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Architectural Styles

After a potential client contacts me about building them a custom home, we go thru several questions to determine what the homeowner is looking for in a new home. And one of the questions we always ask is what style house do you have in mind for your new custom home. Some people know exactly what style house they like (or they think they know). Some people have no idea about different house styles. See homes have become a commodity item like bread and milk. When you go to the store you don’t look for what brand milk you just look for whatever milk is on the shelf. In an attempt to educate the consumer about custom homes we have put together a list of 30 some different architectural styles spanning from the first houses built in the United States to the current time. By now means is this a comprehensive list, as that would be in the hundreds if you included all the permutations and revival styles. This list is a basic list of Architectural styles that you might come across. I have given a basic description of each style along with a photo or two. Please take a few minutes and peruse the list, you might find a style that you like but never knew what it was called. And the next time somebody ask what style of house is that, you can show off your new found knowledge.

From all of us at Craftsman Construction, please enjoy.

Art Deco

Art Deco buildings have a sleek, linear appearance with stylized, often geometric ornamentation. The primary façade of Art Deco buildings often feature a series of setbacks that create a stepped outline. Low-relief decorative panels can be found at entrances, around windows, along roof edges or as string courses. Art Deco buildings feature distinctive smooth finish building materials such as stucco, concrete block, glazed brick or mosaic tile. Decorative details can incorporate various artistic motifs to suit the building's function or the architect's desire. Chevrons, zigzags, and other geometrical motifs are common forms of ornament on Art Deco style buildings. Since the Art Deco style was seen as a rejection of historic precedents in its use of new construction technology, it was particularly suitable for the design of the 20th century's newly emerging building form, the skyscraper.

Art Deco Style 1925-1940 Art Deco Style 1925-1940

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Bungalow Style 1900 to 1935

Simple design, sparse decoration, and natural materials—these were the essential components of the Bungalow style. Bungalows always had front porches and a low sloping gable roof. The roof was a low-pitched gable with wide overhangs to shield the house from the sun. Exposed rafters usually extended out from the house, with their ends sometimes cut-to-profile for decorative purposes. Dormers, if present, tended to be in the front with a gable roof or occasionally a shed roof. Dormers, if they existed, usually had low shed roofs. Windows were most often double-hung with large, single panes of glass in each sash; occasionally the top sash had multiple panes. The windows were usually arranged as singles, grouped in pairs, or, for a prominent gable feature, arranged as a threesome. Window trim was always simple and flat wood. A front porch was an essential part of the bungalow design. Most had a unique supporting-post design, with short, square upper posts resting on massive piers or solid porch railings constructed of any one of a variety of materials, including stone, brick, concrete block, stucco, clapboard, or shingle. The piers, often used in place of posts, frequently began at ground level and extended without break up to the roofline of the porch. Often they tapered as they rose, thus accentuating their structural purpose. Front doors were usually wood paneled with a small multi-paned window in the top.

Bungalow Style 1900-1935 Bungalow Style 1900-1935

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Cape Code 1960 to 1850

The term “Cape Cod House” was used as early as 1800, in a comment by Yale College president Timothy Dwight on a visit to Cape Cod in Massachusetts. By 1740, these houses had been built throughout most of New England, and also on New York’s Long Island. By 1790 they had made their way into southern New York State. Homesteaders brought the Cape Cod house with them to central New York, to the area around Lake Erie, and by 1830 into Ohio and Michigan.

Traditionally Cape Cod homes have a symmetrical appearance and layout inside with a center hall and equal space on either side. Colonial Cape Cods featured a central chimney. Typically Cap Cod houses have steep pitched roofs with end gables. These houses were rectangular in mass, typically 1 to 1 1/2 stories tall. Dormers were often used. Multi light 6 over 6 windows were common. Wood clapboard and shingle siding is most common.

Cape Code 1960-1850 Cape Code 1960-1850

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Colonial 1700's

The Colonial home is one of the most popular styles of home in the United States. The Colonial style evolved from European influences, which started in the 1600s. Colonists settled primarily along the Eastern Seaboard and built homes that became the Colonial style. They started as two-story homes that feature one room on each floor and eventually grew into the stately, four-over-four, two-story homes most associated with the Colonial style. Four-over-four alludes to the style of four rooms on each floor of the home. There are many types of colonial homes, as these style homes were built throughout the 13 colonies. In New England these houses were built primarily from wood. In Virginia and Maryland and throughout the Carolinas they used stone and brick much more extensively. Typical details for this style home were steep roofs, small leaded glass windows, and a massive central chimney.

