Popular Architectural Home Styles
Popular Architectural Home Styles – Cape Cod
The first Cape Cod homes were built in the 1600s. They were inspired by Britain’s thatched cottages, but built with steeper roofs and larger chimneys to withstand cold Northeastern winters. Windows flanking the front door, dormer windows up top and cedar shingles are also typical of the style. Most of today’s Cape Cods were built after World War II; they were the first style used in modestly priced housing developments.
Some folks consider contemporary and modern architecture to be essentially the same. However, contemporary refers to today’s building styles, which can vary in design and appearance. Both styles are similar in that they look to connect indoors and outdoors, but contemporary homes tend to emphasize energy efficiency, sustainable materials, lots of natural light and the use of recycled non-toxic materials.
Bungalow and Craftsman style homes were born out of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The emphasis is on natural materials — wood, stone and brick. Wide front porches and low-pitched roofs are typical. The interior’s open floor plan features built-in furniture, big fireplaces and exposed beams.
Popular Architectural Home Styles – Farmhouse
The term “farmhouse” doesn’t refer to style, but rather to location and function. They were originally built on rural land with an emphasis on an agrarian lifestyle. Many farmhouses were modeled after then-popular architectural styles, such as Victorian and Colonial. However, farmhouses were built for need rather than design, often featuring functional porches as a transitional space creating a much more informal and inviting exterior.
Inspired by estates of the French countryside, the provincial style came to America after World War I, bringing with it decorative appeal and romantic touches. Today’s newer suburban housing developments are incorporating the French provincial style with symmetrical proportions and steep roofs.
Built more out of a desire for ornamentation than functionality, the Italianate style is loosely modeled after the villas of Italy. Most of the homes were built between the mid-to-late 1800s. Decorative corbels, window cornices, doorways and porches can easily identify an Italianate home, as can rounded windows, columned entryways and rectangular windows.
Popular Architectural Home Styles -Mediterranean
Influenced by the area from which it’s named, this style became extremely popular in the US from 1918 to 1940. The homes were modeled after the hacienda style, with red tile roofs, arches and plaster surfaces. This style is very popular again and features a lot of the original design elements, including porticos, balconies and ornamental details such as heavy wooden doors and multicolored tiles.
Modern and contemporary styles tend to get confused. Modern architecture refers to design inspired by the historical art movement of modernism. Most classic examples of modern architecture are more than 50 years old, which makes it a little easier to tell a modern-style home from a contemporary-style home. Open living spaces, clean, geometric lines and function-over-form are key elements of the style.
First built in the 1930s, ranch homes were originally modeled after rural Western ranches. Ranch architecture bears a slight resemblance to the modern style with open floor plans and easy connections to the outdoors. Focused mainly on practicality, most ranch homes also feature an attached garage. Exterior details may vary, which allows for personalization. Single-floor and split-level floor plans live under the ranch style.
Popular Architectural Home Styles – Spanish
Settlers from the Mediterranean fused design from Europe and Native America with their own to create a variety of home styles. Mission revival is one of the most popular, inspired by the Spanish churches built by the missionaries in the early 20th century. They typically have clay roof tiles, arcaded porches, arched corridors, square pillars and bell towers, as well as quatrefoil windows that resemble flowers.
Originating in England, the Tudor style is one of the most recognizable home styles. Best known for steeply pitched, multi-gabled roofs and decorative half-timber framing, Tudors were mostly built in established neighborhoods during the first half of the 20th century. The steep-pitched roofs are perfect for rainy and snowy climates, which is why many of these homes can be found in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
Back in the 1600s when Colonial architecture originated, there were many variations of the style due to the diversity of early American settlers. Known for its symmetry, Colonial architecture is most often characterized by evenly spaced shuttered windows. Dormers, columns and chimneys are also evenly proportioned to complement the formal style.
Popular Architectural Home Styles – Federal Colonial
The Federal Colonial style, also know as the Adam style, is modeled after Roman classicism. Similar to the Georgian Colonial style, Federal Colonial style differs with the addition of wings off to each side of the original box shape and tends to have more decorative embellishments than other Colonial styles. Federal style homes are most often made of brick. The front facade screams wealth with its ornamentation, tall columns and grand curved steps that lead up to the entrance. An elliptical or fan-shaped window usually tops the door, with long rectangular windows placed symmetrically on both sides of the doorway.
With formal proportions and classic beauty, the Neoclassical style reflects architecture of Greece and Rome. In the early 20th century, government buildings and universities used the Neoclassical concept in their design. Homes built in this style clearly exude wealth. Symmetry, tall columns, elaborate doorways and evenly spaced windows are all key elements of the style. The most famous example is Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia.
Victorian architecture emerged between 1830 and 1910 under the reign of Queen Victoria and includes sub-styles such as Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque style and shingle style. Constructed more for beauty than functionality, Victorian homes tend to be more complex in design with ornate trim, bright colors, large porches, asymmetrical shape and multi-faceted rooflines.
The most common type of Colonial style is Georgian Colonial. Preceeding the Federal Colonial style, Georgian Colonial is much simpler in architecture. Like all Colonial styles, Georgian focuses on strict symmetry. It is typically a box shape and is adorned with windows, which are typically five across, and shutters. The style also features a paneled front door below a decorative crown, which is usually framed by simple, sometimes flattened, columns.