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Mary, Your house is BEAUTIFUL!  Wow!

Donita, Did you paint your house the color it is now?  I remember seeing an older picture where it was darker?  IMO, a charcoal grey base with white trim would look cool on yours.
I was in Fairfield IA and I stopped and snapped pics of Donita's house.  Pictures don't give you an idea of just how TALL this house is!  It's pretty daunting from the sidewalk.


Donald Mitchell
Beautiful house, Mary! I know your in paradise there. Heres the illustration below of # 37.
 Great photos of Donita`s beautiful home, Steve. I want a carriage house so bad! 

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 Thanks Steve for the great photos of our house.  Sorry we missed you. If you look to the right of our house you can see Rena's home.  It too is a beauty and one year older than ours.  Our carriage house is 25 years older than the house.  I like the pictures because it hides how much we need a paint job.  We are experimenting with "Gooseberry" on the new newel post on front steps.  The new shingles (after taking off 3 old layers) on house and carriage house has been our biggest project so far.  Three chimneys were dismantled and rebuilt and a new boiler.  "Money Pit" movie is so true.  Donita  

Here's Rena's house.  I zoomed to it while snapping pics from the corner.

Thank you, Steve.

The house was designed by architect, Charles Austin Dunham, between 1894-1904 -- we're still researching the exact date since opinions vary. Charles Dunham designed many courthouses, schools, churches, opera houses, etc.

Here is a picture from Geo. Barber's New Model Dwellings, c. 1896 edition.  Comparing it to Steve's pic, mostly, it has a few similarities to our house.  Maybe C. Dunham used Barber's design as a base. 

Geo. Barber design 76B

Designed by Charles Dunham, adusted from Barbers design, perhaps

Barber's plan for 76B

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Here is a link directly to Mary's house Design 37


Merrymeeting Archives LLC


Donald Mitchell

Wow, Rena you also have a beauty! This is the first time I have seen it and I must say It is gorgeous! Did you have to do a lot of work or was it in good condition when you got it. Everything looks meticulusly maintained. Thanks for sharing the photos. Donnie

Scott Anderson
This house belonged to my great grand father Thorbjorn Anderson and I believe it could be a George Barber home. It is located in Milan, MN. I believe that all pictures were taken around 1910, the child with the bottle is my great aunt Hortense who was born in 1908 inside pictures. Unfortunately the house was drastically remodeled in the 1950's and only the first floor remains.
The house was an 11 bedroom, red brick and granite structure. By far the most luxurious home in the area. An interesting aside; if you look close through the open door behind Hortense you see the reflection of the photographer.


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Alissa Gutierrez
Thanks for sharing Scott. What a beautiful house it was! I can't help noticing that over the years, most of the amazing Barber homes I've seen are on corner lots! I don't remember reading that Barber himself recommended this, but most of the grand ones I've seen are all on corner lots.
I love the indoor ferns of that era. It looks as if they also have a Norfolk pine. Nice interior details!

Rena Goff
Merrymeeting Archives LLC

Scott Anderson

I am almost ashamed to post this picture as it is what is left of my great grandfather's house in Milan. But from it you can see the colors of the brick and granite. jpeg

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Alissa Gutierrez
I am speechless! Was there a fire, or some other catastrophe that required the top two floors to be removed? I just can't imagine why someone would want to get rid of all that square footage, let alone valuable woodwork, etc.
Scott Anderson

From what I can gather the house went to one of the sons after My great grandmother died in 1952. My great grandfather was quite a pioneer emigrant from Norway and looked after his family well but he died in 1933 and with the economy as it was and the depression, my great grandmother could not maintain the house in proper repair. When she died the roof was in such bad shape that it had to be completely replaced and Norwegians are known for being extremely practical to a fault. He did not need 11 bedrooms plus parlors etc and so he removed the upper floors and kept only what he needed for his to live in. Many of the fireplaces were salvaged and went to family but it is still a heartbreak to know what once was.

Alissa Gutierrez
Hi All,
For many years, we've been trying to find the George Barber house (listed in Merrymeeting's George Barber photo e-book) in Bradenton, Fl. It says it was built by Joe Lambert. We've never been able to find that name associated with an historic home, or any "Barberish" looking Victorians in Bradenton.

