Choose An Architectural Style That’s Perfect For You   by Jamie Madison

Most people are attracted to a home for more than its number of bedrooms and square footage. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you are drawn to the individual character of a home.

Part of what makes up that character is referred to as architectural style.

During various periods of American history, different architectural styles were prevalent with builders. If you were to take a home tour around a specific town, you can get a feel for when different neighborhoods were built based on the architecture of the homes. Today, many new homes incorporate different aspects of these styles on the exterior and interior.

The Queen Anne, Gothic Revival and Empire homes are all variations of the Victorian style. Popularized after the Civil War, these homes were most popular in the South and West. With its intricate shapes, elaborate trimming, and fish-scale shingles, these homes truly reflect the Victorian age. Inside, the homes are finely detailed with stained glass windows, elaborate trim and molding, and side-by-side entry doors. Other common elements are wraparound porches and bay windows.

Greek Revival-style homes were built during 1820-1850. Many of its elements represent the style of Greek Temples with columns, gable or double-sloping roofs, and pediments over windows and doors. The windows are usually square and rectangular with fan windows over the entryways. The interiors are symmetrical as well, with detailed woodwork and baseboards.

Colonial homes take on the simplistic style of the original homes of settlers to the United States. Common to this style are the steep roofs with gable ends, clapboard siding and small windows on the outside and wainscoting and chair rails on the inside. A popular variation of the Colonial-style is the Cape Cod, which is usually 1 ½ stories with the front door in the center and two gable (triangular structure) ends.

If you've ever seen a photo of the White House, then you are familiar with the Georgian style home. Built during the period of 1715-1790, the homes were inspired by English pattern books and reflected the wealth of the owner. Inside the home, you could find large, ornate cornices and trim incorporating leaves and shells. The exterior is marked with medium pitched roofs with minimal overhang. The front door is centered with a decorative crown overhead and flanked by flattened columns. There are numerous windows with nine or twelve panes in each.

The Arts and Crafts style, prominent from 1890-1920, was one of the first styles native to America. It originated in Southern California between World War I and II. Some of its features include large porches, exposed stucco or stones, low pitched roofs with large overhang, as well as tall narrow windows grouped together to permit plenty of sunlight. The interiors have open floor plans with built-in cabinets and furniture and natural fireplaces. Similar styles to the Arts and Crafts home include the Tudor, Spanish, Mission, Bungalow and Prairie.

Recognized by its flat roofs, metal casement windows and plain or absent interior molding, the Modern style home is the catch-all style for homes built since the 1920s. This home design generally favors function over style. The Ranch home is probably the most popular variation of the Modern style. The Ranch originated in California in the 1930s, and became popular nationwide in the 1950s and '60s when it became a symbol of the post-World War II American Dream. Common design elements for the one-story home are its pitched-roof, wood or brick exterior, and built-in garage that shares the same roofline with the home. It also favored a patio in the rear of the home in lieu of a front porch.

Knowing the style of home you like can be helpful when looking for a new home. The more information you can give your real estate professional, the better they can serve your needs and get you in your dream home.

Copyright © 2005 FreeHomeBuyingResources.com All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Jamie Madison is a former Realtor® who provides valuable advice for prospective homeowners. Get insider information when searching for a new home or applying online for mortgage loans. Claim your *FREE* Report – “99 Home-Buying Tips” at http://www.FreeHomeBuyingResources.com

An Affordable Shortcut To Designing Your Dream Home   by J. Terrence McDermott

You have likely been making mental notes for years. Every book or magazine that you read and each home that you visit has become a source for pieces to the puzzle that can become your new home. You don’t know a thing about architecture, designing or drafting but that shouldn’t stop you from taking the dream house that you have pictured in your head and making it a reality.

There are two ways that you can approach the creation of new house plans from which a builder can work:

1.Hire an architect
2.Make alterations to an existing house plan

There are many benefits to working directly with an architect. You will be able to sit down with an experienced designer and review, very specifically, all of the ideas and requirements for the home that you have in mind. The architect can give suggestions and help you to avoid problems that you may not have anticipated. However, be prepared to pay handsomely for this service. A good architect does not come cheap.

An economical compromise is to modify existing new house plans. There are hundreds of publications and websites that specialize in developing house plans that are available for purchase. These packaged plans are designed by professional architects and are available in a variety of styles, sizes and price-ranges. In many cases, you can visit a website and enter the various criteria for the home that you desire and an internal search engine will match your specs with plans in inventory.

You should be looking for companies that will allow you to modify existing house plans. Not all of them will. When you find one that has a large enough inventory of plans, take the specifications that you have developed for the house that you want to build and use the site’s search engine to find compatible designs. You will likely be indicating basics such as:

-Style of home (Colonial, Ranch, Mediterranean, Cape Cod, etc.)
-Square footage
-Number of bedrooms
-Number of bathrooms
-Garage
-Type of foundation

While it is unlikely that a plan will be just what you were looking for (though you never know), you may find one that is generally suitable if some modifications can be made to match your specific requirements. For an additional fee, the company will allow you to present written alterations to the existing plan. These changes will then be presented to a staff architect who will incorporate the modifications as requested.

Common modifications include:

-Changing the foundation
-Adding or enlarging a garage
-Reconfiguring a bathroom or kitchen
-Adding to or reducing the size of rooms

Typically, you can make the changes right on the house plan. Written explanations are requested along with the design to insure accuracy. The altered plans are then submitted and an estimate is prepared by the design firm and returned to the customer. Once satisfied, the customer will receive a complete set of blueprints to forward to the builder.

While you may not be able to claim that you personally designed your own home, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that the finished product has your personal touch. And you will be able to afford a few more amenities with the money you saved on an expensive architect.

About the Author

About the author: J. Terrence McDermott is administrator and webmaster for
House Plans Central a site featuring recommendations and resources for those seeking information about house plans and home designs. He can be reached at info@house-plans-central.com
 

 



 

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