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5 House Styles

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  • PuebloMassive, round-edged walls made with adobeFlat roof with no overhang Stepped levels Rounded parapet Spouts in the parapet to direct rainwater Vigas (heavy timbers) extending through walls which serve as main roof support beams Latillas (poles) placed above vigas in angled pattern Deep window and door openings Simple windows Beehive corner fireplace Bancos (benches) that protrude from walls Nichos (niches) carved out of wall for display of religious icons Brick, wood, or flagstone floors Since ancient times, pueblo Indians built large, multi-family houses, which the Spanish called pueblos (villages). In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Spanish made their own pueblo homes, but they adapted the style. They formed the adobe into sun-dried building blocks. After stacking the blocks, the Spaniards covered them with protective layers of mud. Pueblo revival houses became popular in the early 1900s and are still a popular style in the southwestern regions of the united states. These modern-day pueblos might not be made of adobe. Instead, some contemporary adobe homes are made with concrete blocks or other materials covered with adobe, stucco, plaster, or mortar

  • Cap CodSteep roof with side gablesSmall roof overhang 1 or 1 stories Made of wood and covered in wide clapboard or shinglesLarge central chimney linked to fireplace in each room Symmetrical appearance with door in center Dormers for space, light, and ventilation Multi-paned, double-hung windows Shutters Formal, center-hall floor plan Hardwood floors Little exterior ornamentation History of the Cape Cod StyleThe first Cape Cod style homes were built by English colonists who came to America in the late 17th century. They modeled their homes after the half-timbered houses of England, but adapted the style to the stormy New England weather. Over the course of a few generations, a modest, one- to one-and-a-half-story house with wooden shutters emerged. Reverend Timothy Dwight, a president of Yale University, is credited with recognizing these houses as a class and coining the term "Cape Cod." Much later, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, a renewed interest in America's past inspired a variety of Colonial Revival styles. Colonial Revival Cape Cod houses became especially popular during the 1930s. These small, economical houses were mass-produced in suburban developments across the United States. Twentieth century Cape Cod houses often have dormers. The chimney is usually placed at one end instead of at the center. The shutters on modern Cape Cod houses are strictly decorative; they can't be closed during a storm.

  • GeorgianSquare, symmetrical shape Paneled front door at center Decorative crown over front door Flattened columns on each side of door Five windows across front Paired chimneys Medium pitched roof Minimal roof overhang Many Georgian Colonial homes also have: Nine or twelve small window panes in each window sash Dental molding (square, tooth-like cuts) along the eaves Georgian Colonial became the rave in New England and the Southern colonies during the 1700's. Stately and symmetrical, these homes imitated the larger, more elaborate Georgian homes which were being built in England. But the genesis of the style goes back much farther. During the reign of King George I in the early 1700's, and King George III later in the century, Britons drew inspiration from the Italian Renaissance and from ancient Greece and Rome. Georgian ideals came to New England via pattern books, and Georgian styling became a favorite of well-to-do colonists. More humble dwellings also took on characteristics of the Georgian style. America's Georgian homes tend to be less ornate than those found in Britain.

  • Log CabinWas introduced by Swedish settlers in the early 1700s Used no nails Contained only one room Was only 10 feet wide Measured 12 to 20 feet long Had at least one glass window Included a loft area for sleeping

  • French CreoleTimber frame with brick or "bousillage" (mud combined with moss and animal hair) wide hipped roof extends over porches Thin wooden columns Living quarters raised above ground level Wide porches, called "galleries" No interior hallways Porches used as passageway between rooms French doors (doors with many small panes of glass

    French Creole architecture is an American Colonial style that developed in the early 1700s in the Mississippi Valley, especially in Louisiana. French Creole buildings borrow traditions from France, the Caribbean, and many other parts of the world. French Creole homes from the Colonial period were especially designed for the hot, wet climate of that region. Traditional French Creole homes had some or all of these features:

