Take a moment and picture your dream home in your head. What does it look like? Is there a wrap-around porch with a swing? Are there turrets or columns? Is it made of bricks or logs or concrete? Does it hark back to a particular period in time, or does it mimic the style of a favorite region? There are dozens of home architectural styles to choose from, so if you’re building your own home, take some time to explore your options. Today we’re going to look at some of the most common home architectural styles in North America, from colonials and Victorians to log homes and cottages.
Home Architectural Styles
RANCH. If you’re American, you’re probably very familiar with ranch homes. Practical and modest, ranch homes are either single-floor or split-level and they usually include an attached garage and a pitched roof. Ranch homes tend to be long and short, and they don’t have a lot of ornamentation.
CRAFTSMAN. Craftsman homes have recently gained a big following. They use natural materials like stone, stucco, brick, and wood, and they often have large porches, open floor plans, exposed beams, and cozy fireplaces. Their natural elements and simplicity appeal to today’s consumer.
COLONIAL. There are several different types of colonial homes: Georgian Colonial, Dutch Colonial, Federal Colonial, etc., but most are symmetrical, formal, and include shuttered windows, dormer windows, columns, and chimneys.
VICTORIAN. If you like romantic details, a Victorian home should be right up your alley. Lovely but complicated, Victorian homes typically include elaborate trimming, large porches, curved towers, and complex rooflines.
COTTAGE. Charming and small, cottages hark back to European peasant farmers in the Middle Ages. Typically made of wood or stone, these modest homes often have a curved entryway and work well in rural areas.
FEDERAL. Like many of these home architectural styles, Federal-style architecture has a long history that dates back to the 1700s. They often feature elliptical windows, delicate decorative details, Palladian windows, and rectangular structures.
MID-CENTURY MODERN. If you like straight lines, large windows, and flat planes, you might enjoy the simplicity of mid-century modern architecture, which was most popular between 1933 and 1965.
GREEK REVIVAL. Want your home to mimic the stateliness and history of the Parthenon? Consider Greek Revival architecture, which features tall columns, pediments, and embellished moldings.
MEDITERRANEAN. If you’ve always dreamed of owning a home on the Mediterranean Sea, bring that style to your neighborhood using red tile roofs, arches, plaster, porticos, balconies, and beautiful tiles.
MODERN. Modern architecture refers to a specific art movement that began more than 50 years ago. It does not refer to current, present-day architecture (which we call contemporary). Modern architecture typically includes open floor plans, geometric shapes, and an emphasis on the function of the space.
LOG HOME. Originating in the 1600s, log homes have morphed from simple one-room abodes into gorgeous and cozy homes. Their log siding is distinctive and they work especially well in rural, mountainous regions.
TUDOR. This old English architecture is one of the most recognizable home architectural styles. It featured multi-gabled roofs, half-timber framing, stone chimneys, rounded doorways, and steeply pitched roofs.
CAPE COD. Based on British cottages, Cape Cod style homes typically have steep roofs, large chimneys, dormer windows, clapboard siding, and cedar shingles. Although they have a long history, most American Cape Cods were built post-WWII.
NEOCLASSICAL. If you want to take after Thomas Jefferson and live in your very own Monticello, try building a home in the neoclassical style. Formal, symmetrical, and elaborate, neoclassical architecture often includes tall columns, roof-line balustrades, and evenly-spaced windows.
There are many other home architectural styles that we didn’t get a chance to touch on—Prairie School, California bungalow, Queen Anne, etc.—but I hope that in browsing the variety of styles available, you’ve begun to figure out what it is you’re looking for. Although most of the homes you see on a day-to-day basis are quite similar, when you’re building your own home, you can choose whichever style you like. So take advantage of that freedom and browse through all of the home architectural styles available to you. Whether you’ve always wanted to live like a king or a hobbit, now is the time to make your dream come true!
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