September 1


A comprehensive guide to house styles and architectural eras, from classic to contemporary

House styles – a guide to architectural styles and eras

Thanks to the rich history of architectural design, homes come in a wide range of styles and eras. Each style has its own unique characteristics and motifs that define it, making it easy to distinguish between different types of homes. From traditional to modern, there is a style to suit every taste and preference.

One of the most popular house styles today is the modern style, although it originated in the late 19th century. Modern homes often feature clean lines, simple shapes, and a minimalistic approach to decoration. They typically have a flat or low-pitched roof and a sleek, minimalist aesthetic.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the traditional styles, such as the Dutch Colonial and Georgian. These styles are often symmetrical in design, with a long, rectangular shape and a pitched roofline. They are heavily influenced by European architecture and feature decorative elements such as porticos and pediments.

Another popular architectural style is the Victorian, which originated in the mid-19th century and gained popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria. Victorian homes are known for their ornate decoration, with various types of windows, steeply pitched roofs, and often feature a raised basement or stucco exteriors.

Tudor-style homes, named after the Tudor monarchs of England, are characterized by their timber and brick exteriors. They often feature strong, symmetrical designs, with smaller windows and a double-height entrance. Tudor homes are widely popular in Europe and continue to be admired for their charming and picturesque appearance.

In conclusion, house styles come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own unique characteristics that define it. Whether you prefer a modern, minimalist home or an ornate Victorian mansion, there is something for everyone. Architects today continue to draw inspiration from these timeless styles, often submitting their own modern interpretations. So, no matter your preference, there is a house style that will suit your taste and make a statement.

House styles



House styles are a reflection of the architectural trends that have developed over time. From the early simple styles to the elaborate designs of today, house styles have evolved to cater to different tastes and needs.

Styles in Europe

Many house styles in Europe feature distinctive characteristics. One example is the Tudor style, which is characterized by its black and white timbered walls and steeply gabled roofs. Another example is the Georgian style, which is known for its symmetry and large porticos.

Styles in America

America has also been enamored with different house styles over time. The Cape Cod style is a rectangular house with a steeply pitched roof and a chimney in the center. Another popular style is the Victorian, which is characterized by its ornate details and elaborate materials.

Styles in the world

House styles vary widely across the world. In some countries, like Japan, houses are often designed with a strong emphasis on simplicity and minimalism. In other countries, like India, houses often feature multi-paned windows and intricate design details.

Common types of house styles

Common types of house styles

  • Colonial: Commonly found in America, these houses typically feature a symmetrical design and a front door that is centered and supported by columns.
  • Craftsman: These houses have a strong horizontal design and often feature a raised porch supported by thick columns.
  • Victorian: Victorian houses are known for their ornate details, steeply pitched roofs, and elaborate materials.
  • Ranch: Ranch houses have a long, low profile and a simple design with a single-story.
  • Contemporary: Contemporary houses are characterized by their clean lines and modern design elements.

Notable house styles

Some house styles have become iconic in their own right. For example, the Georgian style is often associated with the architectural splendor of the late 18th century. The Tudor style has also stood the test of time and continues to be admired for its distinctive charm.

Whether you prefer a simple and functional design or an elaborate and detailed one, house styles offer a wide range of options to choose from. Exploring different styles and understanding their unique features can help you find the perfect home that matches your preferences and needs.

1 Tudor House Style – 1400s to 1600s and 1800s to 1940s

The Tudor house style is a distinctive architectural style that was popular during two different periods in history – the first in the 1400s to 1600s and the second in the 1800s to 1940s. It originated in England and was influenced by various architectural elements.

1.1 Characteristics

  • Tudor houses are easily recognizable by their steeply pitched roofs.
  • Their facades are often made of bricks, timber, or half-timbering, with stucco or decorative plasterwork.
  • These houses typically have multiple gables and chimneys.
  • Dormer windows are commonly featured on the upper floors, adding an additional level of interest to the facade.
  • The entrance is often accompanied by a porch or a projecting entrance bay.
  • Windows are often multi-paned and sometimes have decorative pediments.

1.2 Influences

The Tudor house style draws inspiration from various architectural styles and eras. The use of half-timbering and decorative plasterwork can be traced back to medieval and Elizabethan architecture. Dutch and other European influences can also be seen in the design of these houses.

1.3 Popularity and Variations

Tudor houses have been widely popular throughout history and are still admired today. In the first period of popularity, they were associated with the English Renaissance and the reigns of the Tudor monarchs, such as Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. In the second period of popularity, they were a response to the industrial age and a desire for simpler, more traditional architecture.

