Mortgage Goals: Finding The Right Housing Style

Posted by Laine Smith on 1/1/15 3:20 PM

Topics: Home Buying

As if making the choice to buy or build a home isn’t a big enough feat, you also need to decide what style of home best fits your needs, now and in the future. Before you start your home search, make a list of characteristics you desire in your home, whether they are functional or aesthetic.

Housing_Styles

Here is a list of some of the top housing styles in the United States and what defines them.

Cape Cod

Cape_Cod

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
The Cape Cod home style began in colonial New England during the late 17th century as a cheap and efficient form of shelter from harsh coastal weather. The idyllic home style we are familiar with became popular throughout the rest of the United States during the 1930s-1950s.

Cape Cod style homes typically feature a symmetrical façade, steep roof, functional or decorative shutters, little-to-no decorative exterior trim, and simple design. If you like the cozy, cottage feel of traditional features like wood-shake siding, doghouse dormers, white window trim, etc. this home style may be right for you.

Craftsman

Craftsman

 

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

This type of home style emerged from the Arts and Crafts Movement during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Craftsman style homes are not cookie-cutter homes. They vary immensely but all have a great amount detail.

You can recognize a Craftsman home by these features:

  • Low-pitched, gabled roof
  • Inviting entryway with front porch
  • Tapered columns
  • Multi-paned windows
  • Stone details

Contemporary

Contemporary

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

The Contemporary-style home is a hard style to pinpoint, as it is broad category and changing on a regular basis. This home style arose from the Industrial Revolution during the early 20th century. It typically embodies the simplicity of “form following function”.

Common characteristics of Contemporary-style housing include:

  •          An irregular, asymmetrical façade
  •          Large windows, extensive use of natural light
  •          Sustainable, eco-friendly materials
  •          Open, flexible floor plan

Though some critics find the Contemporary home plan to be cold and museum-like, others find the Contemporary home’s connection to the outdoors through sustainable materials and natural lighting to be warm and inviting.

Colonial

Colonial

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

The Colonial-style home is one of the most popular home styles in the United States. Influenced by European settlers, this style erupted along the Eastern coastline and eventually made its way inland with adjustments made to the classic Colonial model to allow for climate changes.

There are several types of Colonial homes, including classic, Georgian, saltbox, French, etc., but all tend to have the following distinguishing characteristics:

  •          Symmetrical or square shape
  •          Entry door in the middle of the front of the home
  •          Paired chimneys
  •          Medium pitched roof
  •          Stairway located directly behind entry door

Ranch

Ranch

Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

This home style gained popularity in the post-WWII era when large suburban lots were plentiful and there was little need to conserve space by building up. The Ranch style also developed and flourished as families found the need for an attached garage.

Ranch style homes gained popularity as residents enjoyed their affordability, livability, flexibility, and uncomplicated design. Ranch homes typically feature a rectangular, L-shaped, or U-shaped floor plan, large picture windows, a low-pitched roof, and an open floor plan. They sometimes feature a basement or are built on a cement slab. 

Tudor

Tudor

Image courtesy of Freshome – Interior Design & Architecture Magazine

Tudor-style homes are one of the most distinctive styles of residential architecture. The steeply-pitched roof lines and contrasting timber, stucco, and stone of 1500’s England attracted American homebuilders in the 1920’s because Tudor homes convey old money and heritage.

Exterior color schemes of this medieval-inspired home style typically sticks to brown , cream, and white tones, which complement traditional Tudor materials, such as brick, stone, slate, and concrete. Indoors, Tudor homes focus particularly around the hearth, and ceilings are low with decorative beams.

If you like the picturesque features of asymmetrical appearance, a steep roof, and grandiose chimneys and fireplaces, Tudor might be the way to go.

Looking for more information on home buying and financing? Our free Mortgage 101 Handbook is a great resource for first-time and repeat homebuyers.

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