Kell House Architecture Alphabet – More H?!?

By Nadine McKown

Are you tired of the heat yet? While we can’t change the weather at whim and are actually glad to not have that responsibility (we’ll gladly point you to some literature pointing out those pitfalls), we do have a few suggestions for activities that might provide a welcome diversion. For those with slightly deeper pockets, the Prohibition Party on the Kell House grounds coming up on October 2nd is shaping up to be a fabulous affair with live music, a painter-in-residence, and a raffle that will net the winner $1,000. Join in and dress up! For those of you with smaller wallets, a window workshop coming up on September 25th on the Kell House grounds will provide expert instruction for DYI wooden window restoration. And just because it’ll be here before we know it, make plans to attend our usual Fall festivities, from family friendly programming such as the Mad Hatter Tea and the Jack O’Lantern Jubilee, to the more adult oriented Haunted Tours. We’ve got it all!



The Kell House Architecture Alphabet continues this week. Hang with letter ‘H’ for just a bit longer. This hold-over focuses on glass, ‘Hammered glass,’ to be exact. By definition it is translucent glass embossed on one side to resemble hammered metal. This is accomplished as the molten glass is poured onto a table and immediately rolled with a metal cylinder. Depending on the method, either the table was textured, or the roller. The Victorians were responsible for its introduction.

Its purpose is to provide not only a different and interesting surface, but also privacy. This type of glass is prevalent in especially bathrooms, such the hall bath upstairs. This was the bathroom for the Kell children, all seven of them.

Joseph was known to have locked himself into the bathroom in the morning on at least one occasion, turning the water on and escaping through this window to run to school, while his sisters were knocking on the door.


We won’t say the two incidents are connected, but Joseph was sent off to military school the next following week…

The term ‘Hammered’ resonates with the texture above, does it not? There are a wide variety of patterns used for this type of glass, including water glass and rough rolled.

On the right is the full view of the window in the hall bath. If you have ever heard of ‘Cathedral glass,’ that is translucent glass, whether colored or clear, but designed to allow light to transmit. The technical opposite is ‘Opalescent glass’ or glass with a milky appearance that in its true form does not transmit light.

Mama’s Hips


This week remains homed in with the letter ‘H,’ even though we debated whether to send this one packing as it may be easy enough to describe with words, but then trying to actually show it…that was a whole ‘nother thing! So, let us know what you think!

‘H’ stands for ‘Hipped’! In the case of the Kell House, that describes the roof line. A hipped roof is comprised of adjacent flat surfaces that slope upward from all sides of the perimeter of the building, requiring a hip rafter along each intersection of the inclined surfaces. If you picture a pyramid, with or without a ridge along the top, that’s it!

On the left is drone shot from 2010 and provides a rare view of the top of the house. Notice how the one gable (a triangular surface met on each side with pitched roof surfaces) is at the front of the house and every other roof surface slopes down toward the edge of the roof itself. Each of the dormers are hipped as well.


And then we got a little ambitious! The vocabulary was just too interesting to pass up…did we ever mention that we tend to geek out every now and then?…The Carriage House has a simple hipped roof with a ridge board at the top. If there were just a peak, it would be called a pyramidal roof.

The Kell House has what is essentially a cross-hipped roof, as it has an embellished ‘L’ shape. Each of the rafters that connect the corners with the ridge board are hip rafters, covered by hip capping or hip molding. The rafters that run all around the bottom of the roof are the principal rafters (the strong man at the bottom that all the rafters rest on); the common rafters run from the ridge to the principal rafter; and our favorite, jack rafters, which are the shorter rafters, and don’t run the full length between ridge and principal.


On the left is the view underneath the roof, looking directly down one of the hip rafters. The shorter rafters connecting to the hip are jack rafters, resting on the principal rafter at the bottom on the far end. The two posts supporting the hip and jack rafters are called struts. The long beams at the bottom are ceiling/floor joists.



The Kell House Museum is part of the Regional Museum Network Exhibit on display now through December 4th, 2021, at the Museum of Art at MSU (2 Eureka Circle). Go for a visit:

Hours are

Tuesday – Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays 5 p.m.- 7 p.m.,

& Saturdays 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission is free!


Artist Alert!


Guess who stopped by to pick up her canvas? We are thrilled to announce that Selena Mize will be the featured live painter during our upcoming Prohibition Dinner Party on the Kell House grounds. Not only do you get to watch her creative process, but you will also be able to bid on her painting to quite possibly take it home at the end of the evening!

Do you have your tickets yet? This long-table dinner under bistro lights will be held outside with plenty of space to breathe and allow for social distancing.

Saturday, October 2nd

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

There will be live music by the MSU Jazz Ensemble, live painting by Selena Mize, a photo booth, cash bar, and a reverse raffle. Your entry ticket automatically enters you for a chance at $1,000.

The ticket link is HERE.

Secure your seats now!

Have Windows, Will travel!


Do you have wooden windows? Learn how to do the work yourself. Here is your chance:

Hull Millwork will be on site at the Kell House Museum on

Saturday, September 25th

9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The workshop will include a presentation on window restoration, hands-on instruction, and a take-home packet for all participants. There will even be snacks!

Costs is only $10 per person!

Space is limited, so sign up now. The link is HERE !

Registration Deadline – Thursday, September 23rd!