Architecture, history, and culture are inexorably linked. According to Winston Churchill, “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us.” Architecture is a reflection of a culture’s values, as well as how people live.
So learning about architecture isn’t just about aesthetics. It’s also about your home and family. Whether you’re looking to buy or build a new home or simply fascinated by architectural styles, home architecture styles can seem overwhelming.
Interested in learning more? Read on for some of today’s most popular house designs!
Charming and classic, Cape Cod homes got their name because early English settlers built their home in the Massachusetts Bay area.
The home centers around the chimney and hearth, which provided light and heat to the home. The exterior uses cedar shingles to provide additional insulation, while the steep roof could shed precipitation. Dormered windows are also considered a classic component of the Cape Cod style.
It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that the style came back into use. Today, it is one of the most popular styles in home architecture but is mostly found along the coasts of the northeast.
The colonial period of the United States refers to the years between 1607 and 1776 when North America was part of the British Empire. However, there are several different types of colonial architecture from the various countries that were vying for control of the Americas at the time.
No matter the style, colonial homes are symmetrical and have even proportions. Typically, they are one to two stories in height.
Sometimes referred to as “barn style,” Dutch colonial homes are most distinct for their gambrel roofs. These roofs have four sides, which creates a more sloped pitch. Historically, they feature the classic Dutch door, which closed on the bottom to keep animals out. The top half opened to allow fresh air into the home.
Today, Gambrel roofs are increasing in popularity. If you need roofing professionals for your home building project, make sure to contact ProFormance Roofing.
Federal colonial became popular following America’s independence from Great Britain. Its classic box shape is more decorated than a traditional saltbox style, with more delicate touches.
Classic federal colonial homes feature a fanlight over the front door. Brick or stone features heavily.
Georgian homes usually have curved front porticoes with Greek columns. Many Georgian homes use red brick for the exterior, with high interior ceilings and lots of light.
Most Georgian homes do not have delicate, decorative features. Shutters outside each window are key elements.
Farmhouse architecture and decor have grown in popularity in recent years. In the past, farmhouses were designed for functionality in rural, agricultural areas. But today they’re located in cities in towns throughout the country.
Most notably, farmhouses will have long, covered front porches. Porch swings and rocking chairs are the perfect addition to farmhouse-style homes.
Ranch-style homes are long and low, and usually only one story. They usually have more open living areas, as well as minimal design.
The Arts and Crafts movement began towards the end of the Industrial Revolution. It sought to create high-quality and handcrafted products instead of mass-produced or machine-manufactured items.
The biggest trademark of both the craftsman and bungalow styles of residential architecture is the emphasis on natural materials. Wood, stone, and brick are typical materials, as well as large, covered front porches.
Craftsman homes will often have exposed beams on the interior, as well as lots of natural light from the windows. Many homes will have handcrafted woodwork, built-in shelves, and an open floor plan.
Both craftsman and bungalow-style homes are simpler than many other architectural styles. Low roofs and wide eaves are common to these types of homes. In addition, there is always a connection in style and color between the exterior and interior of a craftsman-style home.
Today, craftsman architecture has made a comeback. But instead of smaller, bungalow-style homes, many homeowners are looking for modern features and a mix of other styles. These newer homes are often referred to as contemporary craftsmen.
Modern and Contemporary
Clean lines and geometric shapes are highlights of modern homes. And in contrast to the colonial style, most modern architecture is asymmetrical. This era developed during the early 20th century as a response to the heavy ornamentation of the Victorian era.
Modern homes have very little ornamentation or elaborate decoration. Instead, construction uses industrial materials such as metal and concrete. They also include natural materials like stone or wood, as well as a more neutral color palette.
Large windows and sliding doors allow an abundance of natural light to flood the open living spaces of a modern home. For many architects, there is an emphasis on sustainable and renewable materials, as well as prioritizing energy efficiency.
For the most part, contemporary architecture is referring to whatever is developing or currently popular at present. Sometimes you will see the terms modern and contemporary architecture used interchangeably, but they’re not quite the same.
As the name suggests, the mid-century modern style was first popular in the 1950s and 1960s as a way of bringing modern design into America’s suburbs. And while similar to modern design, there are a few key differences.
Most mid-century modern homes will make use of bright colors and bold prints in their interior design. Low furniture is also a key characteristic.
On the exterior, minimalist design and flat planes are distinctive of the mid-century modern home.
Country homes are an umbrella term for homes that historically were set on a large tract of land. But depending on the country or area where you lived, this style could look any number of ways.
Typically, country homes are large. In the past, these homes were status symbols for wealthy landowners to demonstrate their success and power. Today, these homes are in cities and towns across the country.
An English cottage is usually smaller than a typical country home. These homes were in rural areas and traditionally feature thatched roofs. The kitchen and living spaces were on the first floor, while bedrooms were under the eaves on the upper level
Today, the English cottage style can apply to a wide range of sizes and locations. However, curved dormers and small windows are key.
French Country/French Provincial
French country is identified by its steep roof, narrow windows, and elaborate landscaping. Exteriors are usually stucco and the use of natural stone walls and timber is common.
Upper levels will often feature narrow wrought-iron balconies. Predictably, French doors are throughout this style of home.
Italian villas serve as the inspiration for the Italianate style. House planning for this type of architecture involves focusing on ornamental design, including decorative corbels, elaborate archways, and transom windows.
When you think of a southern plantation home or mansion, chances are the vision of a Greek Revival home is what comes to mind. These are large, commanding homes that are most notable for their use of Greek columns.
Like colonial homes, Greek Revival architecture is always symmetrical. This was especially important to the ancient Greeks who had exact standards of beauty. Homes are almost always painted or plastered white to take on the appearance of the white marble monuments.
Greek Revival architecture wasn’t just popular in homes. You’ll see this same style used for banks, churches, and government buildings. Most of the federal buildings in Washington, D.C. are neoclassical architecture.
Many of our first experiences building a house is using Lincoln Logs. While this iconic children’s toy may bring back nostalgic memories, the concept behind them is an enduring part of America’s history.
During America’s settlement and westward expansion, log cabins were often the first homes that pioneers were able to construct. They were fairly simple to build, if labor-intensive. These one-room structures would provide shelter and warmth until larger homes could be built.
Log homes are no longer simple, one-room homes. They can be large, open homes with rock fireplaces and large windows to take in the mountain views. If considering home building in the mountains, log homes are popular in areas where coniferous trees are abundant, providing a connection between nature and architecture.
Named after the famous Tudor period of England (between 1485 and 1603), Tudor homes often bring Shakespeare and Henry VIII to mind.
Today, Tudor Revival architecture is known for being constructed half out of brick and half of out timber. The timber portion usually has decorative timber lines painted brown to contrast with the rest of the home’s exterior white and red colors.
Tudor Revival architecture has steep roofs with several gables and narrow windows.
Home Architecture 101
While this is by no means an extensive list of all types of home architecture, these styles listed here are some of the most popular. Best of all, you can pick and choose the style and architectural components that best suit your lifestyle and home.
If you’re interested in learning more about home decor, architecture, and interior design, make sure you check out our website today!