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Thursday Night Hikes: Summit Avenue Hikes Architecture Notes - Styles

Observations on Architectural Styles

Summit Avenue Hikes

Assembled by

Lawrence A. Martin

St. Paul, Minnesota

Webpage Creation: August 10, 2001

Architectural Styles

Adam style/Adamesque

The Adamesque style or the Adam style is another name for the Federal style. It is an architectural style that is based on the work of Robert Adam (1728-1792) and his brothers in Scotland and is basically Neoclassical with adapted Gothic, Egyptian, and Etruscan motifs. Adam style houses used decorative motifs (medallions, urns, vine scrolls, sphinxes, and tripods) that were taken from Roman art and are arranged sparsely within broad, neutral spaces and slender margins. The style is characterized by flat grotesque panels, pilasters, elaborate color schemes, and delicate painted ornament, including swags and ribbons. The Adam style does not have a dominant front porch. There is a semi-circular fanlight over the paneled front door. There are usually side windows and an elaborate crown over the door. There may also be a small entry porch. The windows are aligned symmetrically and usually have five across the front facade. The windows are usually double hung with six panels in each half or sash. The style was predominant in England in the late 18th Century and was strongly influential in the United States and in Russia. The style reached America in the years immediately after the Revolutionary War.

American Bracketed

The American Bracketed style is simply a combination of three forms of the day (Second Empire, Italianate, and Queen Anne). It holds to no standards of design and is frequently seen in the South and Upper Midwest. It tends to be charming and traditional in form, as well as, heavily bracketed, thus the name. This form is also generally basic in structural design and elaborate in decoration. Like the Italianate form the actual house is always secondary to the detailing.

American Foursquare

This is a post-Victorian style of single-family house and is prized for its ease of construction, practicality, and roomy interior. The style is a response to the extravagance of the Victorian Era. The American Foursquare is not actually an architectural style but rather a type. There are Colonial Four-squares, Craftsman Four-squares, and vernacular Four-squares. Common characteristics of the type are cubic shape, with a hipped roof, usually with dormers, a broad front porch that wraps around one or two sides of the home, little use of ornament built ins, and a wide variety of materials, including wood and brick.

Art Deco

The Art Deco style (1920's-1940's) appeared in Europe from 1981-1939 and started in the United States as a result of an international exposition of industrial design held in Paris in 1925, the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs. The exposition focused attention on a new design aesthetic that featured elements of Egyptian, Aztec, and Mayan art, all geometric designs. Art Deco combined these designs in new ways, and used machine age materials to create a new, fresh, "modern" look that had no historical precedent. Art Deco ornamentation consists of low-relief geometrical designs, often with parallel straight lines, zigzags, chevrons, and stylized floral motives. The new look eventually caught on in the United States during the 1930's and 1940's, but the style never went mainstream. It was mainly used in the United States as a commercial style of architecture. The streamlining concept was first created by industrial designers who stripped Art Deco design of its fauna and flora in favor of the aerodynamic pure-line concept of motion and speed developed from scientific thinking. As a result an array of designers quickly ultra-modernized and streamlined the designs of everyday objects. This style had two phases: the Zigzag Moderne of the 1920's and the Streamline Moderne of the 1930's and 1940's. Common characteristics are a stucco or poured concrete exterior walls, a geometric form, the use of glass block, the use of steel casement windows, the use of small round windows, curved corner walls, concrete basement walls, and the use of flat roofs with parapet walls.

Art Moderne

Sleek and streamlined, the Art Moderne style emphasized flat roofs and smooth walls which are usually stucco or brick. Simple detailing emphasizes horizontality through banding and window sash configuration. Rounded corners are common. Many of these houses are glazed with glass block or metal casement sash. Rounded bays and towers are less common. The style was popular from the 1920's through the 1940's and is often confused with the related International style.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau style (1880-1910) is an international style of decoration and architecture of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries that is characterized particularly by the depiction of leaves and flowers in flowing, sinuous lines. The name derives from the Maison de l'Art Nouveau, which was an interior design gallery that opened in Paris in 1896. The style is characterized by the use of organic and dynamic forms, curving design, writhing plant forms, and the strict avoidance of historical traits. The style was developed principally in France and Belgium and the leading practitioners of the style were, in Britain, Rennie Mackintosh and Aubrey Beardsley, in France, Guimard and Lalique (1860-1945), in Spain, Gaudi, in Vienna, Gustav Klimt, and in the United States, Louis Comfort Tiffany and Louis Sullivan. The style drew on Baroque, Gothic and Moorish traditions, but was mainly unbounded by rules. The Art Nouveau style exploited the machine and reveled in the possibilities of decorative tiles and wrought iron and was a deliberate attempt to put an end to imitations of past styles and to integrate arts and crafts with architectural forms.

Arts and Crafts Style

The Arts and Crafts style (1910's-1930's) originated in Britain during the mid-19th century when the arts were combined with the crafts to produce high quality houses for the middle class. This style was popular in Britain from 1861-1914, but appeared later in the United States and was particularly popular in California, where the Greene brothers designed many, from hence it diffused eastward. The Arts and Crafts style was expressed in the interior and exterior of houses. On the outside, these houses have a rustic appearance with its steep gabled roofs, overhanging eaves, exposed crafters, and "earthy" building materials of wooden shingles, stucco, and field stones. Dormers and large front porches are common. Arts and Crafts houses use stone, have an exterior chimney, use small, high windows on each side of chimneys, have dormers, which are usually gabled or shed, use triangular knee brace supports, have sloped foundations, use fieldstones for accent on the house or along sidewalks, and have exposed roof beams and rafter tails or ends. Dormers in this style come in many different forms, including gabled, eyebrow, hipped, polygonal, curbed, and shed. Arts and Crafts houses have front porches, which can be built of many different materials and in different forms. The Continental Arts & Crafts Movement was highly influential in the second half of the 19th Century. From the erotic plant forms of the French Art Nouveau and German Jugendstil to the Celtic stylization of the English, this movement was self-consciously redefining all the arts, with a special influence on popular, that is to say hand-crafted, household arts. Arts & Crafts is the generic term for this artistic movement. Art Nouveau refers specifically to the French movement, Jugendstil to the German form, Secession in Austria, Style Moderne in Russia, Gaudi in Spain, Glasgow School and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Scotland.

Baronial or Scottish Baronial The Baronial style became the dominant architectural style in Scotland from the middle of the 19th century. Houses in the style looked like castles of old with their turrets, towers, and fake battlements and mixed architectural elements from many diverse sources including medieval castles and fairy tale French chateuex. The style features a tower, a porte cochem, crow-stepped gables, and bartizans. The tower was often intended to be the focal point of a Baronial house, with crenelated battlements. The porch over the front door of the house enabled the family and guests to dismount from horses, carriages, or motor cars, and to enter the house sheltered from the elements. The gables use a stair-like shape. A "bartizan" is a small turret corbelled out from a wall usually mounted on the top corners of a building. David Bryce (1803-1876,) the eminent Scottish architect, was a prime proponent of the style.


The Baroque style is a European style of architecture and decoration which developed in the 17th Century in Italy from late Renaissance and Mannerist forms, and culminated in the churches, monasteries, and palaces of southern Germany and Austria during the early 18th Century. The style is characterized by the interpenetration of oval spaces, curved surfaces, and the conspicuous use of decoration, sculpture, and color. The late phase of the style on most of the European continent is the Rococo style and the style prevailing in England and France is the Baroque Classicist style.

Baroque Revival

The Baroque Revival style is a 19th Century revival of the European Baroque style that was widely adopted in Great Britain and the British Empire from about 1885 until World War I, particularly for government, municipal and commercial buildings.

Beaux Arts

The Beaux Arts style is a very rich, lavish, and heavily ornamented classical style that was taught at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris in the 19th century. The style was popularized during the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The style was very influential in the United States, with many of the leading late 19th century architects having been trained at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts, including Richard Morris Hunt, H. H. Richardson, and Charles McKim. The Beaux Arts style expressed the taste and values of America's industrial barons at the turn of the century, with great fortunes that were proudly displayed in increasingly ornate and expensive houses. "Beaux Arts" refers to the American Renaissance period from about 1890 to 1920 and encompasses the French Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, and Neoclassical Revivals. The features of the style are a symmetrical facade, roofs that are flat and low-pitched (Mansard, if modeled after French Renaissance Revival), wall surfaces with decorative garlands, floral patterns, or cartouches dripping with sculptural ornament, facades with quoins, pilasters, or columns (usually paired with Ionic or Corinthians capitals), walls of masonry (usually smooth, light-colored stone), a rusticated first story, large and grandiose compositions, an exuberance of detail and a variety of stone finishes, projecting facades or pavilions, the use of paired colossal columns, enriched moldings, free-sanding statuary, windows framed by freestanding columns, a balustraded sill, and a pedimented entablature on top, and pronounced cornices and enriched entablatures that are topped with a tall parapet, balustrade, or attic story.


The Bungalow style (1910's-1930's) has had a considerable evolution. The word "bungalow" has its origin in British India, where it was used to describe one-story houses with encircling porches. In California, where the term was first applied in the United States, the style referred to small-scale, one-story, Queen Anne-style cottages which were built in great profusion during the 1880's and 1890's. Gradually the style spread eastward, which is the reverse direction for most house style diffusion. Bungalows became popular in the small Midwestern towns from the 1910's to 1930's. These narrow rectangular houses have low-pitched gable or hipped roofs and small front porches, usually enclosed by screens. Mail-order catalogs, such as Sears and Roebuck, sold floor plans and materials for bungalows throughout the United States. Following the tradition of the Craftsman movement which stressed utility and simplicity, the Bungalow became a symbol of the movement with its low, overhanging roof, broad porches, and simple horizontal lines. Classic bungalow lines have a low-pitched roof, battered piers on a brick porch with stucco walls and exposed brackets, and a roof with wide overhanging eaves to provide a very low silhouette. Identified as the most common example of Craftsman architecture, the bungalow spread quickly across the country during the early 20th century. The typical Bungalow is a one or one-and-one-half story, wood or masonry structure, with a gently pitched, front or side gable roof. An additional gable occasionally covers an open porch and the overhang is usually supported by battered or "elephantine" porch piers or thick columns. Some bungalows have clipped gables, shed dormers, or exposed rafter ends, but almost all have a front porch. Modest forms of bungalows are 1-1.5 stories, have long, rectangular volumes, use a ridgepole that is perpendicular to the street, have hipped roofs, and have small front porches.