Just north of Bradenton, (right over a bridge) is the town of Palmetto, which has a street of Victorian homes. One of the grandest was recently relocated via barge, on the Manatee river. The mansion was built by members of the J.A. Lamb family. I can't help but wonder if this is the Barber house mentioned in the above guide? I've attached photos of the home, as it was moved via barge. The third floor windows look like ones I've seen on George Barber homes.

Does it look like a George Barber design to anyone?

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Wow! thank you for taking these pictures! A historic moment!

It looks new, it is in such good shape.

I looked for the Bradenton Barber -- With all the development in Bradenton, we had to conclude after searching, that it had been destroyed.

Does anyone know?

What amazing pictures.  With the Iowa rivers so high right now maybe we could move our Fairfield Barber home to our River lot 20 miles south.  I can't imagine how nerve racking this undertaking would be.   Thanks Alissa.

Mark and Donita pointed out to me that the Brehaut house (Geo. Barber design) is for sale -- but the architect is listed as Charles S. Schaner.  --but we know better -- maybe Schaner based his design on a Barber house and slapped his name on it -- or it could have been a typo in the ad. See the real estate ad here:


* * * * HAPPY BIRTHDAY DONITA!! * * * *
Donald Mitchell

Ottawa Ill fixer upper.

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Good catch!  I suppose it could need more than paint.  

The chimney is in the same style as the Barber house in Iowa City, Iowa, and another in Texas (town name escapes me!)

There was a Barber house in Elmvale / Springwater area North of Toronto, if you are in the area.  It isn't confirmed if it still exists: it was originally built for Francis E. Shaw.




Hi Donnie,

In answer to your post from June 8 2008:

This house was completely renovated when we bought it (see pictures 6-8-2008) 

In Maine, we renovated a modest "Greek Revival-updated-to-Victorian" house for 7 years [now for sale -- the 1865 original inspiration for this website...] but then we were galvanized by the idea of a FINISHED HOUSE!

This new house, designed by Charles Dunham, and perhaps somewhat cribbed from Geo. Barber, is a great inspiration for http://www.housemouse.net since we are reminded daily of George Barber's fine building next door, and other gorgeous houses in a 360 degree radius.

Thank you for posting!!

Rena Goff, manager
Merrymeeting Archives LLC


jane minton

Here are two photos of my grandparents' Barber house (now mine) completed in 1905.  The old photo is from about 1910.  The newer one is 1994.  It looks pretty much the same today -- perhaps better. I recently replaced the roof and built-in copper guttering (a BIG deal).  I have the original blueprints and many of the order forms for the house and carriage house. The Barber architects in Knoxville were kind enough to confirm that it is, indeed, a Barber house.

I love my house! My son is the fifth generation to sleep there!

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Donald Mitchell
Rena, thats no fair, buying an old house thats already renovated!

Jane what a lovley home, And staying in the family for all those years! Would love to see the original prints and forms. We keep hoping to find the ones for our house. A friend said they have been found inside newel posts and under the stairs but I`m not ready to take mine apart yet.
jane minton
Thank you!  And, I neglected to say that it is thanks to Rena that I was able to confirm officially that mine is a Geo. Barber home.  She suggested that I contact the Barber & Barber Architects who still have a business in Knoxville.  I did just as she suggested and they responded immediately. What a nice surprise!
I wish there was some way I could share the plans!  There is a museum there (in Knoxville) and they would like to have the plans.  I would be more than happy to donate them but just have not done so yet. 
Again, thank you for your kind words. I've looked at the old picture a zillion times but didn't realize until I looked at it today that the second story center area had once been a balcony.  I'm now eager to restore it!
Good luck in finding your plans! Mine were in the attic.

I am visiting in the Santa Barbara, CA area this weekend and wondered if there are any Barber houses in this area?


To Don: giggle giggle       some prayers - and life is fair all of a sudden!    

Seriously, I'm becoming philosophical about renovating... maybe I'll write a book!  How about "stream of consciousness" house design and the concept of houses as metaphors to help improve your life.

...Okay, I'm back now!  Let me know if anyone would like to see that book!  Have you ever read "Home-Psych: The Social Psychology of Home..." by Joan Kron, 1983?  fun! 


