Know Your Architecture
Today’s home buyers encounter a melting pot of architectural styles across the United States, ranging from sprawling Queen Annes to clean-lined contemporaries. But which styles reign supreme? For your shopping (and dreaming) pleasure, we've rounded up examples of the 12 most popular styles. Check them out, choose your favorite facade, and then head out on a house-hunting expedition.
This house style emerged from the Arts and Crafts movement of the early 1900s, which rebelled against industrial production and extravagance and instead embraced handcrafted elements and natural materials like wood, stone, and brick. Defining features of Craftsman bungalows include columned front porches, low-pitched roofs, and double-hung windows with divided panes in the upper sash and one large pane in the lower sash.
Originally built by English settlers in the 17th century, Cape Cod homes saw a resurgence in popularity during the 1940s. The quaint structures are recognized by their steep roofs, central chimneys, shingle siding, and symmetrical windows framing the front door.
Many newly constructed homes incorporate a wide variety of architectural influences, giving them a “contemporary” look. Guiding principles of these modern dwellings include sustainability, energy efficiency, open floor plans, and plenty of natural light.
This Victorian-era house style became mainstream in the United States after the Civil War. Often vibrantly colored and asymmetrical, Queen Annes stand out from the pack with their varied rooflines, turrets, spindlework, and prominent front porches.
Related: 11 Crazy Colorful Homes We Love
flickr.com via Jimmy Emerson, DVM
Colonial Revival houses emulate the simple residences of early American colonists, and their reputation boomed after the 1876 Centennial Exhibition instilled a sense of nationalistic pride in the family home. The symmetrical two-story brick dwellings often feature a grand entryway, dormers, and evenly spaced windows with shutters.
Wikimedia Commons via Corey Coyle
Half-timber framing and steeply pitched rooflines define Tudor Revival architecture. Vaguely modeled after English Tudor-era dwellings, this style of home was widely built in the Northeast and Midwest during the 1920s.
flickr.com via Teemu008
Townhouses, sometimes known as row houses, are multistory dwellings stacked side-by-side, often sharing walls with each other. Both space-conscious and practical, townhouses became popular in the early 19th century, and they still endure today, especially in big cities.
Most famously associated with Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie-style homes rely on a low, horizontal aesthetic to dissociate themselves from European influence. They’re usually built to flow with the natural expanses of the American Midwestern landscape.
flickr.com via Steve Silverman
Born of the forward-thinking mindset of the 1940s and '50s, midcentury modern is still one of the most celebrated architectural styles today. This aesthetic embraces open space, large glass windows, geometric lines, and the integration of nature.
Zillow Digs home in Santa Barbara, CA
Neoclassical homes exude grandeur with their iconic full-height columned front porches. The style, which was extremely popular in the United States through the late 1800s, reflected the classical ideals of beauty found in Greek and Roman architecture.
Drawing from the architecture of Spain, Italy, and Portugal, Mediterranean-style homes display red tiled roofs, stucco exterior walls, and elaborate arches. This aesthetic rose in popularity during the 1960s, particularly in warmer states like Florida and California.
Zillow Digs home in Naples, FL
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