Byzantine Revival/Neo-Byzantine

The Byzantine Revival style is a re-use of Byzantine forms. It incorporates elements of the Byzantine style associated with Eastern and Orthodox Christian architecture dating from the 5th through 11th centuries.It dates from the second half of the 19th Century, typically in churches, and features multiple domes, rounded-arched windows, and ample decoration. It is often seen in vernacular amalgamations with other Medieval revivalist styles such as Romanesque, Gothic, Mission Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival.

California Ranch

The California Ranch style (1950's-1960's) is a long rectangular-shaped, single-story or split-level house that predominated in the suburbs of the late 1950's and 1960's. They have very low pitched or hipped roofs, which cover one- or two-car attached garages. The ridge poles of these houses are parallel to the streets, and hence these houses requiring large, expensive lots. This style comes in simple, inexpensive and expensive forms, depending on the materials used. Most California Ranch houses are one story, long, use rectangular volumes, have hipped roofs, and have a ridge pole parallel to the street.

Cape Cod

The Cape Cod style (1940's-1950's) is actually a substyle within the Colonial Revival Period. The style is actually a faithfully and carefully rendered revival of exterior reproductions of British, New England, and Virginia originals from the Colonial period of the 1600's and 1700's. The style was encouraged by a wide dissemination of photographs, measured drawings, and details of the original homes in books and periodicals from 1900 to 1950. The Cape Cod is a simple one-and-a-half story rectangular box, capped with a side-gabled roof. It usually has a large central brick fireplace and multi-paned windows. Common characteristics of the Cape Cod style are a 1.5 stories tall house, the use of small, rectangular volumes, the use of gabled roofs, often having several small dormers, the use of horizontal lap siding and wide wooden clapboards (often later cover by aluminum siding), the use of garages that are either detached or attached to the houses, the use of a steeply pitched side gabled roof, the use of a large chimney, the use of a symmetrical facade, and the use of multi-pane windows.

Carpenter Gothic

The Carpenter Gothic examples are more picturesque and decorative than the Gothic Revival style, and is used in both churches and houses. The system of balloon framing with mill-sawn lumber that developed in the period 1830-1860 made possible thinner, lighter walls, and thus provided more flexibility in design. Carpenter Gothic houses often ignored the severe, symmetrical massing of classical styles, such as Greek Revival, in favor of off-center forms and complex interior spaces. These structures are generally wood-frame and feature board and batten siding, decorative bargeboards, pointed-arched windows, and a steeply pitched roof. The style uses wood embellishments instead of brick or stone. The result is a strange menagerie of gingerbread and siding. It features "dripping" bargeboards, vergeboard trim, vertical siding, steep-pitched roofs, symmetrical floor plans, exaggerated/elongated gables, elongated finials, pointed-arch windows, one-story porches, steep cross gables, and bay & oriel windows.


The Chateau style was popular during the period 1860-1910 and is characterized by massive and irregular forms, steeply pitched hip or gable roofs with dormers, towers, and tall elaborately decorated chimneys with corbeled caps. The Chateauesque style became fashionable in the 1880's due to the influence of New York City's famed Vanderbilt mansion (Built in 1879, Architect: Richard Morris Hunt). The style was based on 16th century French chateaux. Common characteristics are vertical proportions, massive-looking masonry walls, mix of "Gothic" and "Renaissance" ornament, and high-peaked hipped roofs, elaborate dormers, and tall chimneys. The Chateauesque style has spires, turrets, gables, and shaped chimneys and a roof that is steeply pitched and usually hipped. The front entrance is centered with a stone arch, the walls are masonry and stone, and there are many dormers usually extending through the roof-line. Fašade details are found in cladding material and the windows and doors are often ornamented with shallow relief carvings, Gothic tracery, and stone mullions. This style was often reserved for large architect-designed estates.

Chicago School

The Chicago School style is noted by the design of the second story windows, where large picture windows are flanked with double hung windows. This design was commonly found on many buildings constructed in Chicago during the 1910's and 1920's. Common characteristics are the use of a large picture window flanked by double-hung windows and its function as a commercial structure or a storefront.

Classical Revival/Jeffersonian Classicism/Roman Classicism

The Classical Revival style (1790-1830) is an American version of European Neoclassicism and competed with the Federal style. The chief proponent of Roman Classicism was Thomas Jefferson who studied Andrea Palladio's Four Books of Architecture, especially his Villa Rotunda, when he was designing Monticello and the University of Virginia. Jefferson had been exposed to Palladio's influence in European Neoclassicism when he was ambassador to France. The style is characterized by monumentality, by a strict use of the Classical orders (Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, Composite, Tuscan), and by a sparing application of ornamentation.

Colonial Revival

The term "Colonial Revival" refers to the entire rebirth of interest in the early English and Dutch houses of the Atlantic seaboard. Faithfully and carefully rendered exterior reproductions of British, New England and Virginia originals from the Colonial period of the 1600's and 1700's acted as the underlying theme for the upscale Colonial Revival house. This was encouraged by a wide dissemination of photographs, measured drawings and details in books and periodicals from 1900 to 1950. The new style brought with it a change in the fundamental design of buildings. Americans had progressed from walking to driving to work in their new motorcars. As a result, wide front porches began to disappear or move to the side to make room for garages. The spacious front porches of the Craftsman period were virtually unknown in the new house designs of the Colonial Revival period. Garages became more numerous, detached in the Twenties, but increasingly attached in the Thirties. Lots became larger and landscaping for ordinary homes became the theme of the home magazines. On the interior, a plethora of designated rooms appeared: telephone nooks, maid’s rooms, breakfast rooms, broom closets, radio rooms, and even spaces earmarked for refrigerators. For the first time, one-and-a-half, two, and two-and-a-half baths were common even in middle class residences. Within the movement, several substyles can be found, including the Dutch Colonial, the Cape Cod, and the Williamsburg. Each sub-style has a historical precedent. One of the more interesting characteristics of the Colonial movement was the replication of the Colonial style in all components of the home. Common characteristics are a gable roof boxed over-hanging eaves with cornice returns, sidelights and fan windows, decorative columns, decorative cut-out shutters, and multi-pane windows.


The Contemporary style is characterized by their odd-size and often tall windows, their lack of ornamentation, and their unusual mixtures of wall materials--stone, brick, and wood, for instance. Architects designed Contemporary-style homes (in the Modern family) between 1950 and 1970, and created two versions, the flat-roof types and the gabled types. The latter is often characterized by exposed beams. Both breeds tend to be one-story tall and were designed to incorporate the surrounding landscape into their overall look

Cotswold Cottage The Cotswold Cottage style is a subtype of the Tudor Revival house style and is a quaint English country style based on the cottages built since medieval times in the Cotswold region of southwestern England. The style, in vogue during the 1920's and 1930's, features a sloping, uneven roof, that is sometimes made of pseudo-thatch, brick, stone, or stucco siding, steep gables, a prominent brick or stone chimney, the use of casement windows with small panes, the use of small dormer windows, an asymmetrical design, low doors, small, irregularly-shaped rooms, and sloping walls in rooms on the upper floor. The Cotswold Cottage may also be called an Ann Hathaway Cottage, a Hansel and Gretel Cottage, or simply and English Country Cottage.

Counter Culture

The Counter Culture style (1960's-1970's) is represented by two types of contemporary folk house styles were popular during the 1960's and 1970's, when the Counter Culture Movement reached its peak in the United States. The two types are A-frames and Geodesic Domes. Although A-frames are commonly used for vacation homes, their simple construction made them ideal for novice builders of the 1960s. The open interior spaces also appeal to the people who wanted to create communal lifestyles. Buckminster Fuller popularized Geodesic domes with his design for the U.S. pavilion at the Montreal World's Fair of 1967. Its structural design and open interior space appeal to the one-earth view of "hippies."


The Craftsman style (1905-1930) is named for Gustav Stickley's magazine The Craftsman and is the architectural facet of the Arts and Crafts movement of that period. Gustav Stickley (1858-1942) so synthesized, romanticized and popularized the Arts & Crafts style of architecture during the first two decades of this century that today the style is known generically as "Craftsman." However, only one house originating from plans published by Stickley through his magazine The Craftsman can be a true Craftsman Home. He published descriptions and drawings of homes in this magazine beginning in 1901. It was a fundamental tenet of Arts and Crafts advocates that form should follow function and that good design and hand craftsmanship should supplant useless ornamentation and shoddy "industrial" workmanship. Craftsman houses feature strong architectural details (like rafters exposed at the eaves) and "natural" materials: wood (stained, not painted), stone, ceramic and clay tiles, hammered copper. Stickley published a book of his designs in 1909, and encouraged readers to build their own houses and many surviving Craftsman houses are thus copies or adaptations of designs developed by Stickley and his architects. The Craftsman style was popular at the same time as the American Foursquare, 1910-1930, but is rather different in aesthetic and effect. Craftsman houses were consciously intended to be picturesque. Often the style is asymmetrical and uses a large variety of building materials (brick, stone, stucco, clapboards, and half-timbering), fancy exposed carpentry of some type, and a large variety of roofs and roofing materials (ceramic tiles, concrete tiles, asphalt shingles, imitation thatching, hipped, gabled, and composite). Many Craftsman houses are one-and-a-half story cottages that attempt to convey a sense of coziness and quaintness. A Craftsman Home has refinement of design and quality of construction and finish, with the following elements:

(1) It is often site related and placed to advantage using the site.

