House Styles & Their Histories
When it comes to one’s home, every detail, inside and out, is extremely personal. This is why our job continually stays exciting, and we have fallen in love with different styles. Each home style wasn’t just thought up out of thin air; influences created these styles, and some kings also demanded that certain styles be the only style built. I’ve broken down some of the most common and striking styles to understand better why those homes are the way that they are.
Around 1400, the Tudor style home became popular in the UK with its familiar black and white exterior; this style is exceptionally charming and reminds us of fairy tales. If you ever make it to the UK, you will notice some of these homes are still standing, they are noticeably leaning and slanting with uneven lines, but people live in them, with modern conveniences added, of course. The Tudor style continued to be popular for another 150 years and was then revived in the mid-1800s in the US. The Tudor styles that we see in the US are not the ‘true’ and ‘original’ styles from the 1400s but are a more modern take. The US Tudor style spread throughout the US until the start of the second World War when supplies for this style became scarce and expensive.
How can you identify a Tudor home? An original Tudor home will have steeply pitched gabled roofs or low thatched roofs in some cases, Tall, narrow leaded light windows, low arched doorways, and thatch, tile, or slate roof covering. A ‘mock’ Tudor home in the US will have steeply pitched roofs with numerous overlapping gables and brick construction with decorative half-timbers designed to replicate the timber frames of the originals.
Colonial homes come in multiple forms, that is because they were built in the US by settlers from different European countries. This style started in the 1600s, and homes continued to be built in this style into the 1800s. Then in the 1900s, there was a small revival of the colonial style in the form of what we now call a Cape Cod-style home; however, a true colonial-style home is much larger in size. British colonial, French colonial, Dutch colonial, Cape Cod, and Spanish colonial are all derivatives of the colonial style.
How can you identify a colonial home? As we said above, they come in all different variations. Still, the main identifiers are symmetry everywhere — in windows, doors, columns, even landscaping, a square or rectangular form, two stories, sometimes two-and-a-half, portico or partially covered front door, shutters, and a large or double chimney.
When you imagine a house in your mind, most likely, the image you think of is in the Georgian style; this style is the most popular and sought in the US. This style first appeared in 1714 and was ruled that the home style was built by four consecutive kings, George I, George II, George III, and George IV. Yes, George III, known as the ‘mad’ king who lost the American colonies, had an affection for this style. King George IV died in 1820; his brother assumed the throne and did not rule in favor of the Georgian style, so the popularity died out in 1830. The popularity of the Georgian style continues today, and it came to us while we were under British rule.
How can you identify a Georgian home? Maybe an odd bricked-up window (this was due to a window tax that came into force between 1696 and 1851), Multiple stories – often three to four stories, yall sash windows with lots of smaller panes – fan and arched designs were common too, smaller windows to the third or fourth story, symmetrical exterior, stucco-fronted, often painted white or brick used on the entire exterior, classical elements such as columns, porticos, and pediments, hipped roof, and paired chimneys.
The Victorian-styled home is one of the most easily identifiable styles–gathering inspiration from many different revival styles, the UK mainly built these homes while Queen Victoria was sitting on the throne. Also during that time was the industrial revolution, which meant that this more ornate style was made easily possible as generational wealth was increasing. The population was also booming, which meant builders were busy, and why you will see so many Victorian-style homes throughout the UK countryside. In the US, Victorian homes were built during a similar time period of 1860 to 1900.
How can you identify a Victorian home? There are many styles of Victorian homes. Still, there are common characteristics that are consistent, like patterned or colored brickwork, high-pitched roofs, front door to the side, ornate roof details, slate or clay tile roof, porches, bay windows, a date stone above the front door, arched windows and stained glass windows.
The most practical style of home, the Craftsman, was influenced by the Art and Crafts movement in the UK. This style is not flashy or ornate; it's funny how it became popular in the 1900s after the detailed Victorian style became less popular. The Craftsman was most popular in Southern California, which is why some might refer to this style as a California bungalow. This smaller style home may not have the glam and scale of a Victorian or Tudor style, but they are very cute and charming,
How can you identify a Craftsman? These compact homes will often have a low-pitched roof, exposed rafters and brackets, wide front porches, tapered columns, double-hung windows, and shingle roofs, and are made of natural materials.
Art Deco Style:
From the mid-1920s to the early 1930s, the bold style of Art Deco made a statement in the US. Art Deco is commonly confused with Modern design, but don't be mistaken, they are very different, and Modern architects will say that until they are blue in the face. Strong colors and geometric shapes make this style stick out on a neighborhood street or in a city’s skyline.
How can you identify an Art Deco-style home? Beyond the sleek geometric lines, an Art Deco home has A stepped outline, meaning walls are gradually set back from one another, made of concrete, stucco, or glass tile, flat roofs, bands of windows that may wrap around corners, and occasional curved walls.
Ranch or Rambler Style:
A Ranch style home is the most dependable style, or at least it is in our opinion. The Ranch style came about in the 1920s, but its popularity did not spike until post-war in the 1940s; this style offered the middle class an attractive family home for a good price as the country was rebuilding itself. The Ranch's popularity sustained until the 1970s; these homes are easily recognizable as you will see at least one in every neighborhood.
How can you identify a Ranch? I am sure that we all have seen one. Still, the home will be long and one story, almost looking like it is hugging the ground, with long porches, low-pitched roofs, open layout, sliding glass doors, large windows, shutters, either L-shaped, U-shaped or asymmetrical in form, and may have vaulted ceilings with exposed beams. It offers main-level living at its finest!
I could go on and on about home styles; each one is special in their own way and I wish I could say I have a favorite, but I don't! There are just too many to choose from each with their own perks.