Unlike Queen Anne, Capitol Hill or other areas where you can still find grand, stately homes, Maple Leaf is more of a working-class neighborhood. Houses here tend to be modest one- or two-storied Tudors and American Craftsman styles that would be considered too small by contemporary standards. To get a second bathroom, people have to add on a dormer or, more likely these days, tear down the original and build a new larger house.
As a Maple Leaf resident for more than 30 years, I’ve seen many changes, but most of them have happened in the past decade or so. When a new house started going up last spring just a block away, I realized I couldn’t remember exactly what the house that it replaced looked like . . . probably just another small Craftsman that had been there for a century (our own Craftsman is nearly that old).
Whenever I travel, everything seems exotic, even ordinary homes, yet the houses in my own neighborhood seem too familiar to sketch. But suddenly I was saddened that I couldn’t even recall the house that had been torn down – one I had passed nearly every day.
During the past spring and summer, I decided to spend much of my sketching time walking around in my own ‘hood to observe the different kinds of architecture and generally appreciate the older houses I take for granted. In fact, the presence of small, older houses is a big reason we chose to live here, and I wanted to preserve them in my sketchbook before more are torn down. You can see the whole series on my personal blog. Shown here are some of my favorites. The last one is the new house (still under construction six months later; please note the size of the houses next to it).