Dictionary of 14 Home Architectural Styles

One thing that totally intimidated me when I first got into real estate was learning the names of the different styles of homes (ie: craftsman, colonial, ranch, etc) and which builders had built the different subdivisions in my town. “I’m looking for a craftsman” or “Who built these?” were dreaded statements for me until I learned. In todays blog I am not going to share with you the builders from my local area, but I WILL give you a dictionary of 14 homestyles! Check it out!

Art Deco: This style is influenced by Hollywood circa 1930s, Egyptian elements and Miami beach tropical. Rounded corners, flat rooftops and smooth stucco are common in the architecture of art deco home exteriors.

Cape Cod: First built in the 1600s, the key visual elements in these homes are dormer windows (usually 2 or 3 of them) atop the cedar shingle, steep roof.

Craftsman: Wide front porches, low-pitched roof, wood, stone and brick are all typical in a craftsman style home. Inside there are built-ins, an open floor plan, big fireplaces and exposed beams.

Colonial: This is another architectural style born in the 1600s. It is known for its symmetry, evenly spaced shuttered windows, dormers, columns, and a formal style.

Cottage: Inspired by the small homes European peasants lived in in the Middle Ages, the Cottage style is typically found in a smaller home made of stone or wood siding with brick walkways and a curved entryway. Bright colored exterior paint is often used on this style of home.

Farmhouse: This style of home is inspired by exactly what the name says: by homes built on rural, farmland. Often these farmhouses were built in a Victorian or Colonial style but built with agrarian needs in mind: transitional spaces like huge porches, wood floors that could get dirty. The homes were more informal and built with needs in mind rather than 100% show.

Mid-Century Modern: This style is characterized by flat planes, large glass windows, open spaces, and the incorporation of metal alongside brick and wood.

Mediterranean: This style became popular in the US in the first half of the twentieth century. Red tile roofs, arches and plaster surfaces are the key features in this style. More modern Mediterranean styles have also incorporated ornate wrought iron balconies, heavy wooden doors and multicolored tiles on floors and other surfaces such as fireplace surrounds or backsplashes.

Modern: Not to be confused with contemporary, the modern style of architecture was inspired by the historical art movement of modernism and now, classic examples of modern architecture are more than 50 years old! Clean, geometric lines and the focus on function over form are key elements in this design. Open living spaces are also key.

Oriental: Rooted in Chinese architecture, this style is characterized by curved roofs that go beyond the exterior wall and pagoda-like decorative wooden features. The landscaping plays a huge role in this style of architecture and almost always includes Japanese Maples, dry creek beds, curved bridges, decorative screens and stone sculptures.

Ranch: Originally, when first built in the 1930’s, ranch homes were designed to resemble rural Western ranches. Ranch style homes have attached garages, open floor plans and easy access to the outdoors.

Tudor: This style originated in England and were commonly built in the first half of the twentieth century in the US. It’s recognizable style includes steep, pitched roofs, multiple gables,the use of brick and decorative half timber framing.

Spanish: This style is a combination of European design and Native American influence and is comprised of clay roof tiles, arched corridors, porches, square pillars, bell towers, and the use of stone and stucco in pueblo colors.

Victorian: There are a lot of sub-styles in the Victorian category, but generally Victorian style is characterized by steep roofs, ornate trim, large porches, asymmetrical shape, and multi-faceted rooflines.

Thank you to DIY Network’s post “26 Popular Architectural Home Styles” and Google images labeled for reuse for the help in making this post possible!

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