  • FederalLow-pitched roof, or flat roof with a balustrade Windows arranged symmetrically around a center doorway Semicircular fanlight over the front door Narrow side windows flanking the front door Decorative crown or roof over front door Tooth-like dentil moldings in the cornice Palladian windowCircular or elliptical windows Shutters Decorative swags and garlands Oval rooms and arches These architects are known for their Federalist buildings: Charles Bulfinch Samuel McIntyre Alexander Perris William Thorton The Federal (or Federalist) style has its roots in England. Two British brothers named Adam adapted the pragmatic Georgian style, adding swags, garlands, urns, and other delicate details. In the American colonies, homes and public buildings also took on graceful airs. Inspired by the work of the Adam brothers and also by the great temples of ancient Greece and Rome, Americans began to build homes with Palladian windows, circular or elliptical windows, recessed wall arches, and oval-shaped rooms. This new Federal style became associated with America's evolving national identity. It's easy to confuse Federalist architecture with the earlier Georgian Colonial style. The difference is in the details: While Georgian homes are square and angular, a Federal style building is more likely to have curved lines and decorative flourishes. Federalist architecture was the favored style in the United States from about 1780 until the 1830s. However, Federalist details are often incorporated into modern American homes. Look past the vinyl siding, and you may see a fanlight or the elegant arch of a Palladian window.

  • Greek RevivalPediment gable Symmetrical shape Heavy cornice Wide, plain frieze Bold, simple moldings Many Greek Revival houses also have these features: Entry porch with columns Decorative pilasters Narrow windows around front door In the mid-19th century, many prosperous Americans believed that ancient Greece represented the spirit of democracy. Interest in British styles had waned during the bitter War of 1812. Also, many Americans sympathized with Greece's own struggles for independence in the 1820s. Greek Revival architecture began with public buildings in Philadelphia. Many European-trained architects designed in the popular Grecian style, and the fashion spread via carpenter's guides and pattern books. Colonnaded Greek Revival mansions - sometimes called Southern Colonial houses - sprang up throughout the American south. With its classic clapboard exterior and bold, simple lines, Greek Revival architecture became the most predominant housing style in the United States. During the second half of the 19th century, Gothic Revival and Italianate styles captured the American imagination. Grecian ideas faded from popularity. However, front-gable design - a trademark of the Greek Revival style - continued to influence the shape of American houses well into the 20th century. You will notice the classic front-gable design in simple "National Style" farm houses throughout the United States.

  • TidewaterTidewater homes have extensive porches (or "galleries") sheltered by a broad hipped roof. The main roof extends over the porches without interruption.

  • AntebellumHipped or gabled roof Symmetrical faade Evenly-spaced windows Greek pillars and columns Elaborate friezes Balconies Covered porch Central entryway Grand staircase Formal ballroom

    Antebellum means "before war" in Latin. The term Antebellum refers to elegant plantation homes built in the American South in the 30 years or so preceding the Civil War. Antebellum is not a particular house style. Rather, it is a time and place in history. The features we associate with Antebellum architecture were introduced to the American South by Anglo-Americans who moved into the area after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Most Antebellum homes are in the Greek Revival, Classical Revival, or Federal style: grand, symmetrical, and boxy, with center entrances in the front and rear, balconies, and columns or pillars.

  • Gothic RevivalPointed windows with decorative tracery Grouped chimneys Pinnacles Flat roofs with Battlements, or gable roofs with parapets Leaded glass Quatrefoil and clover shaped windows Oriel windows The earliest and most famous example of masonry Gothic Revival architecture in the United States is Lyndhurst, an all-marble estate in Tarrytown, New York. The architect, Alexander Jackson Davis, published a book that inspired other Americans to build in the Gothic Revival style. In the 1870s, a related style, High Victorian Gothic or Neo-Gothic, grew out of the Gothic Revival movement. Buildings in the High Victorian Gothic style had many of these features:Strong vertical lines and a sense of great height Heavy, bold details Leaves, vines, gargoyles, and other stone carvings Multi-colored masonry, often forming patterns or bands Slightly pointed Romanesque arches Faithful re-creation of medieval styles Few people could afford to build a masonry home in the Gothic Revival or High Gothic revival style. In the United States, the masonry versions of Gothic Revival and High Gothic Revival archi