(2) The house is built with materials found on the site, and/or natural materials native to the region.

(3) The house designs rely on exposed structural elements for decorative details. The variety of natural materials provide textures for light to play on.

(4) Voids, in the form of recessed porches and entrance ways, and terraces and pergolas, create visual interest.

(5) Interiors emphasize form and function. Space is conservatively and creatively used for living, with design elements utilizing wood and built-in spaces such as inglenooks, benches and cabinets.

(6) Light fixtures and hardware relate as design elements.

Stickley designed at least 241 homes and published over 221 plans. They will be found mostly in areas around cities where the first suburban expansion took place. In larger cities, they will be found in areas serviced at the turn-of-the century by commuter railroads and street cars. They will also be found in towns with universities or art communities. It is unclear who designed the Craftsman houses. There are many different styles in the renderings, indicating different draftsmen at work. No architects are listed on Stickley's payroll records. Stickley's house designs can be divided into four periods:

The Experimental period was from 1900 until 1903. The prototypical Craftsman House appeared, a suburban house "by the United Crafts," in an article by editor Irene Sargent. The design of the interior resembles the furniture-massive, plain and simple. In early 1903, several houses designed by architect E. G. W. Dietrich appeared and the term "Craftsman House" was first used. During 1903, architect/designer/artist Harvey Ellis ( -1904) came to work for Stickley and his designs were more art nouveau-looking. After Ellis' death the overt influences gradually disappeared, as Stickley reverted to plainer and more rectilinear designs.

The First Mission period was from 1904 until 1907.

The Mature period was from 1909 until 1915. These houses were more unified visually-their style is consistent. The interior was often designed around a fireplace inglenook. Stickley believed that the fireplace could be the center of indoor family activity-the recreation room.

The Final Mission period was in 1916. Stickney went bankrupt in 1916. These houses were probably designed by George Fowler, who along with Roberts and the rest of the staff, founded The Touchstone, when The Craftsman finally ceased publication. Art World magazine later acquired The Craftsman name.

Creole Cottage

The Creole Cottage, which is mostly found in the South, originated in New Orleans in the 1700's. The homes are distinguished by a front wall that recedes to form a first-story porch and second-story balcony that stretch across the entire front of the structure. Full-length windows open into the balconies, and lacy ironwork characteristically runs across the second-story level. These two- and three-story homes are symmetrical in design with front entrances placed at the center. "Creole French," a variation of the basic Creole design, came into vogue in southern states in the 1940's and 1950's.


The Cubic style (1900-1920's) is a smaller and simpler variation of the New England Four-over-Four, or New England Colonial Revival. The distinctive feature of this style is its squarish floor plan and cubic volume. Typical of the early 20th century, this style is very plain and has only simple front porches, if any, and the elaborate features of the Victorian era of the late 19th century are gone. Most Cubic houses are two stories, without dormers or with dormers on the next story, a small, front porch only, a pyramidal roof, and a center chimney for a furnace in the basement or an end chimney for a fireplace.

Dutch Colonial

The Dutch Colonial style is actually a substyle within the Colonial Revival Period. The style is actually a faithfully and carefully rendered revival of exterior reproductions of early homes of New Amsterdam area from the 1600's and 1700's. The style was encouraged by a wide dissemination of photographs, measured drawings and details of the original homes in books and periodicals from 1900 to 1950. The Dutch Colonial house is readily identifiable by its gambrel or "barn-like" roof. Like a barn, this roof type allowed for more storage space, or headroom, in the second floor. Two periods of the style exist. During the early period, the entrance to the building is found on the gable or gambrel end. During the later period, the entrance is found on the long of side gable end. Common characteristics are a gambrel roof, decorative shutters, a symmetrical facade, the use of multi-pane windows, and horizontal lap siding.

Early Classical Revival

The Early Classical Revival style (1770-1830) can be considered a transitional style between the Federal and Greek Revival styles. In common with Georgian and Federal houses, an Early Classical Revival house usually has its long axis parallel with the street and a symmetrical facade. The front facade usually features a portico or entrance porch supported by columns of Greek or Roman design. Rooms are often arranged less symmetrically than in Georgian and Federal houses.


This decorative style is named for Charles Locke Eastlake (1833-1906), an English interior designer and critic of Gothic Revival Style. It is more vertical than Queen Anne style. Porch posts, railings, balusters, barge boards, braces and pendants were characterized by a massive and robust quality. These members were worked or turned on a mechanical lathe, giving the appearance of heavy legged furniture of the period. Large curved brackets, scrolls, and other stylized elements often are placed at every corner, turn or projection along the facade. Perforated gables and pediments, carved panels, and a profusion of spindles and lattice work found along porch eaves add to the complexity of the facade. These lighter elements combined with the heavier and oversized architectural members exaggerated the three-dimensional quality.

Eclectic Style

Given the wide variety of Revival architectural styles of the Victorian period, it is not surprising that many houses exhibited a mixture of several styles. Since Victorian styles were less formal and rigid in their requirements than the earlier Federal or Greek Revival designs, many turn-of-the-century architects felt free to borrow individual elements from different styles to create their own particular designs.

Edwardian Vernacular

Edwardian vernacular structures are basically post-Victorian residences, similar to the Queen Anne style in form and massing, but lacking ornamentation. The style is sometimes called Princess Anne. These buildings feature multi-gabled roofs, asymmetrical massing, simple surfaces, and occasionally wrap-around porches, a short tower, and some classical details.

Egyptian Revival

The Egyptian Revival style was sparked by the discovery of Tutenkhamen's tomb in 1922 and was especially applied to funerary architecture. The Egyptian Revival style was one of the more exotic products of the 19th Century romantic approach. It was primarily used in churches, prisons, cemeteries, and movie-palaces of the 1920's. The style features battered walls, the use of roll or rope-like moldings, the use of a bundled shaft, the use of a Lotus flower capital, the use of a smooth ashlar finish providing a monumental effect reminiscent of pylons or gateways to Egyptian temples, the use of a deep cavetto or gorge-and-roll cornice (Egyptian cornice), the use of Lotus-flower capitals on columns, a smooth finish, a building bottom that is distinctly larger than the top of the building, the use of Cavetto cornices, the use of a symmetrical design, the use of Egyptian relief decorations, and the use of flat roofs generally.

Elizabethan, Tudor, Half-Timbered

The Elizabethan, Tudor, Half-Timbered style (1900's-1930's) is another of the many Revival Style houses of the early 20th century. Half-timbering was characteristic of buildings in Medieval Europe (5th-14th centuries) when beams held up buildings and the spaces between the beams were filled with sticks and plaster or bricks. In the United States, however, half-timbering is only a decorative, although distinctive, covering of frame construction. These were usually very expensive house with massive sculptured chimneys with chimney pots, reddish bricks and stucco, complicated peaked roofs, and small leaded glass windows.


The Federal style (1780-1820) is named for the American Federal Period (i.e., the period after 1776). Federal is thus considered an American style that is distinct from the (Colonial) Georgian style which preceded it. Federal houses resemble the English "Adam" houses (named for the brothers Adam, who were Scottish architects and designers of interiors and furniture) from which they are stylistically descended. Federal houses resemble Georgian houses superficially, but feature more delicate detailing and incorporate such innovations as fanlights and sidelights in the entry-door composition.

Federal Art Deco

The Federal Art Deco style employs classical proportions and massing while exhibiting a "stripped-down" appearance.

Federal Vernacular Town Houses

During the Victorian period, several new types of vernacular town house styles developed. The earliest were similar in appearance to Federal vernacular town houses. As the period continued, the size of the building began to increase, with more and larger units in each building than was common in the Federal period.

Fireproof/Concrete Block Style

The Fireproof style dates to the early 1900's, when brick, cement block, and asbestos shingles were marketed as economical "fireproof" choices for the small suburban house. The brick and cement were often applied as a veneer on a groundwork of lath over a standard wood balloon frame. The style features a cast cement or molded cement block exterior, projecting eaves on a hipped roof, with diamond-pattern asbestos shingles, and a dormer, one-over-one double-hung sash windows, a hipped roof porch with square piers and coping, and an interior with built-in cupboards, a cozy inglenook, with built-in benches and a ceramic tile floor, with oak swinging doors, sometimes with lead glass.

Folk Victorian

The Folk Victorian style (1870-1900's) comprises many styles, including the Upright-and-Wing houses. Five principle subtypes occur, the Front-Gabled, the Side-Gabled, the Upright-and-Wing, the Pyramidal, and the Two-Pen. These vernacular house styles are less elaborate than the high Victorian styles which they mimic and characterize working class areas in cities and farm houses in the countryside. The Folk Victorian style uses a symmetrical fašade with jigsaw cut trim and bracketed porches with spindlework detailing.

French Chateau

The steeply pitched gable or hip roof and multiple towers with conical roofs are the distinguishing features of the Chateau style. Dormers with shaped, gabled, and paired windows divided by mullions and transoms are also common characteristics. Vernacular examples also exhibit elements of the style on a smaller scale. Towers with conical roofs and dormers in the steeply pitched roof are frequent.

