Red Italianate homeAppearance of Style
The Italianate style appeared in Porter County a few years after the Gothic Revival, gaining widespread acceptance in both rural and urban areas and in commercial and domestic architecture. Its extraordinary popularity lasted as late as the 1890s. Based on the domestic architecture of the Italian Renaissance, the Italianate style tended to emphasize the picturesque qualities of rural Italian villas, though as in the preceding styles, the American expression was quite distinct from its historical inspiration.

Key FeaturesWhite Italianate home
Important features of the domestic Italianate style are the wide, projecting eaves with ornate brackets and tall, narrow windows with round or segmental arch heads. The roof is usually hipped and has a low pitch. Italianate ornamentation was often applied to I-houses; other common house types are the four-over-four variety (square plan) and the L-plan house, sometimes with a tower. More elaborate Italianate houses may have a cupola, ornate window hood moldings, and quoins at the corners. Some homes were built with ornate wooden porches. Both brick and frame construction were used, with the less expensive frame construction prevailing after the economic panic of 1873.

Commercial Use
The Italianate style was immensely popular in late 19th century commercial buildings as well. Except in large cities, these were rectangular commercial blocks, two to three stories in height, with flat roofs and large storefront windows. Cast-iron vertical members supported the large glazed areas of the storefront. Italianate detail was found in the often elaborate cornices, round or segmental head upper-story windows and moldings, and sometimes in additional ornamentation, such as ashlar block veneer and quoins. While cornice detail and windows-hood moldings were first executed in wood and stone, they were later manufactured in pre-fabricated stamped metal. This allowed for lavish ornamentation at an economical price. Metal cornice and window hoods can be found on some Italianate homes as well.

The Italianate was one of the most popular styles in Porter County. Many fine examples remain in Valparaiso.