Chisel & Mouse

Chisel & Mouse

London, GB


Townhouse architecture and an exploration of different styles

By David Seen
Nov 27, '20 2:54 PM EST
397 Bleecker Street and Columbia Heights Models by Chisel & Mouse
397 Bleecker Street and Columbia Heights Models by Chisel & Mouse

The classic townhouse, with its air of nobility, speaks of a gentrified past. Spanning many periods, in a range of architectural styles, townhouse design has maintained several constant features: a tall and narrow structure, with three or more storeys, that traditionally forms part of a terraced row. 

The origins of the townhouse can be found in the Place des Vosges in Paris. Built between 1605–1612, it is the city's oldest planned square, and was originally home to Paris's aristocracy. In London, the English architect Inigo Jones designed the Covent Garden Piazza in 1630. This residential square, with its church and three fine rows of terraces, was the first of its type in the city. As a place of residence, the townhouse was ideal for wealthy families, and its blueprint spread to other regions and countries. Significant examples include: the brownstones of Manhattan and Brooklyn, San Francisco's Victoriana homes, the Georgian terraces of Glasgow and Bath, and Amsterdam's canal houses.

Exploring a number of different styles, model makers Chisel & Mouse capture a history of townhouse architecture. With the meticulously crafted facade of each notable townhouse dwelling, Chisel & Mouse reveal aspects of a period in time that engage the observer's imagination.

Exploring townhouse architectural styles

A hip street in New York City's West Village, Bleecker Street is home to number 397. This historic, late Victorian brownstone townhouse, a perfect example of the era, was built in 1899 (its architect is unknown). Lovingly restored, 397 Bleecker Street has four storeys, including a ground floor boutique shop front, and access to the private and tranquil Bleecker Street Gardens. Brooklyn's upscale and elegant Columbia Heights is home to a row of impeccable Italianate brownstones, built circa 1900. Chisel & Mouse have created an architectural model of one of these much-loved properties. Columbia Heights is part of the Brooklyn Heights Historic District. Designated a national historic landmark in 1965, the district preserves the essence of a 19th century urban streetscape.

San Francisco's Steiner Street was built by the developer Matthew Kavanaugh in the 1890's. With its row of charming and colourful Victoriana homes, Steiner Street has appeared on many tourist postcards, and is affectionately referred to as 'Postcard Row'. The houses on Steiner Street are also known as the 'Painted Ladies of San Francisco', owing to their brightly coloured facades. In 1963, the San Francisco artist Butch Kardum and a band of 'colourists' began transforming the dull facades of many of the city's Victoriana homes: Steiner Street/'Postcard Row'/the 'Painted Ladies' is the best known example of this. The Chisel & Mouse architectural model captures the spirit of a home on 'Postcard Row', with its ornamental front-facing gable, decorative features, elevated front porch, and noteworthy asymmetry.

Charlotte Square is a grand plaza in Edinburgh's neoclassical New Town (designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Designed by the Scottish architect Robert Adam and completed in 1820, Charlotte Square attracted many of Edinburgh's elite and wealthy denizens. The north side of the square is considered a masterpiece of Georgian urban architecture. Here, you will find Bute House (No. 6), the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland. Several doors away, No. 9 Charlotte Square is an outstanding example of Georgian design. The Chisel & Mouse architectural model of No. 9 represents the epitome of Georgian elegance and refinement.

Great Pulteney Street in Bath, with its imposing Georgian townhouses, is considered the city's grandest thoroughfare. Completed in 1789, the street was commissioned by Sir William Pulteney (an English politician and property developer), and designed by architect Thomas Baldwin. In the market town of Arundel in West Sussex, England, The Townhouse Arundel is a Grade II listed Regency building that overlooks Arundel Castle. Built around the 1800s, it was designed by the architect W. Heveningham. Today, The Townhouse Arundel is a quaint Bed & Breakfast establishment.

Herengracht 168 in Amsterdam is a one of an impressive series of canal houses built on the city's Herengracht canal. Completed in 1638, the five-storey canal house was designed by Dutch architect Philip Vingboons, the creator of a style of building facade known as 'Halsgevel': uniquely Dutch, it denotes a building with a 'neck front' or cervical facade. Today, Herengracht 168 is a UNESCO World Heritage listed property.

About Chisel & Mouse:

Chisel & Mouse celebrate the beauty of our industrialised world, combining an artisan’s approach with modern innovation and transformative technologies, capturing life and its big ideas in miniature. Brothers Robert and Gavin Paisley have been casting and handcrafting exact physical representations of architectural landmarks and cityscapes since 2011. With dexterity, artistry, a keen eye for detail and patience, Chisel & Mouse, create finely balanced architectural sculptures of iconic buildings and cityscapes.

The brand’s punctilious edit of over 70 famous buildings includes the modernist Bauhaus Dessau by Walter Gropius and the art nouveau Helsinki Central Station by Gottlieb Eliel Saarinen. A number of limited edition models and miniature minis complete the handmade (signed and dated) collection. In a 1:5000 series of cityscapes, Chisel & Mouse present a captivating set of physical maps, created using satellite data, 3D printing and traditional moulding and plaster casting. In addition, a coloured series of maps, ‘Blue River’, highlight a city’s waterways.

Finally, a bespoke service from Chisel & Mouse is the perfect solution for people who desire architectural models of a celebrated building, a private residence or a much loved city.  @chiselandmouse #chiselandmouse