French Colonial

The French Colonial style frequently uses brick or stone with a hipped roof. Early versions of the style often were only one-room deep with outside entrances to each room and tall, slender, shuttered, multi-paned windows. Rural versions of the style sometimes have a raised front porch with the main overhanging roof that is supported by slender wooden posts. Urban versions of the style often have painted, wrought iron balconies. The prime architectural concern is the dispersal of summer heat and humidity. Brick versions of the style are often painted white. The style often features a roofed, pavilion style porch that extends around on all four sides, even on two-storied structures, and window treatments are usually very simple, and arched doors and windows are not uncommon. The most unique part of a French Colonial structure was the foundation, either the "maison de poteaux-en-terre," which was built on upright posts driven into the ground, or the "post on sill" or "poteaux-sur-sole," which had a mammoth timber frame built directly on a sill. Without interior halls, rooms in a French Colonial style house would open to the all-encompassing porch.

French Eclectic

French Eclectic homes (1915-1940) combine a variety of French influences. The style shares a common Medieval English tradition, use half-timbering with a variety of different wall materials as well as roofs of flat tile, slate, stone or thatch, but does not use a dominant front-facing cross gable. The style has a very tall hipped roof, sometimes with a slight upward tilt at the eaves, uses hinged French doors leading to balconies or patios instead of sliding glass doors, uses paired casement windows hinged at the side and opening at the center, and uses functioning shutters, often with working louvers.

French Normandy

The French Normandy style (1900's-1930's) originated in Normandy of France where houses and barns were attached. The central turret was used for the storage of grain or silage. In the United States, the French Normandy style was an expensive Revival Style that was characterized by cutstone, elaborate roof lines, and frequently a two-car built-in garage. Most French Normandy houses have two or more stories, an exterior wall of reddish bricks, cutstone, and/or stucco, a central turret with entrance and staircase, massive chimneys, steep, complicated roofs, and sometimes half-timber decorations.

French Provincial

The French Provincial style (1900-1930) is another Revival style of the early 20th century. This formal looking style is similar to the "rustic" French Normandy style. Most French Provincial houses have French windows or shutters, a high, steep hipped or gable roof, balanced appearance windows, second-story windows that break through the cornice, and the use of expensive materials, such as copper, slate, or brick.

French Renaissance Revival Style

The French Renaissance Revival style (1840-1890) is characterized by a studied formalism found in the Renaissance style and was popularized by Richard Morris Hunt (1827-1895), the first American to study at the prestigious L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris and an architect who designed buildings for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. French and Italian Renaissance architecture were the models for this style. The characteristics of the style are ashlar masonry accentuated with rusticated quoins, architrave framed windows, and doors supporting entablatures or pediments, a belt or string course that may divide the ground or first floor from the upper floors, and small square windows that indicate the top story.

Garrison Colonial

The Garrison Colonial style (1935-1955) is a sub style of the Colonial Revival. The cantilevered second story is typical of this style, as are some sort of ornamentation underneath the second story and all wooden siding or brick and wooden siding on the second floor.


The Georgian style (1700-1780) is named for the English kings of the 17th and 18th centuries (i. e. George I, George II, George III, and George IV.) The earliest Georgian houses in the U.S. were built during the Colonial period, so it's considered a Colonial style. Classical Georgian houses are characterized by having:

(1)their long axis parallel to the street;

(2)a symmetrical front facade with a central entry and usually two windows on either side, echoed in two-story examples by a row of five windows above; and

(3) either a massive central chimney (most common in the North) or a pair of chimneys, one at each end of the house (most common in the South).

The style is typified by Renaissance-inspired classical symmetry, two rooms deep, two rooms high (a Four over Four plan), central or end chimneys, classical detailing, transom lights, and pilasters around door. If hipped roof, the style is known as a British Georgian.) If featuring a side-gable roof, the style is known as an American Georgian. If showing only one "side" of a full Georgian, the house is a "half Georgian." Georgian-style houses have been built in the U.S. for over 200 years, and are still being built today. Early examples are of post-and-beam construction while later ones are balloon-framed (late 19th-early or 20th century) or platform-framed (late 20th century). The Georgian style can be subdivided into Early and Late Georgian. Early Georgian houses are simpler, and often have gable roofs (frequently dormered) and floor-to-ceiling wood paneling in some of the rooms. Late Georgian houses are more complex and ornate, often having hipped roofs and one-third-height paneling. While New England abandoned the Georgian style mostly by 1800, Pennsylvania continued building Georgian row houses until the 1860's.

Gothic Cottage

Following the tradition of A.J. Downing, the Gothic Cottage is also picturesque style, and features board and batten siding, on occasion, pointed-arched windows, a steeply pitched roof, and some "gingerbread" decoration. Its chief characteristics are a steep central gable and a one-story veranda.

Gothic Revival

The Gothic Revival style (1830-1880's) developed in England, inspired by the influential English theorist and designer A. W. N. Pugin (1812-1852), became popular in the United States, was widespread by the 1840's and 1850's, spread by architects Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing, and continued to be built after the American Civil War. This romantic style is best characterized by the pointed-arched window, the steeply pitched roof, and a picturesque composition. The English/French examples are predominately ecclesiastical and are vernacular versions of late Medieval churches. Characteristic elements include massive towers, either flat or topped by a spire, stepped and flying buttresses, deeply recessed openings, steeply pitched roofs, pointed arches, and masonry construction. These picturesque country cottages are distinguished by pointed arched windows which are combined with towers, steep gable roofs, lacy bargeboard, verandas, and bay and oriel windows. With the invention of scroll saws, or jigsaws, wood trim was mass produced in elaborate forms and resulted in the development of the Carpenter Gothic substyle. The Gothic style in the form of public buildings is called Collegiate Gothic and was popular well into the 20th century for churches and for schools. Most Gothic Revival houses have pointed arched windows combined with towers, steep, gable roofs, lacy bargeboards, large verandas, and bay and oriel windows.

Greek Revival

The Greek Revival style (1825-1860) came into being as a result of the first organized archeological excavations of ancient buildings in Greece. Greek Revival houses were designed to resemble classical Greek temples. Accordingly, they were often built with a gable end facing the street (a 90-degree rotation from earlier practice), and feature a front facade that includes, below the low-slope gabled roof, a deep entablature (representing a heavy stone lintel) supported by classical columns. High-style examples often incorporate full-height (e.g., two-story), free-standing columns of classical Greek design supporting a portico. Elements characteristic of this style are pedimented lintels and architraves over windows and doors, pilaster boards at the corners, engaged piers, transoms and sidelights surrounding entrances, and slim, refined Doric columns. The most easily identified features of Greek temple-front buildings are columns and pilasters, bold and simple moldings, pedimented gables, and heavy cornices with unadorned friezes. Vernacular (builder-designed) houses are simpler, usually having pilasters applied to the corners of the front facade, "supporting" the characteristic deep entablature that tops the walls. Some vernacular Greek Revival houses are oriented with a gable end facing the street, with the front entrance at one end of the facade (known as a "corner entrance"). Others are oriented with the long axis parallel to the street and have symmetrical facades. The Greek Revival style is more appropriately called the Greek "Survival" style, and began in the Eastern United States in the 1820's and was gone by 1860.

"I" House

The "I" style (1820-1880's) is a one-room deep, two-room wide, and two story structure that looks like a capital "I". The term was coined by noted architectural historian, Markus Wiffin, who found this style of home in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois. The "I" House is more of a type than a style of home. The form, however, is found all across the United States in hundreds of communities and rural areas. Its design is a two story rectangular box, covered with a side-facing gabled roof. Many have a full width front porch and an attached one-story wing to the side or rear called an "ell." These very skinny, tall houses almost always lack decorative details. Most were built in the late 19th century, which is indicated by scroll work on porches, tall vertical windows, and narrow clapboard. Wealthier families embellished the "I" house with filigree wooden grillwork and perhaps a gabled dormer. Most "I" houses are located outside of the city boundaries and represents the earliest type of frame houses likely to be found in rural areas of the county. Common characteristics of the style are a skinny, tall two story rectangular box, a side facing gable roof, a symmetrical facade, tall, vertical windows, narrow clapboards, a full width porch, scroll work on porches, and simple detailing. Two I-styles put together make an Upright-and-Wing.

International/Contemporary Style

The International style (1930-1960's) is based on "modern" structural principles and the use of manufactured materials such as concrete, glass, and steel. Bands of glass, which create horizontal feelings, are important design features. Buildings are cantilevered over basement footings. Artificial symmetry and decorations are avoided and balance and regularity is stressed. Almost all International style houses are just one story, but it is possible to apply the style to a two story building, especially if it is substantially hidden from view by landscaping or foliage. The International style was commonly used for commercial buildings from the 1940's to the 1960's. This style appeared first in large metropolitan centers and gradually was accepted in smaller cities. Most International houses have a flat roof, a horizontal "boxy" look, cantilevered rooms over the basement, corner placed casement windows, and a poured concrete basement. Distinctive characteristics of the International/Contemporary Style include simple geometric forms, often rectilinear, reinforced-concrete and steel construction with a nonstructural skin, horizontal proportions, commonly asymmetrical, a banding of windows, broad, flat walls, wide boxed over-hanging eaves, flat roofs, metal casement windows, windows wrapping around corners, large areas of floor-to-ceiling glass or curtain walls of glass, a lack of ornamentation, a cantilevered upper floor or balcony, and stuccoed exterior walls. The style grew from the work of Le Corbusier of France, and Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe of Germany. They were all working without historical precedent to design new buildings that utilized the latest technology of the day. During the 1930's, their ideas were eventually introduced to the United States. Many American architects learned of the style through an influential exhibit in 1932, at New York City's Museum of Modern Art, developed by architectural historians Henry Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson. The style has three basic principles:

1) architecture as volume rather than mass;

2) regularity rather than axial symmetry; and

3) the absence of arbitrary applied ornamentation.

The style never went mainstream and most true International Style buildings were constructed for wealthy clients by famous architects in major cities.

Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance style (1910-1930) are literal interpretations of Italian architecture and are generally designed by architects rather than being built from pattern books by local builders. Houses in this style are usually constructed of brick or stone masonry, are typically symmetrical with wings flanking the main body of the house, with roofs that tend to be hipped with a low pitch and covered in ceramic tile, with broad eaves that are supported by deep brackets, and with upper story windows that are generally smaller and less elaborate than the large arched openings beneath them on the first floor.

Italian Villa

The Italian Villa house differs from other Italianate houses by having a tower, typically of square cross-section, as the tallest part of the house. The Italian Villa tower, unlike the more common Italianate cupola, arises from the ground as opposed to being supported by a roof. Most often the tower is either centered on the facade, incorporating the main entry, or located in the internal angle of an L-shaped plan.


The Italianate style (1840-1885) is characterized by a wide-overhanging, low-pitched roof with ornamental brackets (often in pairs) beneath; tall, segmentally-arched, narrow, double-hung, one-over-one windows; molded window surrounds; (usually) front porches supported by columns of square cross-section with beveled corners; and occasionally a cupola or balustrated balcony. Many Italianate houses are cube-shaped and topped by a cupola. Entry doors are often double, with large glazed panels. Italianate was the dominant American house style of the Civil War period. The Italianate style is a Victorian style which emphasized vertical proportions and richly decorative detailing. Simple Italianate structures have a hip roof, bracketed eaves, and molded window surrounds. A more elaborate or high style example may feature arcaded porches, corner quoins, towers, and ornate detailing. There are also some Italianate structures that are flat roofed, with a front bay and entrance, and a decorated cornice. Most Italianate houses have 2-3.5 stories, low-pitched, hipped roofs, widely overhanging eaves with decorative brackets beneath, singly or in pairs, single-story entry porches with supporting square posts, single or paired front doors, rectangular, arched, or segmentally-arched doors, paired and triple windows, tall, narrow rounded-headed windows with hood moldings, elaborate enframements above doors and windows, arched porches, square cupola or tower, and balustraded balconies.


Jacobean is a style that is an early phase of English Renaissance architecture and decoration. It formed a transition between the Elizabethan and the pure Renaissance style later introduced by Inigo Jones. The reign of James I (1603-1625), a disciple of the new scholarship, saw the first decisive adoption of Renaissance motifs in a free form communicated to England through German and Flemish carvers rather than directly from Italy.


Jacobethan is the style designation coined in 1933 by John Betjeman (1906–1984), a British poet and writer on architecture who was born in Highgate, London, to a furniture-maker of Dutch ancestry and was educated at Marlborough College before going to Oxford. The style was popular from the 1830's and derived most of its inspiration from the English Renaissance, with elements of Elizabethan and Jacobean. Its main characteristics are flattended cusped "Tudor" arches, lighter stone trims around windows and doors, carved brick detailing,steep roof gables, often terra-cotta brickwork, balustrades and parapets, pillars supporting porches and still the high chimneys as in the Elizabethan style.


Mansard (1855-1885) can be another name for the Second Empire style. Mansard homes were modeled after the opulent architecture of Paris during the reign of Napoleon III. The Mansard style has a Mansard roof, dormer windows that project like eyebrows from roof, have rounded cornices at the top and base of roof, has brackets beneath eaves, balconies and bay windows, typically has a cupola, typically has patterned slate on roof, typically has wrought iron cresting above upper cornice, typically has classical pediments, typically has paired columns, typically has tall windows on first story, and typically has a small entry porch. The Mansard style is a tall, narrow style, making it especially suitable for urban settings. It is also a highly ornamental style.

Medieval Revival

The Medieval Revival architectural style (1890-1940) is also commonly referred to as the Tudor style. Houses in the style are typically brick, sometimes with stucco, use half-timbering, with flat stucco panels that are outlined by wood boards, and have steeply pitched gable roofs and tall narrow casement windows with multiple panes or diamond leading. The front door in this style may have a rounded arch or flattened pointed arch. Many examples of the style feature prominent exterior stone or brick chimneys. Modern Tudor houses suggest the structural framework with false half-timbering and this decorative woodwork comes in many different designs, including stucco or patterned brick between the timbers. Medieval Revival houses may have overlapping gables, parapets, and beautifully patterned brick or stonework.

Mediterranean Revival

The most common feature on Mediterranean Revival style buildings is a low-pitched, ceramic tile hipped roof. The roofs often have boxed eaves with bracketing. Some apartment and institutional buildings have flat roofs. Exteriors are masonry and are either light or dark brick, smooth cut stone, or stucco. Arches above porches, doors and first story windows are very common. Upper story windows are usually less elaborate. Typically facades are symmetrical, and feature recessed porches and balconies, with entrances having small columns or pilasters.

Middle Eastern

Middle Eastern-style buildings are an eclectic combination of building forms and exotic details derive from the architecture of the Byzantine and Islamic empires. The Middle Eastern style was most typically used for clubs, theaters, and religious buildings between 1910 and 1930. Common characteristics are colorful terra cotta and ceramic tile ornament forming complex geometric patterns and elaborate rooflines of towers and domes.

Minimal Traditional

The Minimal Traditional style uses abbreviated historical reference to suggest traditional style without actually achieving it definitively. Elements common to many styles, but belonging exclusively to none, are favored. These include gables, chimneys, and shutters which are distributed across facades in a non-commital fashion. Houses of this style may be built of virtually any traditional material, while brick and wood are common. Roofs always lack the eaves or overhangs found on more assertive styles. Most examples are one or 1 1/2 stories in height. Windows are usually double-hung with multiple panes. The most substantial examples of this style may include one definitive historical element, such as fluted pilasters flanking a door (Colonial reference) or a half-timbered gable (Tudor reference). The style was popular from the late 1930's and survived into the early 1950's.


The numerous Spanish missions constructed throughout California between 1769 and 1823 provided the inspiration for a new architectural style that emerged at the end of the 19th century. The "California Building," designed in 1893 for the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, popularized the Mission style. By 1900, the Mission style was rapidly spreading eastward from California. The Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads adopted the style for their depots and hotels, fueling its popularity across the country. The Mission style is easily recognized by the curvilinear-shaped gable wall or the low parapet wall raising above the roofline. The style is characterized by simplicity with smooth stuccoed or plastered wall devoid of ornamentation. The roof is usually tile, and semicircular arched openings are used in windows and arcades. A small round window or ornament may appear in the center of the gable. Roofs may have overhanging eaves with exposed rafters. Towers and iron balconies are found on larger buildings. The Mission style has very little decorative detailing, in contrast to the more ornate Spanish Colonial Revival style. Generally, the only surface ornamentation on a Mission building is a plain string course that outlines windows or arches. The curvilinear-shaped roofline distinguishes the Mission from the similar Mediterranean style.


The Modernistic style was a mid-1930's British reaction to the International Style, is showier and more exotic than the Le Corbusier Modernist style, and is a mixture of ingredients, often part-Egyptian, part-classical and part-modern. The style was utilized heavily by Louis A. Simon and Gilbert Stanley Underwood. The style is sometimes referred to as "Zig-Zag Deco" or "Zig-Zag Moderne." The style features smooth stucco wall surfaces, rounded corners, a flat roof with coping, an asymmetrical facade, corner, glass block, and round windows, horizontal grooves or lines to emphasize, and a streamline quality.


The Monterey style updates the New England Colonial style with an Adobe brick exterior and a second-floor with a balcony. This style emerged in 1853 when Boston merchant Thomas Larkin relocated to Monterey, California. The style updates Larkin's vision of a New England Colonial with an Adobe brick exterior. The Adobe reflected an element of Spanish Colonial houses common in the Monterey area at the time. Later Monterey versions merged Spanish Eclectic with Colonial Revival styles to greater or lesser extents. In recent Montereys, the balcony railings are typically styled in iron or wood, the roofs are low pitched or gabled and covered with shingles or tiles, and exterior walls are constructed in stucco, brick, or wood.

Moorish Fantasy

The Moorish fantasy style (1860-1880) is characterized by parapets, towers, minarets, free-form balconies, decorative brickwork with an interlaced pattern that covers the exterior, cupolas, horseshoe arches, rambling verandas, mosaic-tiled fountains, colored tile and intricate sculptural relief, elegantly detailed colonnades, faux garden walls, grilled windows, and swooping spiral outdoor staircases. The style has Islamic and Persian influences that tie the look of an Arabian palace in with the Romanesque Revival. It features very colorful brickwork, pointed Arabian arched windows, colored slate roof tiles in patterns, Islamic arches, pierced stonework, decorative wall textures and mouldings, squared design, decorative Islamic tile-work, and Persian influences.


The National style is rooted in Native American and pre-railroad dwellings and consists of a rectangular shape with side-gabled roofs or square layouts with pyramidal roofs. National-style homes are unadorned and utilitarian. The style is characterized by rectangular shapes with side-gabled roofs or square layouts with pyramidal roofs. The gabled-front-and-wing style pictured here is the most prevalent type with a side-gabled wing attached at a right angle to the gabled front. Two subsets of the National style, known as "hall-and-parlor family" and "I-house," are characterized by layouts that are two rooms wide and one room deep. Massed plan styles, recognized by a layout more than one room deep, often sport side gables and shed-roofed porches.


"Neoclassical," as contrasted with Renaissance Classical, is approximately synonymous with Romantic, and refers to those early-19th-century architectural styles inspired by the first scientific archaeological excavations of ancient ruins (Pompeii and Herculaneum). The Early Classical Revival style can be considered a transitional style between Renaissance Classicism and Neoclassicism. Neoclassical styles exhibit less symmetry and greater variety in the design of columns and other "classical" elements.

