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Introduction To 9 Types Of Architecture
If you’re not interested in architecture, you may be confused when you start shopping for your first home. The vocabulary can be daunting for a newcomer. What’s the difference between a Victorian, a Colonial, or a Tudor? If someone talks about a Craftsman home, what does that mean? To help you wade through the terms and find your dream home, here’s an introduction to 9 different architectural styles you may come across during your house hunt:
Craftsman architecture typically emphasizes the natural elements of the home such as the stone, wood, and brick. These houses will often have wide, open front porches and low-pitched roof. Inside, open floor plans, exposed beams, and built-in furniture are typical.
Contemporary homes focus on connecting the indoors to the outdoors and emphasize energy efficiency and sustainability. They tend to be minimalist in design, with clean lines, irregular shapes, and flat roofs. Windows are often large-paned or floor-to-ceiling, and the home focuses on function.
Cape Cods are small homes inspired by the thatched cottages of England. Their roofs are steeper and their chimneys wider to brave the harsh northeastern winters, where these homes are typically found. They will usually be symmetrical, feature dormer windows, and have decorative shutters and a shingled front façade. Inside, they often have low ceilings as well.
These houses have a boxy, symmetrical shape. They are often multi-story, with the floors all having the same footprint. Colonials have a central doorway flanked by multi-paned windows, narrow clapboard or brick siding, and high-pitched roofs. There will often be dormer windows, and bedrooms and bathrooms in Colonials tend to be on the second floor.
A Mediterranean home typically has a red clay tile roof and plastered walls. The roofs are low-pitched, and the home typically has curved doors and archways. You’ll usually find white or light plastered walls, heavy wood doors, and inside, multicolored tiles. Balconies will often have black railings and the home may surround an inner courtyard.
Modern architecture is similar to and often confused with Contemporary. It boasts the same clean geometry, large windows, and open floor plans, but doesn’t include the environmental emphasis of its brother. Steel, concrete, and other industrial materials are commonly used.
Ranch homes are also sometimes called “ramblers,” and are distinctive for their single-floor layout. These one-story homes may have a basement with a low ceiling and typically have an attached garage. Floor plans are usually open and the home will often be connected to the outdoors.
Perhaps the most distinguishing feature of Tudor-style architecture is the half-timber decorative framing, usually dark and in contrast with the surrounding plaster. They typically have pitched roofs, large chimneys, and high cross-gables. They may have tall, narrow casements and patterned brick or stone combinations. Stained glass windows or windows with diamond-shaped panes are also not uncommon.
Victorian-style houses have more of a “princess” or “gingerbread” look than other architecture – in fact, the ornamental, lacy trim they typically have is sometimes called “gingerbread.” They may have bay windows, wraparound porches, and scalloped wood siding, and can often be found painted in vibrant colors. These homes are tall and narrow, with decorative wooden brackets, steep and pointed roofs, and sometimes even towers.
Although this doesn’t cover all of the minutia of each style and doesn’t begin to cover the many, many, different types and subtypes of residential architecture, this should give you a basic idea of some of the more common styles you’ll come across. It’s a good jumping off point to learn what you like and don’t like about each style of architecture and narrow down the sort of home you’re looking for.
Seth Gold brings his life-long passion for real estate and extensive marketing experience to Domicile Realty. As he works with his clients, he is very aware that they are making one of the biggest and....