Colonial 1700's Colonial 1700's

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Contemporary 1950 to 1970

Contemporary-Modern House Plans feature open, flexible floor space, minimalist decorative elements, and extensive use of modern or "industrial" mixed materials throughout the home. Stripped down, sleek, and elegant Contemporary house plans are a departure from traditional architecture and have been a favorite style in architect-designed homes since the 1950s. This style offers soaring ceilings and a simplicity that works well for both families and individuals. Contemporary floor plans also emphasize open, flexible spaces. Modern or "industrial" mixed materials such as concrete, vinyl, and glass are used extensively throughout the home. Contemporary homes typically include an irregular or unusually shaped frame, an open floor plan, oversized windows, and the use of repurposed components.

Contemporary 1950-1970 Contemporary 1950-1970

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Craftsman Style 1900 to 1930

Characteristics of the craftsman style homes: 1 to 2 stories tall, low pitched roofs, sometimes roof lines are very complex. Large overhanging eves. Exposed rafter tails and beams, sometimes with elaborate designs. Open floor plans. Dormers: shed, gable and hipped. Substantial covered porches. Handcrafted, built in cabinetry. Many built in features like bookcases, window seats and inglenooks. Craftsman-designed hardware, lighting, and tile work. What most distinguished the Craftsman home was its basic foundation that was predicated on a more functional aesthetic, natural materials, and a greater degree of craftsmanship, which Art & Crafts proponents believed to be missing from the more ornate or traditional styles of the period. Arts and Crafts architects and designers believed that a return to a simpler, less pretentious style would lead to a healthier, more comfortable and productive life.

Craftsman Style 1900-1930 Craftsman Style 1900-1930

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Creole

The typical rural French Creole house can be described as follows. Its most important features include: generous galleries, a broad spreading roofline, gallery roofs supported by light wooden colonnettes, placement of the principal rooms well above grade (sometimes a full story), a form of construction utilizing a heavy timber frame combined with an infill made of brick or a mixture of mud, moss and animal hair, multiple French doors, and French wraparound mantels. The previously mentioned timber frame incorporated French joinery i.e., angle braces that are extremely steep, running all the way from sill to plate.

The floor plans of Creole houses varied greatly in size. The plan always consisted of at least one range of rooms typically paralleled by a front gallery. This range included a nearly square parlor, with at least one narrow bedroom located next to it. Larger houses had from three to five rooms across the front. Sometimes, a second range of rooms stood behind the first. Most Creole houses had a rear cabinet/loggia range (a central open area flanked by a room at each corner) as well. The houses usually lacked hallways; instead, the rooms opened directly into each other.

Creole Creole

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Dutch Colonial 1890 to 1940

The most characteristic feature of the Dutch Colonial style is the gambrel roof—so much so, in fact that “gambrel” and “Dutch” have become synonymous. The legend goes that this low, sweeping roof, with its dormer windows, was the ingenious means by which the Dutch Colonists evaded the heavy tax on two story houses. And there is today a practical advantage over the two story house in saving of materials without the loss of space. The extraordinary flexibility of the style makes it possible for one to arrange the interior to suit his taste and still be assured of a harmonious exterior. One wing or two can be added without disturbing the gentle contour.

Typical Characteristics:1 1/2 to 2 stories tall. Clapboard or shingle siding, but sometimes with brick or stone. Typically symmetrical facades. Gable end chimney. Round windows in gable end. Porch under overhanging eves. 8 over 8 windows. Shed, hip or gable dormers. Columns for porches and entry way.

Dutch Colonial 1890-1940 Dutch Colonial 1890-1940

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Federal Style 1780 to 1820

Federal style typically came in the form of a simple box, two rooms deep, with doors and windows arranged in strict symmetry. However, creative floor plans with elliptical and round spaces were introduced during this period and the simple exterior box was often modified by projecting wings (particularly in high-style examples). In addition, there is a lightness and restrained delicacy to Federal architectural components. Federal architecture was a sign of urban prosperity. Examples stretch from Maine to Georgia.

