Homes in the United States come in all shapes, colors, and sizes. But if you look closely, you may find some that resemble each other closely. In fact, the rich history of our country has contributed to the popularity of some architectural trends in certain specific, discernible areas and regions. You may not necessarily know them by name, but you may recognize a few of these styles — and perhaps, your own home’s architecture follows one of these trends! Here are eight of some of the most popular house styles in America.
1- Craftsman Style
Craftsman style homes were most popular from 1905 to the 1930’s. Also called Arts & Crafts homes, the most notable key characteristics of this style include a low-pitched, gable roof, unadorned, massive tapered columns that help support a porch, and exposed rafters. The architectural styles stemmed from a philosophical movement that emphasized handwork and rejected the mass production attributes of the Industrial Revolution. It also rejected the over-decorated aesthetic of the Victorian era. Craftsman style homes can be found all over America, but are most popular in the Western U.S. However, this style has been experiencing a revival since the 1990’s with many homeowners leaning to a minimalistic, simple, and clean design.
2- Ranch style
A ranch-style home is perhaps one of the most recognizable architectural styles in America thanks to its no-frills, low horizontal profile, typically single-story design (although, there are raised ranch-style homes that are two stories). Other typical characteristics of this style include a U- or L-shaped floor plan and attached garages. They were most popular from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, when there was a notable influx of farmers moving to the suburbs. These new homeowners wanted their houses to reflect the simple, informal lifestyle to which they had become accustomed. This architectural style is the most popular in the Sun Belt region, or the Southern tier of the United States.
3- Mediterranean Revival
Popular in the 1920’s and 30’s, Mediterranean Revival style homes managed to capture the essence of a Mediterranean villa. People were moving toward embracing and valuing leisure time, and nothing screamed opulence, exoticism, and relaxation more than this style. It became a very popular style in warmer states like Florida and California, which were among the first to develop a tourism industry along the coast. These states also shared a Spanish colonial history, which played a key part in forming the aesthetic of the Mediterranean Revival home.Common features of these homes include low-pitched, red-tiled roofs and a stucco and usually white-painted exterior. This style is neither distinctly Spanish nor Italian, but a mix of both.
4- Tudor Revival
Tudor Revival style homes were popular from 1880 to around 1940, and are mainly characterized by steeply pitched, side gable roofs and decorative half-timbering, narrow multi-light casement windows, and walls of stucco or stone. This style stems from an early English form, which came into vogue thanks to wealthy homeowners who could afford to pay for the decorative stone and brickwork. The Tudor Revival home fell out of style after World War II, when there was a resurgence of American patriotism. Homeowners started leaning toward a more distinctly American design, the Colonial Revival style. Tudor Revival homes were most popular on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
5- Colonial Revival
As the name suggests, these homes drew inspiration from the style of the typical colonial homes from the Colonial Era in the United States. They were part of a movement that celebrated an American identity after World War II, though they had been popular from 1880 to 1955. Instead of directly copying the style of those older houses, architects decided to mix and match details from several early styles. Typical characteristics of Colonial Revival style houses include a symmetrical facade, a large accented doorway, and evenly spaced 6-over-6 windows. There are millions of examples of this kind of house all over the country.
6- Cape Cod
Popular from the 1920’s to the 1940’s, Cape Cod style houses are the most popular — as you maybe guessed it — in the Northeast. This architectural style originated with the colonists who came from England to New England, and is typically a one-story cottage with a loft attic space and a symmetrical window placement on either side of a paneled front door. The houses were designed and built to withstand the region’s stormy weather. The term itself was coined in 1800.
7- Queen Anne
The Queen Anne architectural style, sometimes called the Victorian style, is very different from other typically American styles of houses in that it is very ornamental with sculptural shapes. Popular from 1880 to 1910, some key characteristics of the Queen Anne style include the wrap-around front porch (a trait that architects borrowed for other home styles), an asymmetrical facade, bold and unconventional color schemes, classical columns, and round, square, or polygonal towers. Queen Anne homes were a product of the Industrial Age, and ultimately fell out of style with a return to a more simplistic design. A famous example of this kind of house? The Painted Ladies in San Francisco, of course!
8- Neoclassical style
Mostly built from 1895 to 1950, the Neoclassical style pays homage to classical Greek and Roman architecture, and still shows itself to be related to Colonial Revival architecture. It is characterized by tall, massive columns, Corinthian or Composite capitals, a symmetrical facade, elaborate doorways, and evenly spaced windows. The heaviest concentration of the Neoclassical style of building is in the Northeast. It is a popular one for government buildings and universities, but there are many homes built in this style, too: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, in Virginia, is a classic example. Primarily, the style served to show the upward social mobility of the home’s residents.
These are only a few of the many styles homes across America are built. Which one does your home have?
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Disclaimer: The below is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.
Trying to find a new home can be a trying process, especially if you have your family’s needs to consider. You don’t just want to find a house that feels like home — you want it to be in a neighborhood that allows you to live both comfortably and safely. Luckily, NeighborWho has put together a checklist to help you in your search so you can focus on making the right decisions instead of wondering where to start!
Before you start looking…
Before you start looking for a new home in a new neighborhood, when you know that you want to move within the next few months, you may want to have a baseline idea of what you can afford and what you’re looking for. Having a budget is important, since you will likely be taking out a mortgage if you’re trying to buy a home, and you want to account for that and all other living expenses. Similarly, make a list of what’s important to you and your family, such as being close to a park, or being in an area with reliable public transportation.
Agree on a budget.
Create a list of priority amenities, neighborhood features, and recreational opportunities (bike lanes, park accessibility, entertainment).