Although most commonly found in England, Tudor-style homes can also be seen in other parts of the world, particularly in America. The iconic black and white timbered facades with their distinctive gables and chimneys are instantly recognizable.

1.4 Similar Styles

There are other architectural styles that share similarities with the Tudor house style:

  • The Edwardian style emerged in the late 19th century and is characterized by its rectangular shape and simple, symmetrical design.
  • The Cape Cod style, popularized in America in the 1930s, shares the steeply pitched roof and symmetrical facade with Tudor houses.
  • The Californian ranch-style homes, which were commonly found in California in the mid-20th century, also drew inspiration from Tudor architecture. They often featured gabled roofs and open floor plans.

1.5 Preservation and Advice

Preserving and maintaining Tudor houses can sometimes be a challenge due to their age. It is important to consult with experts who specialize in historic homes to ensure that necessary repairs and renovations are done correctly, while still preserving the unique character and charm of these houses.

When renovating or updating a Tudor-style home, it is important to do thorough research and gather as much information as possible about the architectural style. This will help in making informed decisions when it comes to materials, colors, and overall design choices.

2 Colonial house style – 1600s to 1700s

The Colonial house style is a classic American architectural style that originated in the 1600s and continued into the 1700s. It is characterized by its symmetrical design, steeply pitched rooflines, and spacious porches.

The popularity of the Colonial house style can be attributed to its simplicity and elegance. The materials commonly used in construction were brick and wood, with brick becoming more widely used in the later part of the 17th century. The windows of Colonial houses were typically small and featured either a simple gothic or a rectangular shape. Some houses even had large, ornate glass windows that were imported from Europe.

The Colonial house style was heavily influenced by British architecture of the time. The Colonial settlers brought with them the building techniques and styles they were familiar with in Europe. As a result, many Colonial houses feature a timber frame construction, with the spaces between the wooden beams filled with clay and daub.

One of the defining features of the Colonial house style is the symmetrical design. The houses were generally rectangular in shape, with a gabled roof and a central entrance. The roofline was often steeply pitched, with overhanging eaves and gables. The front porch was usually deep and provided a shaded outdoor living space.

The Colonial house style can be further divided into different sub-styles, such as Cape Cod and Southern Colonial. Cape Cod houses are characterized by their simple, rectangular shape and pitched roof. Southern Colonial houses, on the other hand, often have a symmetrical facade and a central entrance with a pediment above it.

Colonial houses were a symbol of wealth and status during this time period. The more ornate and elaborate the house, the wealthier the owner was perceived to be. The layout of the house was often designed to impress visitors, with grand entrances and large, formal living areas on the upper floors.

Today, Colonial houses are still considered iconic and continue to be popular among homeowners. They showcase a sense of history and tradition, while providing a functional and comfortable living space.

In summary:

  • The Colonial house style originated in the 1600s and continued into the 1700s.
  • It is characterized by its symmetrical design, steeply pitched rooflines, and spacious porches.
  • Brick and wood were the common materials used in construction.
  • The windows of Colonial houses were typically small and featured either a gothic or rectangular shape.
  • The Colonial house style was heavily influenced by British architecture and featured timber frame construction.
  • The layout of the house often reflected the owner’s wealth and status.
  • Colonial houses are still popular today and continue to be iconic.

3 Cape Cod house style – 1700s to 1800s

The Cape Cod house style is widely recognized and has its origins in the 17th century. Named after Cape Cod, a geographic region in Massachusetts, these houses were commonly built by early settlers and colonists. Cape Cod houses were a reflection of the wealth and status of their owners, with larger versions being built by the wealthy, and smaller ones by those with less wealth.

These houses are usually one or one-and-a-half stories high and have a compact and rectangular shape. They often come with a central chimney and a steep roof to withstand the harsh New England winters. The roof was usually wooden, but in some cases, it could be made of clay tiles.

The Cape Cod style houses were simple in design and had a symmetrical appearance, featuring a central front door and multi-paned windows on either side. The windows were often small and rectangular in shape, and they were placed close to the roof to allow for more space inside the house.

One of the signature elements of Cape Cod houses is the chimney, which was centrally located and sometimes featured a chimney stack that extended above the roofline. Another common feature is the use of half-timbered construction, where the wooden frame of the house is exposed and filled in with clay or daub, creating a textured and rustic look.

In terms of architectural features, Cape Cod houses can be differentiated into several types. The earliest Cape Cod houses, built in the 17th century, were simple and compact, with small rooms and a central chimney. As time went on, more rooms were added, and a second story was sometimes built. In the late 18th and early 19th century, Cape Cod houses were influenced by the Georgian and Federal styles, resulting in larger and more elaborate designs with additional ornamentation.