Hi Barbara,

If you see any on your trip to Santa Barbara, please post, if you get a chance to.

There were 2 in Pasadena:
  • no address available (probably destroyed)
  • no address available (built for O. McHenry)
And possibly two in Los Angeles (unconfirmed):
  • 824 Kensington
  • 818 S. Bonnie Brae

They're around 6 hours away -- so perhaps they are too far, but that is the closest we have right now. 

Best Regards,

Rena Goff, manager
Merrymeeting Archives LLC


Hi Jane,

If you donate/sell the plans to Merrymeeting Archives LLC () or a museum, please preserve a copy of the plans for the house, to pass on to future owners -- future generations would appreciate it, and it could add value to your home.

We also have the original plans to our house. Have I promised yet to post them? I will try to post them this year.  We're writing a book on President Ulysses S. Grant -- who knew!? -- and I'll try to clear some time for posting the cribbed Barber house plans by Charles Dunham.

Best Regards,

Rena Goff, manager
Merrymeeting Archives LLC


That Ottawa IL house's turret/2nd floor balcony looks allot like ours in Fairfield, IA too.  But I don't like the way the turret round windows are so much different in size.  Ours are not the same but at least closer to the same size.   We spent Sunday painting test strips on our house North and West sides.(Rena do a walk by and see what you think)  Wow what a difference the sun makes on the cream trim we thought we wanted to use with the Renwick Heather. It looked nice in the shade but we may now have to switch to White Truffle(All Sherwin Williams).  Did you all know about the Sherwin Williams color program on the web.  Cool. You can paint a Victorian house over 1500 colors matching trim and accent and door colors to suit your mood for the day.   I'm thinking about having the Color People from Denver help us out and maybe save us from some costly mistakes with the painter.     

Alissa Gutierrez
Hi Rena,
I noticed this house for sale in Fairfield. Do you know if it's a Barber?

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It does not have the outside markings of a Barber, so I would say no. I toured the inside of this wonderful house 3 years ago. The interior was similar to a Barber (and other Victorian architects

Great bones to the interior of the house, and well-placed. There is a 6-car garage in the back, gracious front entrance, regal set-back from the street...

I heared that the house has been updated within the past 3 years. It did need work, it has great potential...

The house is for sale by owner.
Donald Mitchell

Alissa, and Rena, Something that was brought to my attention about identifying Barber homes is that for the most part used a 12"/12" pitch on the roof, which is very steep. The house in the photo looks less than that. This pracrtice may have changed around the turn of the century so I`m not 100% sure about it. Another point is in his hints to builders where he recomends the foundation be 3ft high, and most are. I`m enjoying our 3ft foundation as I`m now lying under our front porch digging new footings for peirs to support our new porch floor.


Bless your heart for doing your own digging for your porch, Donald........That can't be much fun.  We have found a painter for our 3 story GBarber QA.......Yippee.  Now if he just shows up.  Only able to do two sides a year.  Do you all know that Sherwin William now sells their Duration paint for $65. a gal.   Yikes!   Luckily I just landed a job at Benny Moore paint store and a perk is discounted paint.........Do I have a angel on my shoulder or what!!!   Rena, what is your wall color on your house?         

The house color is Benjamin Moore Monterey White:
OY  .ox   18.00
BK    ox    2.00
GY   ox   13.00


The blue/purple trim is Benjamin Moore Blue Pearl:

BK   .ox   18.00
BB    ox   23.00
MA   ox   27.00

I'll admit I don't know exactly what those letters mean: BK is black? BB is blue? GY is green and yellow? MA is magenta?  I'm happy you're working at Benjamin Moore now -- you can tell me what the letters symbolize.


We don't have the color names for the gold trim (on the tops of the columns) or the whiter trim around the windows, or what Susan, a previous owner, and now all of us, call the "Pepto-bismol" pink door.  We're also waiting to ask the last owner the names of the bluish-colored shingles. (Another neighbor stopped by and wanted to know when re-shingling their house.)


Donald Mitchell

Donita, With a house that big you should buy a paint store!   We are using oil base and its around $50 at BM . The cost and the work can become overwhelming on a large house like this, so I just take it one step at a time and it works out pretty good.