Two-story, rectangular construction, Side gable or low-hipped roofs, Raised foundations, Semi-circular or elliptical fanlights over front entry, Elaborate door surrounds with decorative crowns or small entry porches (often elliptical or semicircular), Cornice emphasized with decorative molding (usually modillions – refined dentils), Double-hung sash windows (six over six) sash separated by thin wooden muttons, Windows arranged in symmetrical rows, usually five-ranked (less commonly three or seven), Northern preference for wood frame, clapboard siding; southern examples used brick construction, Louvered shutters. The interiors used creative floor plans with elliptical or rounded rooms with domed or arched ceilings. Curved open staircases that included classically decorated pediments and pilasters.

Federal Style 1780-1820 Federal Style 1780-1820

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French Provincial

This style of architecture comes from provinces in the 17th and 18th century France. A formal style 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 story house. These houses were modeled after French country manors. There are many distinctive characteristics for the French provincial style of architecture. The most notable sign, especially in American French Provincial home designs, is the tall second story windows, often arched at the top, that break through the cornice and rise above the eaves. Roof pitches are steep and normally hipped. Copper and slate are materials frequently used in accents, detailing, and roofing finishes. The front door is normally in the center of the homes design and the windows and chimneys are balanced in perfect symmetry on each side of the entrance. Other features include balcony and porch balustrades, rectangle doors set in arched openings, and French casement windows with shutters. Exteriors were typically brick.

French Provincial French Provincial

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Georgian 1700 to 1800

The Georgian style, identified by its symmetrical composition and formal, classical details, was the most prevalent style in the English colonies throughout the 18th century. It was the first architect-inspired style in America. The Georgian style arrived in America via British architectural building manuals called pattern books around 1700. A typical Georgian house is a stone or brick two-story building with a side-gabled roof and a symmetrical arrangement of windows and doors on the front façade. Usually 5 or openings across with a center door, the style also commonly features a pediment or crowned front entrance with flanking pilasters. Other commonly seen details are multi-paned sliding sash windows, often in a 6 light over 6 light pattern, a detailed cornice, and decorative quoins at the corners of the building. Smaller Georgian buildings might be only 3 openings across, and feature either a center door or side door. The side door version is called a "Two-thirds Georgian" since it follows the Georgian style but lacks two of the usual five bays across the front. This variant of the style, adapted to an urban setting, appears in row house or townhouse.

Georgian 1700-1800 Georgian 1700-1800

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Gothic Revival 1830 to 1860

The most commonly identifiable feature of the Gothic Revival style is the pointed arch, used for windows, doors, and decorative elements like porches, dormers, or roof gables. Other characteristic details include steeply pitched roofs and front facing gables with delicate wooden trim called verge boards or bargeboards. This distinctive wooden trim is often referred to as "gingerbread" and is the feature most associated with this style. Gothic Revival style buildings often have porches with decorative turned posts or slender columns, with flattened arches or side brackets connecting the posts.

Gothic Revival 1830-1860 Gothic Revival 1830-1860

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Greek Revival 1818 to 1850

Greek revival was the dominant style of architecture between 1830 and 1850. In New England many Greek revival houses can be found as well as up and down the eastern seaboard.

Typical Features of Greek Revival: Heavy entablature and cornices, Gable-front orientation common in northeast, Generally symmetrical façade, though entry is often to one side, Front door surrounded by narrow sidelights and rectangular transom, usually incorporated into more elaborate door surround, Windows typically six over six double-hung sash, Small frieze-band windows set into wide band trim below cornice, Chimneys are not prominent, Gable or hipped roof of low pitch, Cornice lines emphasized with wide band of trim (plain or with incised decoration, representing classical entablature, Porches were common, either entry or full-width supported by prominent square or rounded columns, Columns typically in Greek orders, many still have Roman details (Doric, Ionic or Corinthian).

More elaborate houses would be one or two story with full height columns supporting front pediment gable, Pilasters, particularly at the corners of the building, occasionally across entire façade Full-width colonnaded porch giving appearance of Greek temple.

Greek Revival 1818-1850 Greek Revival 1818-1850

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Italianate Style 1840 to 1885

The Italianate style began in England. The style derived from Italian farmhouses. By 1830's Italianate had spread to the United States, Where it transformed into an American style with little of its Italian origin.

The typical Italianate was 2 story building, but some variations include 3 story houses with towers and cupolas. There seems to be 5 basic designs for this style: box with hip roof, box with centered gable, L shaped floor plan, U shaped floor plan, L floor plan with tower.