Cape Cod houses were also commonly found in other areas of the United States, such as New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and even California. The style was adapted to these different regions and sometimes combined with other architectural styles, resulting in unique variations.

Today, Cape Cod houses are still being built, though they may be referred to as “Cape” or “Cape Cod-style” houses. The style has also influenced other house styles, such as the Colonial Revival and the Ranch-style house.

If you are considering buying or renovating a Cape Cod house, it is important to do thorough research and seek professional advice. Understanding the history and characteristics of this architectural style will help you make informed decisions about preserving or updating its unique features. Cape Cod homes have stood the test of time and continue to be beloved for their charm and timeless appeal.

4 Georgian house style – 1714 to 1800s

4 Georgian house style – 1714 to 1800s

The Georgian house style, which ruled from 1714 to the 1800s, is known for its elegance and symmetry. These houses were influenced by the architecture of the Italian Renaissance and were named after the four successive kings named George who reigned during this period.

Georgian houses have a distinctive appearance with their symmetrical facades and classical elements. They often have porticos, meaning a porch with columns or pilasters, which can be found at the entrance to the house. These porticos are sometimes supported by columns, giving the house a grand appearance.

Georgian houses typically have a double-pile floor plan, meaning that there are two rooms deep on each floor. This layout allows for spacious rooms and a well-organized interior. The name “Georgian” originated from King George I and has been commonly used to describe houses built during this time.

Externally, Georgian houses are usually made of brick, though some may have a wooden frame. They often have a raised basement and three storys, with a distinctive feature being the large sash windows. These windows are commonly rectangular and have multiple smaller panes of glass, known as “lights”.

The Georgian house style also saw the rise of the black front door, which became a symbol of social status. It was common for Georgian houses to have a black front door to show that the owner was wealthy and could afford to have the door painted black.

During the late Georgian period, a more decorative style known as the Regency style emerged. Regency houses are characterized by their use of columns, like in the Greek Revival style, and their use of stucco to imitate stone.

In areas outside of England, such as the American colonies, Georgian houses were also built. However, they often had different features and influences. For example, in the Southern colonies, Georgian houses were built with a central plan and a single-pile floor plan, which is one room deep on each floor. In the Northern colonies, Georgian houses had a more Dutch influence and featured stepped gables and gambrel roofs.

In conclusion, the Georgian house style from 1714 to the 1800s is known for its elegance and symmetry. Whether they are grand mansions or humble cottages, Georgian houses have left a lasting impact on architectural history.

5 Victorian house style – 1830s to 1901

5 Victorian house style – 1830s to 1901

The Victorian house style is one of the most recognizable architectural styles in the world. It first emerged in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, from 1837 to 1901, and quickly gained popularity.

Victorian houses spanned the whole era, with different styles evolving as the years went by. They had a very distinctive and ornate look, with a focus on intricate details and craftsmanship.

When submitting to the Californian Bungalow style, the Victorian house style merged with various other architectural styles, such as the Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, and Queen Anne styles. This created a unique blend of elements from different eras, resulting in homes with a charming and eclectic appearance.

One of the most notable features of Victorian houses is their use of decorative elements, such as elaborate woodwork, overhanging eaves, and multi-paned windows. The exteriors of these homes often featured intricate carvings and ornamental details that showcased the wealth and status of the homeowner.

Victorian houses come in different shapes and sizes, with the most common being the two or three-story, gabled-roof structure. Some Victorian houses also had a tower or turret, adding an additional element of grandeur to the overall design.

The gardens surrounding Victorian houses were also an important aspect of the style. Homeowners were enamored with creating lush and colorful gardens, often featuring elaborate landscaping, flower beds, and pathways.

Throughout the Victorian era, several architectural styles influenced the design of these homes. The High Victorian Gothic style, for example, featured steeply pitched roofs, pointed arches, and intricate stone carvings. On the other hand, the Queen Anne style was characterized by asymmetrical facades, decorative shingles, and wrap-around verandas.

One of the most iconic Victorian house styles is the Tudor Revival style. It originated in the late Victorian era and drew inspiration from the tudor architecture of the past. These homes often had half-timbered exteriors, large chimneys, and intricate details.

However, not all Victorian houses were ornate and elaborate. Some simpler versions, such as the Cape Cod and Carpenter Gothic styles, had a more modest design and were accessible to a wider range of homeowners.

