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
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
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
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
-Style of home (Colonial, Ranch, Mediterranean, Cape Cod,
-Number of bedrooms
-Number of bathrooms
-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
Central a site featuring recommendations and resources for
those seeking information about house plans and home designs.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org