Delmar has a hodgepodge of house types but one type that is predominate in East Delmar, generally east of 5th street is the American Four Square. These homes are the epitome of the classic All-American older home and Delmar is fortunate to have so many fine remaining examples. In the past, some people have referred to these houses as “boxy.” But a more thorough observation today reveals a carefully balanced, almost Zen-like refinement to their “simple” design. Certainly among two-story houses, the Four-Square was the most popular house of its day
Since the section of Delmar East of 5th street was developed in the first quarter of the 1900's that is where these houses flourish. The Four square was a popular design from the 1890's to the 1930's.
Most Four-Squares contain two and a half stories, making full use of narrow city lots. They frequently contain a large hip-roof front dormer illuminating an unfinished attic. The house roofs are almost always pyramidal, with the four equal slopes coming to a point in the center. A Four-Square house is square. The height of the front facade should be the same as its width. In its purest form, all four sides of the house are of equal dimension, forming a perfect cube.
Despite the style’s emphasis on geometrical regularity, the window and door treatment of the front first story is seldom symmetrical. The front door is usually placed off to the side to allow for the large living room window(s). Second story window placement is however nearly always symmetrical with two equal bedroom windows found on each side. Frequently if there is an attic dormer it is usually placed exactly in the center of the house span (but not always).
The interior plans of Four-Squares are as regular as the exteriors. Four square rooms were placed on the first floor and four on the second. Each room therefore became a corner room with two cross-ventilating windows found on the two outside walls. This was no small consideration in the days before air conditioning (or even electric fans). Usually with a four room plan, there were two on either side of a central staircase.