Brick and wood were common building materials. Ornamentation was typically wood. Italianates had low pitched roofs with projecting eves, large brackets of different shapes dominated the cornice line. Windows were typically 1 over 1 or 2 over 2. Windows were elaborately decorated with crown moldings, and pedimented crown. There were many varieties of doors, single and double were common. Italianate doors have large panes of glass in the door itself. Porches were small compared to Victorian styles. Columns were typically square with chamfered edges.

Italianate Style 1840-1885 Italianate Style 1840-1885

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Monterey Revival 1930 to 1955

Monterey, named after the California city where the style is most prevalent. The Monterey Style makes a brief appearance in the Pacific Northwest mainly in the 1930s and 1940s. Monterey style homes are typically two stories in height with shallow pitched side gable roofs, and a second story cantilevered covered balcony. Roofs are generally covered with clay tiles. Exterior wall surfaces can be finished in brick, stucco or clapboard. Windows are often narrow and tall and are grouped in pairs. Many Monterey Style homes have attached front facing garages, which indicate the growing importance of the automobile during the mid part of the 20th century. The inset balcony, usually located at one end of the house above the main entrance door, is accessed only from the interior by glazed doors. Many have ornate balusters with simple squared wood posts. The balcony and a side facing gable roof gives the home a dominant rectilinear feel.

Early examples of the Monterey Style tend to favor Spanish detailing such as tile roofs and carved balcony porch posts, while later examples emphasize Colonial details, such as double hung multi-light windows adorned with shutters and paneled entry doors.

Monterey Revival 1930-1955 Monterey Revival 1930-1955

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National Style

National-style homes are common across the nation, but not always easy to identify. That's because they tend to mix several pre-Victorian era building styles, as well as Native American building traditions. The result is a simple and elegant architectural form that's great for building attractive, affordable homes, and has just enough ornamental appeal to work on high-end custom homes. This style typically utilizes rectangular shapes with side-gabled roofs or square layouts with pyramidal roofs.

National Style National Style

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Neoclassical 1895 to 1950

The Neoclassical Revival style is defined by a commanding facade with a full height porch, its roof supported by classical columns. The columns are often fluted and the capitals are usually ornate Ionic or Corinthian. Like the Colonial Revival, which is comparatively simple, the Neoclassical Revival is also symmetrical with its entry centered and flanked by a balanced array of windows.

Neoclassical homes evoke a sense of grandeur by incorporating traditional elements drawn from Greek and Roman classical architecture. Graceful proportions are the mark of Neoclassical architecture, evident in the symmetrical façades and balanced arrays of windows. The central part of a Neoclassical home design is generally two stories and may be flanked by one-story wings. A two-story portico supported by towering columns may frame the entry or stretch across the entire façade. Eclectic touches such as exaggerated broken pediments and dentil molding may adorn the doorways, cornices, and windows.

Neoclassical 1895-1950 Neoclassical 1895-1950

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Prairie Style 1893 to 1920

In 1893, Frank Lloyd Wright founded his architectural practice in Oak Park, a semi-rural village on the Western edges of Chicago. It was at his Oak Park Studio during the first decade of the twentieth century that Wright pioneered a bold new approach to domestic architecture, the Prairie style. Inspired by the broad, flat landscape of America’s Midwest, the Prairie style was the first uniquely American architectural style of what has been called “the American Century.”

Prairie Style Characteristics:

1 - 2 story, Open floor plan with free-flowing spaces (sometimes blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces), Projecting or cantilevered wings, Integrated with landscape and environment, Open floor plan, Low-pitched hipped or flat roof (less common is gabled), Broad, overhanging eaves (usually boxed), Strong horizontal lines, Ribbons of windows, often casements, arranged in horizontal bands, Clerestory windows, Prominent, central chimney, Stylized, built-in cabinetry, Wide use of natural materials especially stone and wood, Siding often stucco, stone, or brick, Restrained ornamentation such as friezes around windows and doors, or as bands under the eaves.

Prairie Style 1893-1920

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Pueblo Revival 1912 to 1940

The Pueblo Revival style, popular between 1900 and 1940, was inspired by a mixture of Spanish Colonial and Indian Pueblo architectural forms. Originating in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, the style quickly became a regional architectural expression in the southwest. Especially practical in dry climates, the style is a mixture of Spanish Colonial and Indian Pueblo architectural forms.

