by Michael R. Allen
Suburban place-making can be difficult when builders rely on the build-by-the-material approach through which home designs are derived from dimensions of common materials. That’s why we see so many woefully under-fenestrated tract houses, with wide rear faces of tiny white vinyl windows amid siding that seem to defeat the point of suburban life. Why face the back of the house onto an expansive view and then put puny little windows on that side?
I digress. I was meandering from a job at Scott Air Force Base to lunch in Belleville when I spotted this new house — workers seemed to be applying finishing touches — on Indian Ridge right off of Main Street in Shiloh, Illinois. By and large the houses in Indian Ridge showed modest originality, especially in chimney design. For one thing, the chimneys here are all brick — not vinyl-covered boxes of questionable fireproofing or graceless exposed sheet metal stacks. No, here the chimneys are solid masonry, and one really makes the most of that fact.
Check it out — a turned chimney in buff brick, with a more traditional cousin behind. the cap is even brick around a genuine clay pot. Should it be said that the suburbs are architecturally lifeless, remove this little house in Shiloh from the observation.