Home History and Facts

Popular Architectural Styles of Homes

Besides the budget and location, the right style and features of any home is a must-check for home buyers. If you consider buying a new home, you need to be acquainted with the popular architectural styles for homes. Here are some of them:

Popular Architectural Styles of Homes

Ranch

One of the most popular home styles, the ranch house can be found throughout the country. This modern house came into vogue during the 1950s and 60s due to the rise of automobiles. The ranch style was originally used for housing on, of course, ranches. Such houses usually had just one floor, and as a result could be quite extensive. They are often rectangular, L- or U- shaped and have a garage attached to them.

Modern

Modern homes feature geometric shapes, huge glass-block or plate-glass windows, flat roofs, smooth exterior, and large, bare fireplaces. They are also one of the most popular styles of American homes. This style originally started in the 1920s and became more popular in the 1950s to 60s. Modern houses can mostly be two to three stories or split-level and are built using high-quality materials such as steel, marble, stone and wood floors and panels.  Also more modern home typically use hardie board siding which you will want to check for as well.

Craftsman

Usually built with a combination of stone and wood, the Craftsman style emphasizes the beauty of hand-crafted natural materials. Its blending with nature is the reason behind that unique look. Most Craftsman style-homes are bungalows with low-pitched roofs and exposed rafters, beamed ceilings, and porches with huge piers.

The style was originally from England, inspired by their arts and crafts movement, and found its way to the US. As suggested by the name itself, the Craftsman style s the skill of the artists who built and designed them.

This particular housing style was made popular by the patronage of famous architect Gustav Stickley, who was also a well-known architect. He had a magazine by the name of “The Craftsman”, and described this particular architectural style in glowing terms. He noted how this style reflected the simplest form of a home, with no ornamentation. This resulted in a natural, unaffected character that blended well in just about any kind of landscape.

This style was also known as a California bungalow, a term used by architects Henry Mather Greene and Charles Sumner Greene. It features a low gabled roof, overhanging eaves, tapered columns, and large front porches. The materials here included stone, roughly-hewn wood, stucco, and anything else that one could get from nature.

Cottage

Cottages are petite homes with a style somewhat similar to the Craftsman, but its details are simpler and cheaper to build. It has a cozy feel to it and usually has a wide porch. The second floor is typically tucked in the attic.

Don’t be fooled by the depiction of a rustic, tiny cottage as is portrayed in many books and movies, though. There are several highly luxurious cottages all over America, with wealthy families using them as second homes or holiday retreats. Just because they follow a certain architectural style doesn’t mean that they represent a rough and minimal lifestyle.

Tudor

The Tudor home is notable for its steeply pitched, multi-gabled roofs. Having roots from English medieval styles, Tudors usually have large chimneys, ornamental frames, and exteriors made of stone, brick, stucco or slate. The style became popular in the suburbs during the late 1890s and came back to housing trends during the late 20th century.

Colonial

The Colonial style was inspired by European designs, as many colonists from Europe migrated to the US in the 1600s and brought their culture with them. You can easily recognize a Colonial home because it usually has a symmetrical design: there are two windows on both sides of the front door and five windows on top, with the middle one placed directly on top of the front door. This type of houses is often built of wood with a steep roof, generous porches, dormers, and shutters.

The bedrooms here are usually on the second floor, while the double-hung windows have several square panes, all of an equally small size. Elaborate cornices and central hallways are two attractive features here. Colonial Revival homes, as the modern style is referred to, often has white clapboard siding and have green or black shutters.

Creole

You’ll usually find the Creole Cottage style in the South. This style first came into being in the 18th century, within New Orleans. One distinguishing factor of these homes is the front wall, which forms a porch in the first story as well as a balcony for the second story.

You get full-length windows that open up to the upper balcony, with ironwork running across the upper story. This cottage style might be comprised of two or three stories, while hotel structures might take them even further. The design is symmetrical, with the front entrance right at the center on each floor.

The Creole Cottage, which is mostly found in the South, originated in New Orleans in the 1700s.  These two- and three-story homes are symmetrical in design with front entrances placed at the center.

Dutch Colonial

This is yet another American style, but it was first introduced by the Germans or Deutsch people who settled in Pennsylvania. This was around the 17th century, but the style is still appreciated today. Its hallmark is the gambrel roof, featuring flaring eaves that go over the porch area. This makes for an effect reminiscent of a regular barn.

This feature is not surprising, as the earliest Ditch Colonial homes were comprised of just one room. However, there were some additions made to the ends. This made for a very distinctive plan with a linear effect. The end walls are usually of stone here, which gives a nice cooling effect. There might also be a chimney on both ends, though just one is also acceptable.

The sash windows in such structures are double-hung, with wood casements that swing outwards. You may also expect a double doorway in the central Dutch style. Interestingly, the division of the double doorway is in a horizontal fashion, which was once handy for keeping out the livestock while welcoming in air and light.

Victorian

Victorian homes are known for their decorative and elaborate style, which includes those distinctive gingerbread trim, towers, turrets, and bays. A product of the first American Industrial Age, this style usually incorporates asymmetrical shapes; steep, gabled and intersecting roof lines; and large porches. A tower at one end gives a castle-like effect as well as a handy attic if required.

Farmhouse

Traditionally built in rural areas, the farmhouse architectural style focuses more on functionality than aesthetics. Its roof lines are simple and its windows are usually tall and narrow. Those with a taste for sitting outdoors will appreciate that this style has wide and inviting porches. These are inspired by many 19th century designs.

Cape Cod

Often used in single-story houses, the Cape Cod style has symmetrical window placements, a gabled roof, and a large center chimney. The style was largely incorporated in building houses after World War II. Earlier styles are usually shingled, while modern styles are formed with brick, stucco or clapboard.

In fact, some of the very first residential structures in the United States were in the Cape Cod style. These were usually one-story structures similar to cottages. This simply style caught on and because very popular in the suburbs.

Federal

The Federal was the first style of the newly-formed United States after the Colonial period and was based mostly on the English Arabesque style. It has a symmetrical facade with paneled doors, tall windows, decorated cornices, and dentil moldings. This type of house style can be found in almost every part of the country.

Going Further

If you’re interested in designing homes or are already working on such a career, you might want to have some reference on hand for all the different stylings that are popular today. One such work is titled “The Elements of Style: An Encyclopedia of Domestic Architectural Detail”, and is available in hardcover at the following link:

You’ll find that this book can give you several designing ideas when starting a new project. It will also help you stay true to the history of any particular style. There are photographs, illustrations, and several lines of text to give you an idea of any architectural style.

This work will also make an excellent gift to anyone with an interest in architectural design, restoration, furniture design, or remodeling. It’ll take the reader through 500 years of different architectural styles and their details. Even potential buyers, architects, restorers, and interior designers will find this book a very valuable guide.

Conclusion

As we can see above, popular architectural styles come in several types. When you’re thinking about buying, building, or renting a home, it might be handy to keep these in mind. Having a reference for the different styles will help in deciding which features you’re looking for. Any of these homes will make for great resident living, as long as you know what you want and the style that can help you achieve your dream life.

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