When European settlers first arrived in the Americas in the late 1400s, they began constructing homes that took after the styles in their home countries. Brick, wood, grass and other regional materials were fair game when it came to making houses — and builders still use many of these elements today.
While specific details and design features have changed since the 15th century, the fundamentals have not. Here are a few different styles of houses, which trace their roots hundreds of years back yet still retain their charm and beauty today. They have shaped the United States’ architectural history and continue to dominate preferred house styles across the country.
Different styles of houses in our series:
This type of home was most popular in the 1960s but is seeing a resurgence. This style is distinct in that it has at least three levels connected by short flights of stairs. However, there are various kinds of split-levels. For example, a side split is visible from the house’s exterior, whereas the levels in a back split are only noticeable from one side of the building. Moreover, stacked split-levels can have up to six levels, which may or may not be visible from the outside.
Ranches, on the other hand, have simple, one- or two-level floor plans. Many people love them for their open layout and long, close-to-the-ground profile. Most ranches also have an attached garage, deep, overhanging eaves or vaulted ceilings. Like the split-level, this style enjoyed a boom of popularity in the 1960s. However, it underwent a revival in the 1990s. Many people are looking to move into ranches, although not many new ones are being built today.
This style of home is known for low-pitched roofs, adorable porches framed by tapered square columns, and decorative beams and braces. The charm of the craftsman home was attractive to many people in the early 1900s, and they’re just as alluring today. Most showcase local materials and decorative elements, giving each craftsman-style house a unique look and feel. If you’re lucky enough to find an old one in really good shape, you’re sure to find elements that take you back to simpler times.
Victorian-style homes are even older than the aforementioned styles, dating back to the late 1800s. This era was characterized by romance, detail, and rich textures and colors — and so is the Victorian home. However, depending on the location and exact age, these houses have different styles ranging from Italianate to Gothic Revival. Each subcategory has a different kind of charm to offer the modern homebuyer. Generally, most Victorians include a porch, an elaborate exterior and multiple levels.
The most popular home in Connecticut — and likely the entire U.S. — is the colonial-style home. They represent some of the oldest houses in the country, dating back to the 1600s. Often, colonials have fireplaces, brick or wood facades, and two or three stories. It’s also relatively easy to add rooms onto these homes in the rear or along the sides. Many homeowners still live in and build these homes today, although they’re more common along the East Coast.
Bungalows are relatively similar to craftsman-style homes, as they also often have square columns in the front over a porch. There are three different subcategories of these houses — California, craftsman and modern. The California bungalow generally incorporates materials like stucco and redwood, which are popular on the West Coast. Craftsman bungalows have shingled roofs and are dark green or brown to match their surroundings. Meanwhile, the modern style is typically made of brick, glass and concrete.
Cottages emerged in England, known as humble, rural home styles. In the U.S., they evolved to be viewed as both small traditional homes and vacation home options. Their charming architectural details often include brick, thatched roofs and shuttered windows that bring a storybook quality to small living spaces. Plus, homeowners have always embraced this home style’s versatility to make their cottage reflect their design preferences.
Tudor houses may be best known for their prominence in the English countryside, but this is yet another house style that’s made a splash in the New World. These medieval residences showcase brick and/or stucco, a steep, pitched roof and dark timber accents. Their prominence among rich families in the U.S. created an architectural revival in the mid-nineteenth century. Today, these large homes are expensive but classic staples in the real estate market.
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Different Styles of Houses in American Architecture
Across the U.S., different styles of houses have sprung up according to regional climates, customs and design movements. The most popular are still highly valued for their character and charm, despite modern changes. Whether you prefer a charming bungalow, stately Victorian or nostalgic split-level, there’s a house style to match your personality.