Pueblo Revival buildings are characterized by:

Thick walls made of real or fake adobe or with a stucco surface featuring irregular or rounded edges, Flat roofs hidden behind parapets, Small and simple, almost always single story high, and low and ground-hugging, Heavy wood "vigas" or roof beams (either real or fake) embedded and extending through the wall to the exterior, Small, deep windows, usually of the casement type, Canales (water spouts), Enclosed patios, Porches held up with Zapata's (posts), Brick, wood, or flagstone floors.

Pueblo Revival 1912-1940 Pueblo Revival 1912-1940

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Queen Ann 1880 to 1910

The Queen Anne style evolved from early English designs to become a distinctly American style with numerous, sometimes regional variations. The use of three dimensional wood trim called spindle works was an American innovation made possible by the technological advances in the mass production of wood trim. While the Queen Anne style can take a variety of forms, certain key elements are commonly found. Queen Anne buildings almost always have a steep roof with cross gables or large dormers, an asymmetrical front façade, and an expansive porch with decorative wood trim. A round or polygonal front corner tower with a conical roof is a distinctive Queen Anne feature on many buildings of this style. Wall surfaces are usually highly decorative with variety of textures from shingles to half timbering, to panels of pebbles or bas relief friezes. More is NEVER TOO MUCH with a Queen Anne.

Queen Ann 1880-1910 Queen Ann 1880-1910

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Ranch Style

A rambler, also known as a ranch-style house, is a domestic architectural style that originated in the U.S. in the 1920s but was made most popular between the 1940s and 1970s. Ramblers are known for their long, low profile and minimal exterior and interior decoration. As a housing style, ramblers fuse modernist ideas with American West-period working ranches, resulting in an informal and casual living style. The basic ranch house has an open plan on a single level with an attached garage or carport—and picture windows and sliding glass doors to make the transition from indoors to outdoors almost seamless. Ranch style house plans are well suited for casual entertaining and living. Rooms are large and flow freely into each other, eliminating barriers between the formal and family parts of the home that were common in earlier styles. These plans reflect the three key principles of the ranch house style: livability, flexibility and unpretentiousness.

Ranch Style

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Regency Revival Style 1935 to 1950

Named after King George IV, who was appointed to serve as a Regent of England from 1811 to 1820, the Regency Revival style, sometimes called “Modern Georgian” was used exclusively in residential applications and can be found in small numbers across the Pacific Northwest. The style was developed from the architectural precedents of Georgian style, and was popular in the mid-to-late 1930s, although post WWII examples can be found.

Key defining features of the style include its two story box-shaped body, which is highlighted by a low pitched hip roof with a shallow or no eave overhang. The depth of the overhanging is usually limited to a gutter and in some examples is eliminated altogether by a low parapet wall. Decorative details at the eave line often consist of a small frieze board containing saw-cut scroll work or dentils. The overall look of the home is noted for its refinement of detail, a greater restraint, and delicacy in design in comparison with its Georgian style cousin. Exterior sheathing examples range from brick and clapboard, to smooth ship-lap siding. Frequently the two story mass of the building is delineated by the use of different cladding types on the first and second stories. Small one story gable, hip or flat roof additions are often found attached to the main facade.

Regency Revival Style 1935-1950 Regency Revival Style 1935-1950

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Saltbox Style 1620 to 1740

What is a saltbox house? It is a Colonial style of architecture which originated in New England. Saltboxes are frame houses with two stories in front and one in back, having a pitched roof with unequal sides, being short and high in front and long and low in back. The front of the house is flat and the rear roof line is steeply sloped. The sturdy central chimney is a simple but effective focal point. The simplicity and strength of this design, first seen around 1650, continues to make saltbox houses popular today. Saltbox homes got their name because they looked like the large asymmetrical wooden saltboxes everyone used in colonial times. This comparison grew even stronger over the years as many of the original Saltboxes changed shape - many Saltbox dwellers added lean-tos on the backs of their houses, mainly for storage purposes, extending the already lopsided roof line. The resulting shape, also known as a "Cat slide," was almost triangular, with one long roof slope plunging two and a half stories from the ridge almost to ground level, and a short, steep slope nearly parallel with the wall on the other side.