Neoclassical Revival

"Neoclassical Revivalism" began in the 1890's and continued well into the 20th century. These later Neoclassical houses exhibit a mixture of motives derived from Greek Revival and other Romantic styles. Easily identified by the requisite and dominant full-height entry porch, this style is almost always two stories high and symmetrically composed. The porch may be centered on the facade or extend across the entire width of the house. The style was popular during the first half of the twentieth century and shares many characteristics with the Colonial Revival Style. Popular from the late 1890's through the early 1950's, the style took inspiration from the earlier Neoclassical style (1780-1830), which itself borrowed from Palladian concepts. Early examples used classical columns at the entry porch and later examples frequently used slender square supports of awkward proportions.


Neo-Colonial style houses (1895—1930) feature the gable roof, central chimney and louvered shutters of tradition, and the basic block form has remained surprisingly unchanged through the centuries. The Neo-Colonial style emerged as a transition style, combining the forms of the early colonial era, the massing and asymmetry of late Victorian houses, with the details of classical revival styles. It uses Victorian and colonial massing in its form, has bay windows, uses gable and gambral roofs and closed pediments, and uses Palladian, Romanesque, and double—hung windows, with a divided upper sash and a plain lower sash. The style often uses a stone foundation to the water—table, with brick to the second floor window sills, and with stucco, siding or shingles to the save. Neo-Classical style porches have classical columns with ornamental balustrades often at both the ground floor and at the flat roof edges.

Neo-Dutch Colonial

The roof shape identifies this house style. These houses have symmetrical windows and floor plans. Neo-Dutch Colonials are more distinctive in appearance than Cubic (1900s-1920s) and Cape Cod (1940s-1950s) styles. Articles on the Neo-Dutch Colonial style appeared in academic and popular magazines from 1905 to 1935, which generally reflects the period of its popularity. Most Neo-Dutch Colonial houses have gambrel roofs, flaring eaves, and single or shed dormers central doorways.

Neo-Eclectic Styles

In the 1980's, developers and home owners were looking for house styles that were different from the plain, straight forward, single-story ranch styles. Many earlier styles were adapted and are collectively called Neo-eclectic styles. In response to the high cost of energy during the mid-1970's energy crisis, two-stories houses were built to save on heating costs. These "tall" houses have huge "empty" roofs, often "fake" dormers, and high and/or faulted ceilings in the living room, the kitchen, and even the master bedroom. Common characteristics are high roofs with complex angles and shapes (cost 50% more than low-pitched roofs), multi stories, two or three garage stalls; considerable street setbacks, dark earthy colors in paints and stains, a rustic look, particularly inside, vaulted and high ceilings (9 feet), an open floor plan with kitchen, dining, and family areas together, Arts & Crafts exterior (brackets under the eaves, field stones, stucco) and interior (natural wood beams, paneling, rustic elements), a Log cabin style (exterior and interior) reflecting the rustic theme (cost 10-15 percent more). In 19th century versions, the style features high ceilings, porches, and steep gables, especially over windows.


The Neo-French style features dormer windows, usually with rounded tops, and high-hipped roofs.


The Neo-Mediterranean style typically includes a clay barrel tile roof, cast stone columns, uses sandstone, marble, and glass, and is dominated by arches. The style is defined by the emphasis on the constructive elements such as wood, natural tiles, and mud brick and uses stucco walls, round arched windows and doorways, and tile roofs.


Neo-Tudor (1830's-1840's) exteriors are usually a mixture of brick and stucco, often with some half-timbering included. Other characteristics include high-pitched roofs, asymmetrical configurations, enclosed entryways, fireplaces with ornamented chimneys and chimney pots, and casement windows.


Neo-Victorian is an aesthetic movement which amalgamates Victorian and Edwardian aesthetic sensibilities with modern principles and technologies. The architectural style uses Victorian ideas and reproduction trim on brand new houses and features curved towers, patterned shingles, wide porches, and other 19th century details.

New England Colonial

The New England Colonial style (1890-1930) simplified the picturesque Queen Anne and so appeared after the Queen Anne fell out of fashion. The New England Colonial was one of many revival styles which became popular by the early 20th century. Another name for this style is the four-over-four because of its basic rectangular floor plan of four rooms on the lower and upper levels. Since this house has remained popular over the decades, its date of construction can only be determined by minor details in the building materials, such as 1920's-1930's reddish brick on the foundations, driveways with two cement lanes separated by grass, and the width and height of garages. All New England Colonial style houses have two - 2.5 stories, a gable roof, symmetrical placement of windows and doors, the classical details of columns, cornices, and shuttered windows, and a simple rectangular shape.

Octagon House

An Octagon style house is characterized by an eight-sided shape of its exterior walls, but sometimes have six-, ten-, twelve-, or sixteen-sided forms, or even round. Most octagonal houses were built in the decades of the 1850's and 1860's. The style was popularized by Orson S. Fowler (1809-1887), a writer from Fishkill, New York, and author of the 1849 book The Octagon House, A Home for All. Earlier examples of the style include Thomas Jefferson's summer house, Poplar Forest, completed in 1819, and octagonal wings and projections in Adam houses (1780-1820). The style is characterized by two-story or three-story buildings, with low-pitched hipped roofs, wide eave overhangs, eave brackets, a raised basement, an encircling verandah or porch, an octagonal cupola, belvedere or roof deck, use Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, or Italianate decorative details or lack detailing or have minimal ornamental detailings.


The Oriental style is comprised of buildings whose appearances were influenced by Chinese or Japanese forms or decoration. It typically was used for buildings constructed between 1910 and 1930. Common characteristics are pagoda-like eaves or towers and stone or terra cotta ornament based on Chinese or Japanese decorative motifs (dragons, dogs, alphabet symbols.)

Period House/Period Revival Style

Rather than a specific architectural style, period houses (1920-1940+) were revivals of earlier historical styles that also reflected some modern tastes. The term includes, among others, the Tudor Revival style, the Georgian Revival style, the Colonial Revival style, the French Provincial farmhouse Revival style, the Spanish Colonial Revival style, the Mission Revival style, the Pueblo Revival style, and the Dutch Colonial Revival style. The success of the period house depended on its stylistic accuracy.

Postmedieval English

The Postmedieval English style (1680-1776) typically features brick construction, a central chimney mass serving two to four fireplaces, small doors, and even smaller, leaded glass window panes. Southern versions sometimes had chimneys at either ends of the gabled roof. The style is a "plain Jane" style. The style is also called English Gothic, Elizabethan, Tudor, Jacobean, Northeast Colonial, and Southern Colonial.

Prairie School

The Prairie School style (1897-1921,) led by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, sought to create an architectural style that reflected the rolling midwestern prairie. The style is characterized by an emphasis on horizontality, particularly exemplified by low, flat rooflines and extended overhangs. A flat roof with wide overhanging eaves is most common, but occasionally the roofline is cantilevered over the walls to create deep shadows. A Prairie style structure always has walls that meet at right angles, with small casement windows that are arranged in continuous bands, stained glass windows, and limited decoration. The style is characterized by low sloped hip roofs with large overhangs, swept back gable peak projecting further than ends, contrasting wood trim, horizontal emphasis on wall finishes, horizontal rows of windows sometimes wrapping a corner, a low profile of house to the ground, first and second floor porches, a massive low plain chimney, and piers at ends of porches.


Pueblos are typified by flat roofs, parapet walls with round edges, straight-edge window frames, earth-colored stucco or adobe-brick walls, and projecting roof beams. Chunky looking Pueblos emerged around 1900 in California, but proved most popular in Arizona and New Mexico, where many original designs still survive. The interior typically features corner fireplaces, unpainted wood columns, and tile or brick floors.

Pueblo Revival

Pueblo Revival style (1912-Current) was basically inspired by a mixture of Spanish Colonial and Indian Pueblo architectural forms. It originated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and quickly became the regional style of Anglo-American northern New Mexico after 1912 and is often referred to as the Santa Fe Style.

Quonset Hut

TheQuonset Hut was developed in 1941 by Peter Dejongh and Otto Brandenberger and was named for a production facility near Quonset, Rhode Island. The Quonset hut was derived from a British Nissen hut, which was developed by a Canadian engineering officer during World War I. The Quonset hut skeleton was a row of semi-circular steel ribs covered with corrugated sheet metal. The ribs sat on a low steel-frame foundation with a plywood floor. The basic model was 20 feet wide and 48 feet long with 720 square feet of usable floor space. The larger model was 40 by 100 feet. There were 86 approved interior layout plans for Quonset huts. It was intended to be assembled by individuals with little or no building experience.

Railroad Style

The Railroad style (1850-1910) is the style of the train stations on the new Victorian railways. It was distinctly marked by the buildings having a platform with a very tall porch roof. The style features an overhanging roof, a platform, large supporting brackets for the roof, and no pillars.


The Regency style borrows from the Georgian's classic lines, but eschews ornamentation. They're symmetrical, two or three stories, and usually built in brick. Typically, they feature an octagonal window over the front door, one chimney at the side of the house, double-hung windows, and a hip roof. The style has been built in the United States since the early 1800's.

Queen Anne Style

The Queen Anne style (1875-1910) is named for Britain's Queen Anne, during whose reign the style became popular in England. In many parts of the United States, the Queen Anne style is used with frame construction. The most obvious features of Queen Anne houses are asymmetrical facades, projecting bays and turrets, and extensive use of decorative brick. Common characteristics are the use of a rich, but simple, ornamentation, the use of a variety of materials, including wood, terra cotta, stone, and pressed metal, expansive porches, pressed metal bays and turrets, and an irregular roofline with many dormers and chimneys. The Queen Anne style includes four subtypes, the Spindle, the Free classical, the Half-timbered gable, and the Patterned masonry.

