In the 19th century, I-House architecture was common throughout the Midwest and South; its simple style proved popular with prosperous farmers. Two theories exist about how this style got its name: one is that it was named by folk architecture expert Fred Kniffen for three states where it was most common: Indiana, Illinois and Iowa.
Another idea is that the name came from the floor plan, which includes a main block two stories high but only one room deep, so that from the side, the house is tall and slender. One variant is called the plantation-plain style, with a long porch across the front and a shed-roofed extension across the rear. In this way, upstairs rooms had ventilation on three sides, necessary in an old southern house.
The Claiborne Kinnard House in Franklin, Tenn., is one of the best local examples of this style, which, of course, has been added onto over the years. A large 5,700 square feet today, the house was built in 1850. Now it is for sale asking $5.9 million, which includes 31 acres of land as well as a restored 1790 log cabin used as a guest house. Listing agent is Carl Wallace at McArthur Sanders Real Estate.
Back in 1850, local farmer Claiborne Kinnard completed building his home, a two-story frame with end fireplaces. Large parlors with high ceilings flank the entrance hall. The house was then remodeled in 1898, adding the porches. What’s interesting is that the house was home to several generations of Kinnards, one of whom was a noted WWII fighter jet pilot.
The current owners have meticulously restored the five-bedroom structure, and all the hardwood floors, millwork, doors (including pocket doors), transoms, and so on have been carefully maintained. There are seven working fireplaces, but the place also includes the best of modern technology, including new wiring, plumbing and environmentally friendly solar power and geothermal heating and cooling.
Outside, wraparound porches and old stone patios and garden features make the best of the mature gardens and trees, along with rolling green pastures ready for horses.
Inside, features such as the old Anaglypta (linoleum-like wallpaper for heavy use by a staircase), ancient bath fixtures, and old built-ins have been retained, ensuring the house keeps its old charm. Yet the kitchen, while keeping original cabinetry, has been remodeled with modern conveniences.
The same is true of the 760 square foot log cabin, which includes a living area, bedroom and bath. It could be used as a home office or art studio instead of a guest cottage.