December 16, 2016 | Architecture Community
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So you’re planning on buying or building a residential home. It’s a big step and a decision that requires a lot of thinking and research. To some, it’s hard to distinguish the different types of architectural styles. While they may all look just like an ordinary house, there’s actually a significant difference in the types of houses you may be looking at. Architectural style is sometimes hard to distingish, and at other times very easy. The following is a road map to the vast landscape of residential home styles and what might be best for you and your family. 


This style first originated in the 17th century in New England. You can determine the style of this type of house by its steep roof and low frame building. The house is usually two stories high, with a recognizable large chimney. The windows, doors and details are symmetrical with an attention to the street and landscape. 

  • Multi-pane, double-hung windows with shutter
  • Steep gable roof with small overhang 
  • Symmetrical design with clapboard siding                                                                                                                                                                       Designhaus House Hunting


Victorian, or “Queen Anne” houses, became popular in the 21st century. The homes are typically old, with a steeply irregular shaped roof and asymmetrical fade. You’ll also notice that there is textured shingles rather than a smooth wall appearance.  A popular example is the “Painted Ladies” homes in San Francisco. 

  • Front grand porch
  • Feature patterned brick
  • Unique tower rooms that can be used as studies, bedrooms or libraries
  • Large windows, sometimes filled with stained glass are common

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If you want a cozy home with an open porch at your door step, look no more. The craftsman style embraces simplicity and handiwork. You’ll see these houses more than any other, as they are popular in the states. They usually consist of just wood, stone and brick. Inside the home, you can expect to see built-ins, fireplace and exposed beams. It’s an American style built to last.

  • Exposed rafters and beams
  • Low-pitched, front or side gabled roofs
  • Wide door and window casing
  • Natural finished on wood trim
  • Dormer windows and multiple roof planes

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The Art Deco home was considered very popular in Miami in the 80’s. Look for the rounded corners and smooth stucco on the homes with strong exterior decorations. It’s a bold move to purchase this kind of home, which could include neon colors with chrome and glass panels without a driveway or yard. This style was more often used for office buildings than for a home. None the less, these houses still pop up on the market. 

  • Zigzags, chevrons and other stylized and geometric motifs occur as decorative elements
  • Curved corners make up the building
  • Glass-block windows that take up a section of the wall

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The colonial home is known for its symmetrical look. This look is an old time favorite that started in the 1600s. Colonial revivals range in a mixture of all styles which features elaborate front doors, decorative sidelights and symmetrical windows.  

  • Windows that are placed symmetrically on both sides of the centered door
  • Dentils that decorate roof lines as the style
  • Paired chimneys
  • Formal entries that are centered in front of the house with a decorative crown
  • Different styles include Georgian, Dutch, French and Spanish 

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Want a large home but without having to climb stairs? A ranch is for you. These homes are great for starting out, mostly known for the close to the ground profile home with a wide layout. But don’t let the one floor fool you, as most homes have a finished basement that is also very spacious. The plans for the house are very simple; a single story with a low, long roofline that features an asymmetrical rectangular L or U shaped design. 

  • Exteriors of stucco, brick, wood and glass
  • Sliding glass doors opening to the patio
  • Large overhanging eaves
  • Large windows decorated with shutters

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From the early English building traditions, Tudor homes are loosely based off the Late Medieval palaces. Almost all the homes you see will have a wooden stud decorative pattern that is half-timber filled with stucco. The windows consist of being tall and narrow, grouped together. It’s a nice little cozy home that can be accommodating for a small sized family. 

  • Steeply pitched roof
  • Dormer windows
  • Elaborate chimneys
  • Embellished entry made of batten wood that boasts some sort of medieval-looking hardware 

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This home can feature a lot of steel, glass and concrete visually with a very simple layout, including flat planes, open space and large glass windows. You can tell by the architecture that the house is modern with its forward way of thinking. In plain sight, you’re basically looking at blocks shaped together (neatly of course). The modern architectural look tries to stand out and be bold compared to the older styles of architecture. It’s a clean and easy look without much detail.

  • Uncomplicated cladding & wall finishes
  • Simple detailing devoid of decoration
  • Large windows that are from the floor to the ceiling invite natural light
  • Flat roof lines
  • Revamped outdoor space that incorporates the topography of the land

Designhaus House Hunting

The various types of homes that are displayed are just a few of the examples you'll see out on the streets. Each has its' own feature that gives the architectural style their uniqueness. Homes will continue to change. Though there is no right or wrong answer to picking your dream home, it's wise to know what kind of style you are looking for. With that being said good luck and happy house hunting!