 Thanks Donald,  one step at a time, it is then.   Our boom truck arrived yesterday.............Work begins Monday by the carpenter on the south third floor fret work at the peak.............Pray for us all as neither the painter nor the carpenter or my husband knows how to run this thing.    I'm a mess but yet excited to get started.  Rena, you can watch the progress as you walk by. Thanks for the Monterey White name.     

Donald (Donnie)Mitchell
I dont know if anyone has brought this up here before, But if you hav`nt, please take the time to check out the artist Randy Souders artworks. There`s several Barber houses in the collection including Donitas aptly named "Field Goal". Beautiful works.

Wow what great pics......What happens if you want to buy them all?  That field goal def looks like a Geo Barber that is getting it's south side worked on this week............Thanks, Donald.         

John Laughlin

Here is a pic of the house we are going to buy and renovate.  We think it is a Barber house but cannot locate the plan in the plan books we bought.  Can anyone help?


John & Sherrie

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I bet it is a Barber, John and Sherri, cause of the window.  Go back and compare your round window to ours that Steve put on page 16 (June 08). Have fun on the project. Great house! Don't let it overwhelm you by trying to do to many projects all at once.  Like Donald, says one day at a time.............. 

John Laughlin
Thanks Donita.  Could you direct me to Steve's post.  I tried page 16 to no avail.  Maybe I'm just missing something.


John & Sherrie

Sorry John and Sherri,  the pictures of our house is post 204 dated 6/4/08.   Rena's beauty is next door  pictures on post 208 dated 6/6........ housemouse.net of course. Our house got a bath today.............Boom truck and power washer.  Wonder what our water bill be this month............Painter to start Tuesday. Exciting.

Donita,  How's the house painting coming along?  Do you have any new pics you can post or do you have to wait until I'm going through Fairfield again? lol

The Bradenton, FL Barber has been found! Merrymeeting's e-book correctly listed the owner, Joe Lambert, who contacted me this week!

His house is style No.20-F, but enlarged to No. 24-D from Modern Dwellings and is a Square Colonial. The house was originally built in 1903 for John A. Graham. Noted Barber expert, Professor Michael Alcorn, has visited the home.

The home is on 15th Street East, near the Manatee River. Joe has graciously invited us to drive by and I'll forward a photo when I get one.
John Calvin Owings11
sept. 19,08

I live in a custom Barber house built for my grandparents-John Calvin &

Elizabeth Owings. I know that it is custom because the plans and material

list still survive. The house is not built exactly as it was drawn but the

alterations were added on the prints. The house has remained in my family

since it was built and my children are the fourth generation to live there

(We are expecting the fifth generation in April 09). The house may be viewed

by going to John Calvin Owings on google. The pictures were taken in 1977

before total restoration was completed.
Good gosh that's a gorgeous house! I love the staircase and entry hall! Your family is very lucky indeed to have such a wonderful home! Thanks for sharing.

To view photos of the John Calvin Owings House, go to http://www.nationalregister.sc.gov/laurens/S10817730008/index.htm

Steve,  Our painter didn't show....didn't even call. And he had good references too........Bummers    So we just got started yesterday with a new guy.  No painting done yet.  Lots of prep to do. Pictures soon.....................

Donald Mitchell

John, seeing the paperwork would be an invaluable tool for documenting these houses. If you get a chance, please scan them for us.

Careen V
My dad owns a Bed and Breakfast in Keokuk, IA which is a George Barber home.  The blueprints are framed on the walls in the entry hall.  It is identical to one around/ near Portland OR.  There is also another Barber home in Keokuk, which happens to be across the street from the home Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) built for his mother. Keokuk is a fascinating town, architecturally, and my dad's B&B (The Grand Anne) is it's crown jewel.

 Donald, if you get around to doing the Barber catalog you mentioned, I would love to cooperate any way I can. 

Also, have you heard of the Sheila's Collectibles line of Barber home souvenirs.  Someone attached an image of their's somewhere above...there is also one of the Grand Anne.  There is a whole set of them at our bed and breakfast, and you can occasionally find them on ebay.

Picture of the Grand Anne (in and out) are available at http://www.bbonline.com/ia.  It is usually featured at the top of the page...just follow the links.

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