Once you have an idea, start exploring neighborhoods.
Narrowing down the list of places where you may want to live can be difficult when there are so many great neighborhoods, but it may get easier when you start looking at the details.
Here are just a few considerations to make when choosing a neighborhood.
Accessibility to public transportation: even if you anticipate relying on a car wherever you live, it may be a good idea to live somewhere where public transportation is reliable enough in the event of an emergency.
Proximity to highly-rated schools: This is important if you have children, but even if you don’t, you may want to pick a neighborhood based on the quality of the schools nearby: houses in the vicinity tend to be of higher value.
Commuting time: Your commute to and from work may take up a significant portion of the day, depending on where you live. Evaluate how long you’re willing to travel — and don’t forget to account for traffic and the cost of tolls and gas!
The type of environment: Whether you want to live in the city, the suburbs, or somewhere in between, you should feel content with your choice of environment. A too noisy, or adversely, a too-quiet life may not be your cup of tea.
Proximity to amenities: Chances are, you won’t be able to get everything you want in one square mile, or even in the same neighborhood. But you may want to pick a community where most of what you want is quickly accessible either by foot or by car. There may be a grocery store around the corner, but the dry cleaners is fifteen minutes away! Check your list of priority amenities for a better evaluation of a neighborhood.
Community: Do you want to live in a tight-knit community? Or would you prefer to stay anonymous? This may be an important factor to you, especially if you live far away from a city or town. Talk to the locals for a better idea of what life is like, and check out the community center, if there is one.
Crime rates: Generally, families want to avoid areas with a high crime rate, but the safety level of a neighborhood may not be immediately apparent. Visit the neighborhood’s local police station for more information.
Property tax rates: The price of a home is one thing, but the property tax rates can make or break the decision to live in a certain neighborhood.
Cost of living: Finally, take into account the cost of living in a certain neighborhood: are the amenities priced higher than you’re accustomed to? If the cost of living there doesn’t fit into your budget, you may want to consider a different area.
Before you move…
Congratulations! You’ve made your choice of which neighborhoods you could live in, and may have even found your dream home. If you have already checked out the neighborhood, that’s a great start. But before you move, you may want to get to know your new home a little better. Here are some tasks you may want to accomplish before move-in day.
Walk or drive around the area to get a feel for it. If you have kids, visit schools, libraries and playgrounds.
Talk to people in the area, maybe even your new future neighbors.
Visit a local shop or restaurant to get an idea of what life can be like.
Use local public transportation, especially if you’re going to be using it regularly.
While you’re getting used to your new neighborhood, ask yourself: Will I be happy here? Ultimately, trust your gut: your level of happiness while spending time in a certain area may be a good barometer for how you may feel when you live there!
Want to know more about your neighborhood? Plug an address into NeighborWho’s property finder and see what you can find!
We tend to believe that it’s necessary for a family to move to the suburbs to fulfill their dream of owning a home, and in that case, they must get a car or two to be able to access amenities and services. However, this isn’t entirely true: some small towns across the country offer the pleasures of suburban living while having everything you need within walking distance or accessible via public transportation. Whether you’re looking to retire, settle down with your family, live where there’s more open space, or just find some peace and quiet, here are some great options that may fit your lifestyle.
This quaint, historic riverboat town is nestled on the banks of the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, and is also on the border with West Virginia. It has an important place in the state’s early history: originally, Marietta was a settlement founded in 1788, which then grew rapidly. In other words, it’s a great place for history buffs to live in or visit. Marietta boasts a vibrant downtown area and tons of activities for nature enthusiasts.
If you enjoy both the mountains and the desert, then this is the place for you! It’s the home of the Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage site, which is still occupied — and has been for nearly a millennium. Most amenities and services are reachable by foot or public transportation, and Taos provides many opportunities for recreation: indulge in anything from hiking to skiing to even hot air ballooning.
This charming town’s downtown area has tons of options for restaurants, specialty shops, and historical sites — among them, the Dowling House, the oldest building in Galena. Galena was also home to Ulysses S. Grant. It’s a popular destination for Chicagoans who want to get away from the big city for a weekend. Along with its walkability, this puts Galena on the list of some of the best towns you can live in without needing a car.
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Residents of Lebanon, New Hampshire would likely tell you that there’s no shortage of things to do in this town. From the Farmer’s Market to the Lebanon Opera House, there’s a little something for everyone. And the best part? It’s all accessible on foot or via public transportation: there are small shops and restaurants scattered throughout the city.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale is increasing safety measures to keep the city walkable. Though South Florida may be known to be notoriously dangerous for pedestrians, this small city can have everything you need in one small area. The use of public transportation to get around is also highly encouraged. If you enjoy living close to the beach, but are looking to be able to live without a car, this may be the ideal place to live.
Dobbs Ferry, New York
Escape the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple by living in this waterfront town — even though you’re just a short train-ride away. Within the town itself, there are many restaurants and attractions available in close proximity in the downtown area. With beautiful vistas of the Palisades just across the river, Dobbs Ferry has become a haven for big city dwellers who want to live in the suburbs without sacrificing comfort.
Burlington is known as the home of Ben & Jerry’s, but there’s much more to this town than the ice cream giants. It’s also the home of the University of Vermont. Residents of this vibrant town are split pretty evenly: half commute by car, and the other half prefer walking or taking public transportation. With many services, amenities, and attractions within reach in any given neighborhood, Burlington offers the peace of a suburban space while maintaining a high-energy feel.
Wherever you’re looking to live in the country, there’s a perfect town or city for you and your family.
Check out NeighborWho to find out more about neighborhoods you’re interested in!