Saltbox Style 1620 to 1740

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Second Empire Style 1860 to 1900

The Second Empire style, also called the French Second Empire style or Mansard style, was an immensely popular style throughout the United States in the 1860s and 1870s. It was used extensively in the northeastern and Midwestern parts of the country. The Second Empire style had its beginnings in France, where it was the chosen style during the reign of Napoleon III (1852-70), France's Second Empire, hence its name. The mansard roof is the key identifying feature of this style and was considered both a fashionable and functional element since it created a fully usable attic space. Other commonly seen details are a bracketed cornice beneath the mansard roof, round arched windows, decorative dormer windows, an iron crest at the roofline, and columned porches or porticoes.

Second Empire Style 1860-1900

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Shed Style 1970 to 1985

The Shed Style is easily identified by its boxlike forms capped with single-sloped shed roofs facing a variety of directions. The use of the style in the 1970s coincided with the energy crisis and some of the better examples employ passive-solar design elements. Exterior walls are usually covered with flush board siding, applied horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally to follow the lines of the shed roof. Builder examples often used T1-11 siding, while high style examples are clad with cedar shingles. The junctions of the roofs and walls are smooth and simple, with little or no overhang. Most Shed Style buildings are 1 to 1½ stories tall. Entrances are often recessed and obscured from the street and windows tend to be a variety of sizes and shapes. Long narrow windows installed vertically or horizontally are common, as well as windows that are angled to follow the slope of the roof line.

Shed Style 1970-1985

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Shingle Style 1874 to 1910

Known as one of the most uniquely American styles of architecture, Shingle style’s roots lie in the late 19th century, from about 1880 to 1900. That’s when rambling homes of this style were built along coastal New England to serve as getaways for well-to-do families. The houses were often built on stone foundations that seem to emerge from bedrock. Thus, the massive, horizontal structures appeared to hug the ground. Roofs and walls were covered in shingles, which could be stained, painted, or allowed to weather naturally. Occasionally, the roof shingles would be a different color from the wall shingles. More expensive homes had rough-hewn stone foundations and even stone porch columns and stone walls for the first floor. Most Shingle Style homes had porches. Complex roofs were common. Gables were usually arranged asymmetrically. Dormers were sometimes used to add visual complexity to the roof. The most common dormer was the gable.

Shingle Style 1874-1910 Shingle Style 1874-1910

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Shotgun Style

The origins of the shotgun house remain something of a mystery. The architecture was brought to America by Haitian refugees at the beginning of the 19th century. The first shotgun homes in the United States were erected in New Orleans. Tradition holds that the name "shotgun" derives from the notion of firing bird shot through the front door and out the rear without touching a wall. The term itself postdates the shotgun's late-19th-century heyday, not appearing in print until the early 20th century. A typical shotgun house was no more than 12' wide, with rooms arranged one behind the other, no hallway.

Shotgun Style

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Spanish Eclectic 1915 to 1940

A Spanish Eclectic house is not exactly Spanish Colonial or Mission or any particular Spanish style. Instead, these early 20th century homes combine details from Spain, the Mediterranean, and South America. They capture the flavor of Spain without imitating any one historic tradition. Spanish Revival is an extremely eclectic style. Many Mediterranean touches are combined to create an exotic, but harmonious appearance. Influences include Spanish Baroque, Moorish, and Gothic elements. Tile roofs and stucco exteriors are characteristic with half rounded doors and windows. Elaborate tile work, applied relief ornamentation, and wrought iron grillwork is used to create frames around doorways and windows, and is used widely as decorative accents throughout the house. Towers and columns are often seen as are balustrades, cantilevered balconies, covered porches, and arcaded walkways. Front entrances were often highly ornamented and many were balanced by a commanding triple-arched focal window.

Spanish Eclectic 1915-1940

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Split Level 1945 to 1980

Unlike ranches, the split-level was innovative in its use of interior space. Instead of arranging rooms on one or two floors, the split reorganized space according to use. The front door opens to a landing. Facing the door, one short flight of stairs leads down. A parallel flight of stairs leads up. Retaining the low pitched roof, overhanging eaves and horizontal lines of the Ranch, these homes added a two-story unit connected at mid-height to a one story section creating three staggered floor levels. This bifurcated floor layout reflected an interior planning theory that determined families needed three types of interior space: a noisy living and service area on the partially below grade level (represented by a family room and often a garage); the mid-level quiet living area (containing the living room, dining room and kitchen); and the upper level with the bedrooms. Attached garages, often partially below grade, are more characteristic of later construction. Windows typically include a picture window. There may be some traditional detailing, such as decorative shutters, but their unusual form clearly identifies them as modern houses.

