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Captain Spencer S. Wood House (Westwood)

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Westwood
1917; later ell. 16 Westwood Rd.

This short dead-end street boasts two examples of early-twentieth-century cottage design popularized in catalogs and periodicals. First is a cottage built for a Washington, D.C., resident, who chose for her summer house one of Sears, Roebucks' larger “precut” models known as the Aladdin. It is high and boxy, covered by a single gable with clipped corners at either end and an appended room-sized porch along one side. Diamond-shaped panes enliven its casement windows in the seventeenth-century colonial manner (out of medieval tradition), and the upper sash of most of its double-hung windows in the Queen Anne Revival manner (some of these have been replaced). Next door is a luxurious shingled bungalow with square-timbered porch supports and a long shed dormer, built for a navy captain (eventually rear admiral). The plans derive from Gustav Stickley's The Craftsman, the leading organ of the early twentieth-century Arts and Crafts Movement. Its most remarkable exterior feature is the exposed field-stone chimney at the far end of the cottage. A gentle, tapering curve as sharp-edged and close-packed as field-stone defines the sea edge of the chimney breast, then swells out in a rippled plane, leaving the other edge irregular and loose-packed, as though a mini-cosmic force had come down on this object, of all others, to demonstrate its capacity to leave order in chaos. And out of this rocky foundation, at the second story, pops a conventionally rectangular brick chimney—disconcertingly, although other bungalow chimneys of the time display these two materials, favored by the Craftsman style, in just such startling juxtaposition.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.

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