doors and a third door will open onto a deck. The deck features steel supports and a horizontal steel railing, and an unspecified composite decking.
On the façade, a wood trellis structure is proposed to extend the full length of the façade.
Site InfoShotgun houses combined to form a vernacular commercial building, c.1900
One-story commercial building with a gable roof, featuring a large wood parapet on the façade. Exterior is clad in vertical wood siding and windows are single-light, fixed panes on the front and left side elevations. The front door is recessed between two projecting massings on the outside bays.
1. 616 Luttrell Street is part of the Fourth & Gill National Register Historic District and local overlay, but noted on the c.1985 NRHP nomination as "non-contributing."
2. The building is highly altered. Historic photos of the building/buildings have not been located but documentation is available via the Sanborn maps and historic aerial photos. The 1917 Sanborn map indicates the building used to be two narrow shotgun houses with front porches, and the 1950 Sanborn map depicts the two buildings as connected with a roof between the two, and individual front porches. By the 1940s, the building was used for commercial purposes. The NRHP nomination from 1985 describes the building as a "one-story frame house with double gabled roof and circular attic vents, severely altered." By the late 1980s or 1990s, the building was modified to feature a false parapet wall on the façade, along vertical wood cladding and single-light commercial-style windows. On the façade, the original two-building form can be seen in the two projecting massings with a recessed front entry.
3. SOI Standard #3 notes that "each property should be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, should not be undertaken." A degree of the building's restoration is conjectural, as there are no historic photos immediately accessible. The main evidence of the combined buildings' original designs relates to their overall forms instead of details: the footprints, including two separate buildings with individual front porches, and the rooflines. The proposed façade design retains the recessed front door and two projecting massings to indicate the combined front elevations.
While reconstructing the original combined roofline could pose construction and maintenance difficulties, the proposed new roof creates the illusion that the building has always been one house. There is no historic evidence for the proposed front-gable roof. Additional design elements should acknowledge the historic evolution of the building from two shotgun houses with front porches to one commercial structure. Such elements could include a revised roofline including two front gables with the primary gable recessed from the façade or a front porch with two gables connected by the proposed pergola.
4. Removal of the existing siding is appropriate. The application includes fiber cement lap siding as a replacement for non-historic vertical wood siding. Fiber cement siding has not been approved in Fourth and Gill as a replacement siding on original buildings; the Commission should discuss the proposed siding materials.
5. The current windows' design and placement are not original or character-defining. The proposed window design and placement are new elements of the design, as the commercial building is repurposed for residential use. As no evidence exists to recreate the original windows, double-hung windows with exterior trim and sills are appropriate. The applicant proposes true divided light, aluminum-clad wood windows with 6/6 and 4/4 designs. With no evidence for the multi-light windows, 1/1 double-hung windows may be more appropriate. The Commission should discuss the proposed window design and materials. Final specifications for windows should be submitted to staff for approval.
6. A revised design acknowledging the building's original forms or elements could incorporate the front porches; guidelines recommend reconstructing the original front porches or using historic elements such as posts or columns and balustrades. A full-length pergola along the façade lacks historic precedent.
7. The proposed deck will be somewhat visible from the right-of-way, due to the adjacent vacant lot. The deck will contain steel supports and guardrails and composite decking. A final site plan and material specifications for the deck should be submitted to staff for approval.