From high-end luxury homes to the most basic spec-built home, it seems that a traditionally designed house has to have at least one column based on designs from antiquity.

Around 2,500 years ago, the Greeks invented what have become known as the classical orders. These orders (Doric, Ionic and Corinthian) were adopted by the ancient Romans, who simplified the Doric to make their own order, the Tuscan. The Romans also combined the Ionic and Corinthian to form the Composite, or fifth classical order. Each order had a distinct meaning. A building designed using the Doric order would have been quite different in tone than a building designed in the Corinthian order.

Each order had a distinct meaning. A building designed using the Doric order would have been quite different in tone than a building designed in the Corinthian order. The same holds true today. While a grand palace may warrant the Corinthian order, Tuscan might be more appropriate for a small home.

What is a homeowner to make of this? Where would one use, say, a Doric in lieu of a Corinthian column? And are there rules for scale, proportion and detail? Here are some ideas to help you sort it out.

 

 

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