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american foursquare house style

The American Foursquare

by Patricia Poore on June 5, 2009

in Foursquare,House Styles

The epitome of the post-Victorian “comfortable house,” the Foursquare is about dignified self-containment.

Builders in the early 20th century referred to this type as “truly American . . . the square type of modern home,” “massive” and “conservative.” Whether done plain or embellished with Prairie School, Arts and Crafts, or Colonial Revival details, the Foursquare house was economical, built—and suited to small lots, prefab parts, and the housing boom. Foursquares seemed to spring up almost overnight. There were none in 1890. By 1910, thousands had been built. This familiar house got recognition and a name in 1982, in an article by Old-House Journal publishers Clem Labine and Patricia Poore.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rod September 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm

I wish I had one of these Beutiful home’s It is So much beter then a ???? Doublewide

2 Gorio January 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Fours Square’s also make great B&B’s! I ahve one that was built in the mid 20′s. Lots of space!

3 Sara K. January 31, 2010 at 12:03 am

I just bought a 1200 sf 4 square built in 1914 and ‘flipped’ this fall – gorgeous wood floors! Definitely much better than my single-wide.

4 C. J. March 22, 2010 at 12:34 am

Where can you find moder versions or new construction of these houses ? I think they are very sensible .

5 Josée May 17, 2010 at 10:12 am

Hello evrybody!
I try to find some images of interior design for a foursquare house. If you have any idea where I can get those kind of images, please right to me.
Tank you so much for the time you whill spent of sending those links.


6 Cleve August 22, 2010 at 11:01 am

It’s amazing how they engineered those houses to have such large rooms on such a small footprint !

7 Jennifer November 30, 2010 at 4:20 pm

We just recently bought this exact house, built in 1910, and we LOVE it! The rooms in this house are huge…….especially the master bedroom and the higher ceilings make it a beautiful home.

8 debbie damore January 3, 2011 at 7:52 pm

i have a buyer who is looking for this style home. is there a particular area in suffolk county long island ny where i could begin a search for the american foursquare home?

9 Patricia Poore January 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

TO Debbie Damore re Foursquare houses: You’re looking for middle-class to upper-middle-class neighborhoods built between 1895 and the 1930s, common to many Suffolk County cities/early suburbs and towns. –Patricia Poore, Editor

10 Susan November 6, 2013 at 10:28 pm

We purchased our 1928 foursquare about 3 yrs ago. Since that time I have tried to refurbish as I can. Most of the house is original, bones are good but plaster work needs done, nasty wall to wall carpeting needs pulled up and the hard woods floors reclaimed. :)

11 Larry December 31, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I grew up in one of these in small town midwest. Built in 1912 for a great aunt by her new husband. Beautiful wood floors downstairs, 3 bedrooms up with a sleeping porch, a full basement and an attic, surrounded by linden trees. Mother inherited, but soon after, dad died and she had to go to work on the local telephone switchboard. Heat was hot water radiators and heating could be expensive, cold days you tried to find a radiator to sit on. I now live down the street in a story and a half mission bungalow but still have the original blueprints and book of specifications for the foursquare.

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