Have you ever came across a home that struck you with its beauty and details, but you couldn’t describe it? If you are a homebuyer, you don’t necessarily need to know so much about architecture in residential real estate. If you see a home that you like, that’s enough reason to buy it. However, with a little background and understanding of home styles, you’ll be able to communicate better with your realtor and explain the kind of homes that interest you. Also, knowing a little bit about your home will help you understand its history.
If you are viewing home options, you have probably heard the words “Colonial; “Contemporary” or “Mediterannean,” but you don’t know what they mean. Luckily we’ve put a guide for you with the most popular home styles in the United States.
Colonial styles became popular during the European colonization. The first colonial homes built reflected the builder’s country and what materials were at hand back then.
Even though all Colonial homes have some standard features, like the rectangular, symmetrical shape and the long rows of windows, each type has its unique traits. For example, the French colonial homes in New Orleans have wraparound balconies and big columns, while the Dutch colonial homes are known for their unique gambrel roofs.
Colonial style usually means multiple stories with many windows.
In 1876, the style made a comeback to the U.S. as Colonial Revival. You can also find Contemporary Colonial homes with the same essential elements but with modern building materials.
Cape Cod homes are very similar to Colonial that they are considered a sub-type sometimes.
Cape Cod homes are known to be sturdy and more durable. They were designed to protect the early New England settlers from harsh winters.
Recently, Cap Cod houses played an essential role in minimizing the housing crisis post World War II. When the soldiers returned home, they weren’t enough houses. Building Cap Cod resolved the issue. These homes have a simple layout and are easily constructed. They boast steep, side-gabled roofs that keep heavy snow from accumulating on top, low ceilings, and shingle siding. Cap Cod houses tend to be symmetrical with the front door and chimney in the middle of the facade, and an even number of windows.
Contemporary is a broad architecture category that can’t be reduced to a single style. It includes the styles that are trendy and popular at a specific time. However, it’s not the same as modern style architecture, which is part of the modernist movement that is anchored to a particular period.
Since Contemporary come in different forms, it’s hard to settle one definition of what a Contemporary home is. However, they have some common elements, including sustainable, eco-friendly building materials, asymmetry, and unique layouts.
Few popular components in Contemporary homes are large windows that bring in natural light and the exteriors with texturally different building materials, such as stucco with stone or bricks with wood. The roofs are usually even flats or low-pitch.
Mediterranean homes are pretty unique, and they are rarely confused or mixed with another style. They are popular in areas with warm weather, like California and Florida. The style is influenced by the early architecture in Mediterranean countries, especially Italy and Spain.
The style experienced a revival in the United States in the 1920s, when people started seeing gorgeous Mediterannean homes on the silver screen, and they wanted the same thing for themselves. Today, the style is still prevalent in coastal areas, as it is ideal for a warm climate. Homes are often built in a way that allows more airflow, and the stucco walls prevent the heat.
Other standard features include carved doors, stone details, metalwork on windows, and balconies.
Ranch style is one of the most popular home styles in the U.S. The first ranch style homes were in California in the 1930s, but the style grew in popularity, similar to Cape Cod, during the housing crisis after World War II.
Ranch homes are short, single-story with a low-pitched roof. The foundation nearly levels with the ground, which gives the homes their low-profile signature look.
Layouts are open and encourage outdoor living, like the large windows and the sliding glass doors.
Craftsman homes are easily recognizable. They are the staple of American architecture. They remained popular in the U.S. from the 20th to the 21st century.
The style emerged as part of the Arts and Crafts movement in the late 1800s and early 1900 that emphasized on handcrafted goods. It originated in England and made its way to the States as a form of resistance against industrialization.
Craftsman homes usually have tapered columns and an overhanging roof. The common elements are wood and stone, and the colors tend to be more natural. They are beautiful but not ostentatious, as they are designed to provide a functional living space, with built-in storages, and open floor plans.
The modern style emerged in the 1920s to push against the styles that focused on the form instead of practicality.
The modernist homes were designed to provide practical spaces with little decor while still using modern technology. They also tend to be minimalist.
However, the midcentury modern style became popular after World War II through the 1970s. Common features include simple shapes, big windows, and clean lines, and an open-concept home layout. Materials combine wood, plastic, and steel.
The Midcentury modern style aims to connect the indoors to the outdoors through floor-to-ceiling windows and the implementation of natural materials like wood and stone inside the house.
Neoclassical style is the architecture of old universities and government buildings. It is the revival of the classical architecture that existed in ancient Rome and Greece. Naturally, Neoclassical means a lot of tall and grand columns.
It was popular up till the 19th century and can still be found in some buildings. Neoclassical homes look majestic and impressive with symmetrical structures. If you see a grand house with simple geometric forms, dramatic use of columns, and many blank walls, it’s a Neoclassical home.