Queen Anne Cottages

The Queen Anne cottage is a one-story house that has restrained Queen Anne massing and details.

Queen Anne Town Houses

Generally, the Queen Anne design lent itself to larger, more elaborate houses, in which the full expression of decorative treatments and roof configurations could be used.

Ranch Style

The Ranch style is a very conscious attempt to emphasize the horizontal and to create an open floor plan. Large ranch homes may sprawl 2000-3000 square feet with rooms and hallways flowing into one another, and sliding glass doors opening the interior of the house into the back patio. The formal dining room is more of an extension of the kitchen and the living room than a separate room.

Renaissance Classicism

This school of architecture is based on the dictates of 16th-century Italian Renaissance architects who codified what they believed were the "correct" designs and proportions for classical columns and other design elements. Renaissance Classicism is formal and symmetrical, and appealed primarily to the intellect and reason of the 18th-century architects (and homeowners) who embraced it. Georgian and Federal are Renaissance Classical styles. When the excavation of ancient ruins in the late 18th century began to reveal a great deal of variety in Greek and Roman architecture, the popularity of Renaissance Classicism waned in favor of the Neoclassical or Romantic styles.

Renaissance Revival Style

Towards the end of the 19th century, house designs inspired by Renaissance buildings began to come into fashion throughout the United States. The primary reason for its re-emergence was the growing influence of French architectural designs exhibited at the World's Fair, held in Chicago in 1893.

Richardsonian Romanesque Style

The Richardsonian Romanesque style was popular nationally from the 1880's to the 1890's. It is named for influential Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson, who developed the vocabulary of the style in his own work. The forms of the Richardsonian Romanesque style actually derive from the 11th and 12th Century architecture of France and Spain, with a resurgence in the 1880's. The style was used for many building types, including houses, clubs, and commercial buildings, before its popularity ended in the late 1890's. Richardsonian houses are defined by the use of rough-cut stone, deep window openings and large, dominant arches. Typically, Richardsonian buildings are asymmetrical, but unified by the use of wide expanses of wall and roof planes, and by large scale ornament. The chief characteristic of the Romanesque Revival style is the semi-circular arch, which is used for window and door openings as well as a decorative element along the corbel table. Other characteristics include an archivolt of compound arches and square towers of different heights and various roof shapes. It also is characterized by heavy, rusticated, or rock-faced stone, round masonry arches, contrasting colors, transom windows arranged in ribbon-like patterns, square towers, and sparse fenestration. The Richardsonian Romanesque style was about posture. It placed both the invited and uninvited at bay, allowing the resident to feel a certain amount of control. It was designed as a representation of power and it could be said that it is the one form that best depicts the effects of the industrial revolution on the American male. This style is macho and is often thought of as oppressive in nature and monstrous in scale.

Romanesque Revival Style

The Romanesque Revival style, which had previously appeared in church design, began to be used in large detached houses during the Victorian period. The Romanesque Revival house presents a variety of arches at windows, doors and cornice, and is usually constructed of red brick.

Romanesque Revival Town Houses

The Romanesque Revival was perhaps the leading architectural style for town house design at the end of the nineteenth century. Unlike Richardsonian Romanesque designs, the main feature of a Romanesque Revival town house is the use of arched motifs around doors and windows, without the deep recesses and rough-cut stone of the Richardsonian version. Romanesque Revival town houses of the Victorian Period were characteristically detailed with an ornate brick cornice, and windows with decorative brick arches. Often, the openings featured paired windows with elaborate wood mullions.


The early 19th century Neoclassical architectural styles are referred to as "Romantic" because, unlike the preceding Renaissance Classical styles which appealed to the intellect, they appealed primarily to the emotions. The various 19th-century Revival styles (Greek, Gothic, Egyptian, etc.), as well as the Italianate and Italian Villa styles, are considered Romantic.


This New England Colonial style gained the Saltbox nickname because its sharply sloping gable roof resembled boxes used for storing salt. The step roofline often plunges from two and one-half stories in front to a single story in the rear. In Colonial times, the lower rear portion was often used as a partially enclosed shed, which was oriented north as a windbreak. These square or rectangular homes typically have a large central chimney and large, double-hung windows with shutters. Exterior walls are made of clapboard or shingles. In the South this style is known as a "cat's slide" and was a popular in the 1800's.

Sears kit houses

In 1895, Sears, Roebuck and Company began selling building materials in addition to the tens of thousands of items already offered in their mail-order catalog. Richard Warren Sears’ father was a farmer and a blacksmith. When Sears was about 16 years old, his father died and Richard Warren Sears ( -1914) went to work to support the family. In the mid-1880s, whilst working as a railway station agent in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, Sears paid $50 for a shipment of watches that arrived at the train station and had been refused by a local merchant. Selling them to other railway agents and passengers, Sears turned $50 worth of watches into $5000 in a few months. In November 1883, railway companies established four time zones to help manage and standardize the complex train schedules. In the early 1880s, the United States had 300 different time zones. As folks adapted to the new time zones, watches became a hot commodity. In 1886, 23-year-old Sears invested his $5000 cash profit into a new watch business and called it the R. W. Sears Watch Company. He advertised his watches in regional newspapers and in a short time, he moved the business from Minneapolis to Chicago. Occasionally the watches came back needing repairs or adjustments, so in 1887, Sears decided to hire someone to help him in this new venture. A young watch repairman from Hammond, Indiana responded to Sears help wanted ad and was hired immediately. The watch repairmans name was Alvah Curtis Roebuck (1864- .) Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck became good friends and eventually became partners in the business venture which they named, Sears Roebuck and Company. Around 1891, Sears and Roebuck published their first mail order catalog, offering jewelry and watches within its 52 pages. By 1893, the little watch and jewelry catalog had grown to 196 pages and offered a variety of items, including sewing machines, shoes, saddles and more. One year later, another 300 pages were added, creating a 507-page mail order catalog. In 1895, Alvah Roebuck decided he wanted out and asked Sears to buy his one-third interest in the company for $25,000, prompting Sears offer Chicago businessmen Aaron Nusbaum and Julius Rosenwald (Nusbaum’s brother-in-law) a one-half interest in the company at a price of $75,000, or $37,500 each. Six years later, in 1901, Rosenwald and Sears bought out Nusbaum for $1.25 million. Following a nationwide depression in 1907, Rosenwald and Sears were at loggerheads and in 1908, Sears sold his stock for $10 million dollars. Sears also wanted more time to take care of his ailing wife, who had suffered from ill health for years. In September, 1914, at the age of 50, Sears died, having turned $50 worth of pocket watches into a multi-million dollar mail order empire. His estate was valued at more than $20 million. At its peak in 1915, the general merchandise catalog contained 100,000 items in 1200 pages and weighed four pounds. Chicago radio station "WLS," actually began as a promotional tool for Sears. From 1908–1940, Sears, Roebuck and Company sold more than 100,000 homes through their mail-order Modern Homes program. Over that time Sears designed 447 different housing styles. Shipped via railroad boxcars, these kits included all the materials needed to build an exceptionally sturdy and well-designed house. The average Sears Modern Home kit had 25 tons of materials, with over 30,000 parts, and came with such utilities as electric and gaslight fixtures in early models, but without wiring, plumbing, and the foundation. Sears helped popularize the latest technology available to home buyers in the early part of the twentieth century. Central heating, indoor plumbing, and electricity were all new developments in home design that "Modern Homes" incorporated. Sears began offering financing plans in the 1920s. However, the company experienced steadily rising payment defaults throughout the Great Depression. In 1906, Frank W. Kushel, a Sears manager, was given responsibility for the catalog company's unwieldy, non-profitable building materials department. Sales were down, and there was too much inventory sitting in expensive warehouses. He is credited with suggesting to Richard Sears that the company assemble kits of all the parts needed and sell entire houses through mail-order. Sears's use of "balloon style" framing systems did not require a team of skilled carpenters. Sears homes also used drywall instead of plaster and lath wall-building techniques. In 1918, Standard Oil Company purchased a large group of the Sears houses for its mineworkers in Carlinville, Illinois, at a cost of approximately $1 million.

Second Empire Style

The defining element of the Second Empire style (1870's-1880's) is the mansard roof, with either concave or straight sides, which is a double-pitched hipped roof whose upper slope is very flat, while the lower slope slants sharply down to a decorative cornice, and a projecting bay or tower extending above the roofline, either contoured or to one side. Dormers are often present on the steep roof, which is covered with slate shingles, sometimes in an ornamental pattern. Windows are pedimented or have molded surrounds. Cornices are bracketed, reminiscent of the Italianate style. The style reflects the picturesqueness and asymmetry characteristic of other late 19th century styles, such as the Gothic Revival and Italianate. Most Second Empire houses are two stories tall, are symmetrical, have mansard roofs, often have a tower, have arched openings, and have bracketed eaves. Many Second Empire houses had stone veneered front facades. Less elaborate buildings imitated the look with cement stucco. Vernacular variations are usually found on very small homes. This style was borrowed from France, where Napoleon III (1852-1870) undertook a major building campaign that transformed Paris into a city of grand boulevards, monumental public buildings, and residential districts with the distinctive mansard roofs.

Second Empire Town Houses

Second Empire elements were common in town houses during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. A benefit of the high mansard rood was the additional size of the third floor, an important consideration given urban space limitations. Unlike the detached house, the town house usually had a true mansard only at the front facade; parapet walls continued up a full story on each side elevation.

Shed Style

The Shed style (1960's-1970's) represents a new development in U.S. architecture from the 1960's. It is often characterized by multi-directional roofs. Walls are usually covered with board siding, applied horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally. Roof-wall junctions are usually smooth and simple, with little or no overhang. Entrances are often recessed and obscured from the street. Shed style houses are frequently associated with "rustic" elements, such as rough wide wooden siding. The photo of an apartment building shows this California rustic influence. Most Shed style houses are 1-2 stories tall, have multi-directional roofs, often have board siding, and have entrances recessed from street.

