When we think of architecture and styles of housing, we usually think solely of aesthetics, how something looks, and whether or not we appreciate that look. However, the style of a house has much more to offer us than a backdrop for our décor.
Southern California has a wonderful mix of residential architecture styles in our diverse neighborhoods. You’ll find everything from historic houses of Victorian, Spanish, and Craftsman styles, to Cottage, French Provincial, and even some builds that incorporate elements from all of the above.
Most home architecture makes a statement about its time in history and reflects how residents were living and using those spaces. For example, we recognize Victorian homes as stately, oversized homes with asymmetrical shapes, vibrant colors, and unique features like towers, gables, or cupolas. These embellishments and unnecessary extravagances give testimony to the opulence of the wealthy homeowners who commissioned their building.
Let’s take a flyover view of some of the most common house styles that you’ll encounter in America today.
What is identified as a traditional home is the most common style in the United States. It is a mix of many typical and classic designs found in our country’s many regions. Common features include little ornamentation, symmetrically spaced windows, and simple roof lines. A typical traditional home might be a Colonial, Georgian, or Cape Cod saltbox. Traditional homes are considered timeless, symmetry is a major focus, and you’ll find architectural details like crown molding, columns, and wood-paneling used through traditional design.
Mid-century modern style incorporates clean lines, open floor plans, clerestory windows, and walls of glass serving to emphasize a connection between indoors and out.
Spanish style houses usually have low-pitched tiled roofs, white stucco walls, and rounded windows and doors. Other features may include courtyards, scalloped windows and balconies with wrought-iron grillwork, and decorative or painted tiles around doorways and windows.
A Ranch style home is characterized by its one-story, pitched-roof construction, built-in garage, wood or brick exterior walls, sliding and picture windows, and sliding doors leading to patios.
Modern homes are very easy to spot. This style of architecture is characterized by lack of all ornament, emphasis of rectangular forms with flat rooves, and oversized glass sliding doors and windows to allow lots of natural light.
Contemporary style homes are always changing. It’s been called the happy medium between a traditional style and a modern style house. It often blends the exterior shape of a traditional style house with modern elements such as large multi-sliding doors, straight lines, and a more open plan layout.
Craftsman bungalows include low-pitched rooflines with overhanging eaves, large shaded porches with square tapered columns, extensive woodwork, double-hung windows, and tiled fireplaces. These homes were heavily influenced by the art-deco trends of the 1920s and 1930s.
It’s hard to choose a favorite, but what style appeals to you most? Leave a comment with the style of house that fits your personality best.