7 Architectural Styles to Consider for Your New Home

September 24, 2012 / by / In

Home is where the heart is, so it’s nice to have a home that is at once comfortable and stylish. Like fashion, homes are made up of a whole host of interesting styles suited to various tastes to really bring out a sense of personality. If you’re building a new home from scratch, here are five architectural styles you might consider.

1. Traditional Ranch-Style

This is one of the simplest styles, usually featuring a basic floor plan, efficient living spaces, and an attached garage. Ranch-style homes were first built in the 1920s and became popular in the suburban home-building boom from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Traditional ranch homes are noted for being long and close to the ground. They are often considered cookie-cutter in design thanks to simple interiors and exteriors. However, as plain as these homes might appear, they offer a lot of potential for remodeling and additions. Bi-level and tri-level homes evolved from the traditional ranch home. As minimal as they are, they offer a comfortable, casual, informal living space that can fit any homeowner’s needs.

2. Craftsman

A popular house style that started in the late 19th century and remained popular well into the 1930s, the Craftsman (or Arts and Crafts) home is distinguished by a great deal of interior woodwork that includes built-in shelving and seating. The craftsman home also gave way to breakfast nooks built into kitchens. Exteriors often feature low-pitched roofs with exposed rafters, wide eave overhangs, and decorative braces. Porches are simplified and framed by square columns. Many craftsman homes also feature usable attic space.

With simplicity of form and visible handiwork that uses local, natural materials, it’s easy to see why the craftsman-style bungalow is making such a big comeback.

3. Contemporary

While the term originally referred to homes built between 1950 and 1970, “contemporary” now describes a wide assortment of homes built in recent decades that focus on geometric lines and simple forms. Contemporary homes reflect the tendency toward experimentation that initially came from the Modern period after World War II.

Contemporary homes feature open floor plans, inventive design elements, and plenty of glass structures, doing away with any elaborate flourishes and unnecessary detail. The complexity of these homes comes from the mix of contrasting materials and textures, flat or low-pitched roofs, and exposed beams.

4. Cape Cod

Named after the area in Massachusetts, Cape-Cod-style homes have roots dating back to 1675. This style gained traction in the 1930s. The Cape Cod home is usually one to one and a half stories tall, featuring wood siding, a steep roofline, hardwood floors, and multi-pane windows. Windows in the dormers add light, ventilation, and space.

Additions to a Cape Cod home can be made at the sides or back. While the upstairs areas are generally limited, you can easily change them to fit your personal needs.

5. Cottage

American architects fashioned cozy cottage-style homes after the medieval homes found on the English countryside. The style was especially popular in the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. The main feature is a warm storybook quality, which gives you the ability to really use your imagination when designing your cottage-style home. Cottages also have arched doors, casement windows, and steep roof pitches. Keeping with the medieval feel, these homes often have stone, stucco, or brick sidings.

6. French Country

In the United States, French country style homes were a mainstay during the 18th century, during which time France occupied much of the eastern portion of North America. While the French style faded after the 1800s, much of the architectural tradition remained in New Orleans and other areas.

French country homes feature soft lines, plenty of curves, and stonework with the interiors presenting plaster or stucco walls, stone floors, and exposed wood beams. The nature of this style is to impart a rustic warmth and comfortable design.

7. Mediterranean

Mediterranean homes, which include the Spanish Colonial Revival style, were a popular architectural style in Southern California during the 1920s ad 1930s and can still be seen through the state today.

Mediterranean homes typically have a U-shaped floor plan centered around a courtyard and fountain. Homes feature arches, grillwork, a low-pitched red tile roof, and adobe or stucco exteriors.

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