Spin Me a Spindle!

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Spindles add whimsy to wooden houses in the South Slope, Fort Greene, Greenwood Heights and Clinton Hill

Spindles = Instant Gingerbread! We’re in love with many things about today’s featured house at 223 Washington Avenue, but the small architectural details on its facade truly make the house special. The small covered entranceway is decorated with a ribbon of beautiful spindle work, giving it an added layer of pure whimsy. The ornamental use of spindles along porches and railings became popular during the Victorian era and was found in homes designed in the Eastlake and Queen Anne styles.


Though 223 Washington Avenue dates back to the 1850s, the spindles were a later addition, added when the house was “modernized” several decades after its construction. If you’re interested in doing just the opposite (i.e. bringing your house back a century), you can pick up some spindles at Olde Good Things, Demolition Depot, or any number of architectural salvage places in and around the city.

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Olde Good Things is a treasure trove of salvaged spindles

Spindles were historially — and still are — used on stairways, doorways, and outdoor railings. Notice some especially interesting spindles on a wooden house on your block? Let us know!