The Victorian house style is still admired and celebrated today for its rich architectural heritage. Its impact can be seen in various parts of the world, with many Victorian homes still standing strong and retaining their original charm.

6 Craftsman house style – 1900s to 1930s

The Craftsman house style emerged in the early 20th century and continued to be popular until the 1930s. This architectural style is also known as the Arts and Crafts style and was heavily influenced by the southern types of houses found in the United States.

Craftsman houses were typically made of stucco or wood, with gabled roofs and wide overhanging eaves. The exteriors often featured dark wood trim, such as black or aged timber, giving them a distinctive and rustic look.

One of the key features of Craftsman houses were their simple and partially open floor plans. The interiors were designed to be functional and efficient, with an emphasis on natural materials and handcrafted details.

Craftsman houses often had large front porches, supported by square or tapered columns. These porches were a popular spot for socializing and enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the early 20th century.

Windows in Craftsman houses were typically casement style, with leaded or stained glass. Doors were often made of wood and featured ornate carvings or distinctive pediments.

Many Craftsman houses also had small gardens or landscaping features, further adding to their charm and connection to nature.

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7 Art Deco house style – 1920s to 1940s

7 Art Deco house style – 1920s to 1940s

The Art Deco house style emerged in the 1920s and lasted through the 1940s. This style was influenced by a variety of architectural styles, including the Victorian and the Dutch Colonial styles. Art Deco houses are usually characterized by their symmetrical design and distinctive motifs.

One prominent feature of Art Deco houses is their flat roofs with a chimney. These roofs are often supported by gabled dormer windows, which are commonly multi-paned. This style also commonly features large windows and open porches.

Art Deco houses can be found all around the world, but they were particularly popular in Europe and the United States. In Europe, this style was often seen in the form of double-story buildings with steeply pitched roofs. In America, Art Deco houses were often one story and featured long, narrow designs.

One particular type of Art Deco house that was popular during this era was the Californian Bungalow. These houses were characterized by their low-pitched roofs, open floor plans, and decorative motifs. They often had large gardens and were designed to be in harmony with nature.

Art Deco houses were known for their distinctive decorative elements, including geometric shapes, curvilinear forms, and bold colors. This style was a departure from the more ornate Victorian and Dutch Colonial styles that had ruled the previous era.

If you are interested in learning more about Art Deco house styles and their architectural influences, there are numerous resources available online. Consulting a local historical society or preservation organization can also provide valuable information and advice about Art Deco houses in your area.

8 Ranch house style – 1920s to 1970s

The Ranch house style originated in California in the early 20th century and quickly gained popularity throughout the United States. It is characterized by its single-story, low-pitched roof and long, horizontal layout. Ranch houses are known for their simple yet functional design and were primarily built for a casual and comfortable lifestyle.

The Tudor style, with its exposed timber and elaborate windows, influenced the Ranch house style in the 1920s. However, Ranch houses moved away from the elaborate detailing of the Tudor style and focused more on functionality and modern simplicity.

Ranch houses typically feature large windows, including double or triple sliding glass doors, which allow plenty of natural light to enter the living areas. The windows often wrap around the corners of the house, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Although Ranch houses are known for their single-story design, some variations include a partial or full basement, as well as an upper story for additional living space. Ranch houses can also have a variety of roof types, including gabled, hipped, or a combination of both.

One distinctive feature of Ranch houses is the open floor plan, which allows for a flexible use of space and easy movement between rooms. The living areas are typically compact and flow into one another, creating a sense of openness and unity.

Another characteristic of Ranch houses is the strong connection to the outdoors. Many Ranch houses have sliding glass doors that open to a patio or deck, as well as large windows that provide views of the surrounding landscape. Outdoor living spaces, such as porches or gardens, were also commonly incorporated into Ranch house design.

Materials used in Ranch house construction include timber, stucco, brick, and sometimes stone. The exteriors are generally low-maintenance and designed to blend in with the natural surroundings. The roofs are often low-pitched and supported by exposed beams or simple overhangs.

The Ranch house style gained popularity during the post-World War II era, as the need for affordable and spacious housing increased. Its simple and functional design appealed to the growing middle class, as well as to industrial architects who were seeking an alternative to the ornate and elaborate styles of the past.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Ranch house style continued to evolve, incorporating influences from other architectural styles. For example, the California Ranch house style emerged, which featured a more modern aesthetic and emphasized indoor-outdoor living.

Although Ranch houses are not as popular today as they once were, they still hold a certain nostalgic and timeless appeal. The Ranch house style represents a distinct era in American architecture and has left a lasting impact on the way homes are designed and built.


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