Split Level 1945-1980

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Stick Style 1860 to 1890

The Stick style is considered to be a transitional style, linking the Gothic Revival with the subsequent Queen Anne. All three were inspired by the building traditions of Medieval English half-timbered construction with its visible structural elements, steeply pitched roofs and projecting gables. Unlike Gothic Revival, the Stick style stressed the wall surface itself rather than applying decorative elements merely at windows, doors, and cornices. Various patterns of wood clapboards or board-and-batten siding were applied within square and triangular spaces created by the raised stick work. This detailing was applied to a variety of nineteenth-century building forms, making it the defining element of the style.

Typical Features: Asymmetrical two or three-storied form with emphasis on vertical complex gable roofs, usually steeply pitched with cross gables and overhanging eaves, decorative trusses at gable ends common, exposed rafter tails, wooden wall cladding (either clapboards or board-and-batten siding) interrupted by patterns of horizontal, vertical, or diagonal boards (stick work) raised from the wall surface for emphasis and meant to represent the underlying framework, extensive porches and verandas; porches plainly trimmed but commonly have diagonal or curved braces, Large 1:1 or 2:2 windows; frequently paired; fit within patterns created by stick work, Corbeled chimneys.

Stick Style 1860-1890

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Tudor Style 1890 to 1940

The name Tudor suggests that these houses were built in the 1500s, during the Tudor Dynasty in England. Tudor houses in the United States are modern-day re-inventions and are more accurately called Tudor Revival. Some Tudor houses copy medieval cottages, others represent Medieval palaces.

Tudor’s steeply pitched roofs are well suited to regions such as New England that endure lots of rain and snow. That’s why so many Tudor homes in this country show up in the Midwest, Northwest, and along the East Coast. Tudor roofs typically include side gables and dormer windows that let in natural light. And they’re often graced with massive brick or stone chimneys that are capped with elaborate chimney pots. Tudor houses usually feature tall, narrow multi paned windows.

There are several easily identifiable features of American Tudors, the first being stucco walls with or without decorative wood half-timbering. Houses of this style had weatherboard or shingled walls with stucco and half-timbered gables. Other Tudor-style houses used stone for the walls, often with a decorative stone trim. The most prominent building material for American Tudors was brick, frequently laid in an elaborate pattern on the first story with a second story of stucco or wood and false half-timbering in a decorative pattern.

Tudor Style 1890-1940

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Victorian Style 1850 to 1910

The definition of a Victorian house is any house that was built during the reign of Queen Victoria of England. Queen Victoria reigned from June 20th 1837 to January 22, 1901. During the Victorian era, many styles of houses were poplar. Some Victorian styles include: Gothic Revival, Italianate, Neo Classic, Neo Greek, Queen Anne, Second Empire and Stick. Although there were many different types of Victorian houses, they all shared many of the same detailed architectural features. Victorian architects and builders applied decoration liberally, combining features borrowed from many different eras with flourishes from their own imaginations.

Advances in building technology such as the development of balloon framing and factory-built architectural components made it easier to build larger, more complex and more decorative structures. Most Victorian styles look to historic precedents for inspiration, but the architectural designs of the era were not exact replicas of those earlier buildings. Although the trim was mass-produced, there were several different styles and designs. Everything from Italianate egg-and-dart molding to carved Gothic Revival fascia can be found on a Victorian home. It's not at all unusual to find Queen Anne, Gothic and Italianate elements all on the same house, as the goal was to create something unique and unusual. Unlike in earlier building styles, the Victorians were fond of porches in front of the main door into their houses. Styles range from enclosed stone or brick porches to open and part timber frame porches, which might also be of latticework (an open framework of strips with a crisscross pattern). The Victorians and Edwardians created elaborated designs with steep roofs, coped gables, carved kneelers (horizontal projecting stone at the base of each side of a gable to support the inclined coping stones) and finials.

According to Victorian design rules, the trim should be painted a distinctly different color than the siding for emphasis. In most cases, three to five different colors of paint were used: one for the house, and the rest for the trim.

Victorian Style 1850-1910

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