Selecting House Plans: Popular Architectural Styles
American homes borrow styles from across the globe. Certain architectural themes, such as Cape Cod and ranch styles, were born in the U.S. Foreign lands inspired other styles, such as European, Mediterranean and Victorian. In this way, America is a melting pot of architectural styles. Whether you’re better suited to a ranch single-story or a bungalow Craftsman, home plans are available in a cornucopia of styles. Below, we’ve listed eight popular home styles to help you find the best theme for your family.
1. European. Anything from the European continent would fall under this category of home styles, including Spanish home plans as well as French Country, Georgian and Italianate homes. Overall, European styles feature stucco, stone or brick exteriors. Different European characteristics may be combined in a single plan. For instance, Italian windows can compliment vaulted arches from Norman France. Spanish home plans, in contrast, often feature low-pitched clay tile roofs and terracotta decoration.
2. Colonial. In America, the colonial period ran from the 1600s through 1800s. Many different home themes fall within that date range. For example, you may find homes described as Dutch Colonial, Spanish Colonial, German Colonial or French Colonial. Country-specific variations add color to the general colonial style. Dutch homes, for instance, were customarily constructed with brick and stone, so U.S. Dutch Colonials often feature these materials too. Colonial Spanish home plans, in contrast, may showcase interior courtyards. In spite of these country-specific variations, all colonial homes share a few basic traits, including an overall rectangular shape, chimneys on both ends of the house, large square rooms and barn or gambrel roofs.
3. Victorian. America and Britain were enamored with the Victorian style from 1825 to 1900. Victorian house plans’ most noticeable feature is their ornamentation, including bright exterior paint patterns, corbels and gable trim. Victorian house plans often feature decorative railing, sweeping verandas and two-story turrets, as well.
4. Prairie school. Prairie school homes are designed to blend in with the surrounding landscape. Here are a few common characteristics of a home designed in the Prairie School style:
– An indoor/outdoor approach.
– Rows of square windows.
– Low, long lines.
– Overhanging eaves.
– Little ornamentation; prairie school homes are simple and sleek.
5. Coastal. The beach lifestyle fuels coastal home designs. Raised foundations, rows of expansive windows and wraparound porches are common in coastal homes
6. Craftsman. Exposed roof rafters, decorative wood trim, sweeping porches and low-pitched gabled roofs are typical features of Craftsman home plans. In case you’re wondering, the bungalow is a certain category of Craftsman; home plans for bungalows often include stone columns and pedestals, horizontal wood shingle siding and a lower gable hanging over the porch.
7. Cape Cod. Typical Cape Cod features – single story designs, a central chimney and steep roofs – were intended to make life easier during harsh New England winters. (Steep roofs, for instance, allow snow to slide off, reducing the hazard of home collapse under heavy snowfall.) Today’s builders enhance the Cape Cod style with contemporary elements, such as rear garages and dormer windows.
By appreciating these stylistic differences, you can select the best home plans for your family. Regardless of whether you choose Craftsman home plans or a more modern design, your house will add to the melting pot that is American architecture.
Related European House Plans Articles