Shingle Style

Shingle Style houses (1880-1900) originated in the upper-class summer resort communities of New England. The Shingle style is basically the Queen Anne style wrapped in shingles. The Shingle style was influenced initially by the work of the architect Richard Norman Shaw. Shingle Style houses are rambling, asymmetrical structures with various gables, porches, and towers, all covered with wooden shingles. John Calvin Stevens of Portland, Maine, and the firm of McKim, Mead and White of New York City were prominent designers of Shingle Style houses. These houses are primarily characterized by the extensive use of wood shingles on exterior facades. They also are two or three stories tall and display asymmetrical facades and steeply pitched roofs, generally with a front gable, spread low against the ground on a heavy stone foundation, qualities of weight, density, and permanence, dark and roughhewn masonry, shingles in many colors that form a continuous covering, stretched smooth over roof lines and around corners in a kind of contoured envelope, with rounded contours that are sheltered by a broad and overhanging roof, an entry that is defined by a heavy low arch and short and stubby columns, wide porches, Broad gables, small casement and sash windows, often grouped into twos or threes, and a curving "eyebrow" dormer.


The term "shotgun" refers to a floor plan arrangement in which the rooms of the house open in succession from front to rear without a hallway. The term "shotgun" comes from the description that a shotgun could be fired in the front door and all of the shot would exit through the rear doorway without hitting any intervening walls. Front gable roofs are common on the shotgun house, which has a full or three-quarter front porch. The houses were usually worker housing. Trim is not elaborate, and may be either from the Victorian era or from the later Craftsman period. Windowpane configuration reflects the style of trim applied to the house.

Spanish Colonial Revival Style

The Spanish Colonial Revival style (1910's-1930's) is primarily located in the Southern and Western United States, and like the overall Colonial movement, was a reaction to the highly ornamented Queen Anne house of the late 19th Century. The style is unique because it was the first time that architects and designers turned to the Spanish settlements of America for inspiration. Commercial use of the style was prompted by Bertram Goodhue’s use of Spanish elements in the fair buildings of the 1915 Panama California Exposition in San Diego. Residential popularity of the style spread mainly because of heavy magazine and plan-book coverage in the 1920's. The peak of popularity of the Spanish Colonial style was the 1920's, but it was built from the early years of the Twentieth Century into the late 1930's. Common characteristics are brick or stucco walls, twisting columns and decorative shields made of terra cotta, round arched windows, elaborately rounded roof parapets based on Spanish colonial missions, and red clay tile roofs with a low pitch.

Spanish Eclectic

The Spanish Eclectic style evolved out of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, where the officially sanctioned style was Spanish. The features of the style are an asymmetrical structure with a low-pitched roof, usually with little or no overhang, a red tile roof covering, one or more prominent arches placed above doors or windows, or beneath the porch roof, and stucco wall surfaces.

Split Level

The Split Level style (1950's-1960's) is a variation on California Ranch style houses. Instead of a one-story Ranch, these houses have a one-story section attached to a two-story section. The double car garage is frequently built under the upper story bedrooms. In another version the foundation and basement windows are raised above the ground to create a 1.5 story look. Most Split Level houses are one story houses with an upper story over the garage, double garages built into the house, and low pitched or hipped roofs.

Steamboat Gothic

The Steamboat Gothic style features "dripping" bargeboards, vergeboard trim, vertical siding, steep-pitched roofs, symmetrical floor plans, exaggerated/elongated gables, elongated finials, pointed-arch windows, steep cross gables, bay & oriel windows, large gingerbread-covered porches, nautical influences, and overdone gingerbread awnings.


A descendent of the Gothic Revival, the Stick style transitionally preceded Queen Anne and was popular from the 1860's through the 1880's. Like the Queen Anne style, Stick houses are characterized by the incorporation of a variety of textures on the exterior walls beneath a complex roof form. Unlike Queen Anne houses, the expression of structure (implied and purely decorative) is inherent. Walls and/or gables frequently utilize decoration reminiscent of the half-timbering found on Tudor houses. Panels may be placed above and below windows. Adjacent frames may suggest structural framework. Emphasis is placed on angularity. Towers and bay windows, when they occur, are frequently squared or rectangular and are not round.


The style derives from the architectural work of Louis Sullivan, one of Chicago's most influential architects, who developed a unique form of decoration beginning in the 1890's. The Sullivanesque style was imitated by other architects, using terra cotta designed and manufactured by the Midland Terra Cotta Company in Chicago. Common characteristics are masonry walls and terra cotta ornament composed of lushly intertwining vines and leaves combined with sharp-edged geometric figures.

Swiss Chalet Exotic Revival

Swiss Chalet houses are typically square or rectangular in plan, are two-and-a-half stories high, and have low pitched roofs with front gables and wide eaves supported by decorative brackets. The houses sometimes were built entirely of wood and sometimes were built of brick, stone, or stucco with wood upper floors, or brick with stucco upper floors. Also characteristic is a decorative treatment of boards integrated with siding material that appears to expose post-and-beam construction. The ends of rafters and purlins (structural members that are part of the roof support system) are generally exposed and are sometimes carved and painted. Front porches were often featured on later examples of the style.

Tudor Revival Style

The Tudor Revival style (1900's-1930's) is also called Elizabethan and Half-Timbered. They are another example of the Revival styles which were popular in the early 20th century. Half-timbering was characteristic of Medieval buildings when the beams held the buildings up and the spaces between them were filled with plaster. But in the U.S., half-timbering is only a decorative covering of underlying frame construction. These were usually very expensive houses with their massive sculptured chimneys, reddish bricks, and stucco, complicated peaked roofs, and small leaded glass windows. Based on English domestic architecture from the 1500's and 1600's, the Tudor Revival style gained great popularity as a residential style in America during the early 20th century. Most properties exhibiting the style date from the mid 1920's, although examples can be found as late as the 1930's. Common characteristics are two stories, complicated peaked roofs, steeply pitched gable roofs, massive sculptured chimneys, reddish bricks, small leaded glass windows, the use of stucco, particularly in the gable ends, rounded bays and turrets, and irregular massing.

Two-Pen Style

The Two-Pen style (1850's-1870's) is a one-story, two-unit or two-room, end-gabled structure. This very plain house style usually lacks front porches, which are otherwise very common in 19th century houses. These houses usually have had several additions added over the decades, and hence, they have sometimes very irregular shapes. The original floor plan might be two-rooms wide, only one-room deep, and one-story high. Versions with 1.5-stories also exist. This style is one of five subtypes of Folk Victorian. Most Two-Pen houses are one story, gabled roof, originally, two-rooms wide and one-room deep, and usually have several additions added.

Two-story Victorian Houses With Side Entry

Another vernacular house type that appeared in the Victorian period is the two-story house with side entry. They use a variety of Victorian treatments on the narrow, front facades which face the street.


The Upright-and-Wing style (1860's-1890's) has many variations, occuring in one story, one and one-half story, and two story versions. "Upright" refers to the vertical part of the house and the "Wing" usually refers to the lower side section. This very simple 19th century house style is found in the countryside and cities. It represents "non-stylistic" or vernacular architecture, which is constructed by building trades rather than by owners themselves, as in tribal societies. It lacks aesthetic pretensions and individual variations are minor. Most Upright-and-Wing houses are 1.5-2 stories, have a gable roof, the Upright portion is the vertical part of the house (usually 2 stories), and the Wing portion is the lower side section (commonly only 1 story, but can be 1.5 or even 2 stories).


Vernacular architecture refers to structures built of local materials in a functional style devised to meet the needs of common people in their time and place. It is sometimes called folk architecture. Vernacular structures were built by people not schooled in any kind of formal architectural design.

Victorian Shotgun Houses

Shotgun houses remained popular during the Victorian period. Many borrowed elements from current high style buildings for exterior decoration. In the Victorian shotgun, the roof is higher, allowing greater use of the second floor. The defining feature of the shotgun, its floor plan, remained unchanged.


The Williamsburg is actually a substyle within the Colonial Revival Period style. The style is actually a faithfully and carefully rendered revival of exterior reproductions of British, New England, and Virginia originals from the Colonial period of the 1600's and 1700's. The style was fueled by the complete restoration of Colonial Williamsburg in the late 1920's by the John Rockefeller Foundation. Home to 88 original Colonial-period structures, buildings such as the Brush-Everard house, and its furnishings became the inspiration and prototype for hundreds of reproductions throughout the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. The Williamsburg style is very similar to a Cape Cod in design. The main difference is that dormers are added to the roof. These dormers harken back to the early 17th century, when the house style was developed. Common characteristics are a steeply pitched side gable roof, a large chimney, a symmetrical facade, the use of multi-pane windows, horizontal lap siding, and gabled dormers.

Worker's Cottage

A common "vernacular" residential style that was built in working-class neighborhoods after 1870. Common characteristics are one-and-a-half stories set atop a raised basement, a rectangular floor plan, ornamentation restricted to the area around windows and beneath the roof line (cornice), and a front-facing gable roof.

Workingman's Foursquare

The counterpart to the typical American Foursquare is a small one-story version of the same form. Popular from the 1890's well in the 1910's, the style is characterized by a small square to rectangular plan capped with a hip/pyramidal roof. The design typically has a porch projecting from the main body of the house and may have gabled or hipped dormers on one or more sides. The style was favored in many company towns across the country. Common characteristics are a hip roof, a gabled or hipped dormer, a front porch, a square to rectangular plan, and horizontal lap siding.

Information from the University of Minnesota, Northwest Architectural Archives, was used in this webpage.

This webpage was last updated on March 21, 2011.