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House Styles

Our House - Some Common Regional Home Styles


Our House - Some Common Regional Home Styles

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, knowing a bit about its history is bound to make it a richer experience.

Here are some of our favorite styles found in the area. 

Pennsylvania German Traditional, 1700 - Late 1800s

Reflecting the style of Pennsylvania’s earliest German speaking settlers, this home type usually consists of a 2 or 3 room layout with a central chimney and corner stair. Many of these stone buildings were built over a spring to provide running water and cool temperatures for food storage. Fun Fact - the town of Springhouse is named for this practice. The layout of this home type evolved over the centuries to include more formal elements like multiple bay windows.

Cape Cod Style, 1600s - 1950s

This home style is quintessentially American, originating in its namesake town in Massachusetts in the 17th century. Though it has evolved in numerous respects to its current iterations, the popularity of the Cape Cod is owed as much to its simple, pleasing symmetry as its practical layout. Durable, efficient, and constructed with available materials, original Cape Cod homes were built by the country’s first British settlers and mimicked the design of their dwellings in England. Made to withstand the wind, rain and sea of the northeastern American coast, Cape Cods are built to last.

Georgian Style, 1700-1800

Georgian style homes were generally two story stone or brick with a symmetrical pattern of windows and doors. Popular during the colonial era, Georgian homes reflected the desire of many more prosperous settlers for more formal design. These were the first homes to be designed by architects, as opposed to the utilitarian homes whose design followed their function.

Federal Style, 1780 -1820

A refinement of the Georgian style, the Federal style has many of the same elements of symmetry, formality, and classical details (see the arched fan;ight window, above right.) The details of the Federal style home are more delicate, the touches throughout are more decorative.

Victorian Gothic Revival Style, 1860 - 1890

First seen in the United States after the Civil War, Victorian Gothic homes feature highly stylized elements of English, French and German medieval architecture. Pointed windows and doorways, sharply gabled roofs, turrets, and terra cotta tile work are all elements of this home type favored by DIYers with a bent toward historic preservation.

Second Empire Victorian, 1860 - 1900

Also known as the Mansard style, Second Empire design became popular in France during the reign of Napoleon III. The style was introduced in the United States via World’s Fair Exhibitions in the late 19th century, and it quickly spread throughout the northeastern and midwestern U.S. The mansard roof, named after French architect Francois Mansart, created a functional attic space. This increased area made the Second Empire an appealing form for the growing families of the early 19th Century. One particularly ornate example of Second Empire design is Philadelphia’s City Hall; the style was popular not only for homes, but for government buildings as well.

Queen Anne Victorian, 1880-1910

The Queen Anne style is what many may picture when describing a Victorian home. Numerous decorative details, spacious porches, and an overall ornate quality make them the definitive house of this type. Named after the Renaissance style popular during England’s Queen Anne’s reign in the 18th century, the style remains one of the region’s most beloved for historic home enthusiasts. Developments in American industry made many features possible as these homes were built in the U.S., such as three dimensional spindle work, and a greater use of wood trim that could be delivered via railroad. Steep roofs, large dormers, and cross gables are also commonly seen in a Queen Anne.

Tudor Revival Style, 1890-1920

Though called ‘Tudor’, this style of home is actually a combination of various elements from late medieval English construction. In the early 20th century, the use of ‘pattern books’ became prevalent across the U.S., which were essentially blueprints of popular housing types. The Tudor style’s popularity blossomed during the 1920s and 30s, though they harken back to quaint medieval cottages. Some defining features include multiple gables, sharply pitched roofs, and partially timbered wall surfaces. These homes also often have a decorative chimney on the front or side, diamond shaped windows, and a ‘board and baton’ front door. They are most frequently constructed with stucco or masonry, along with ornamental brick work throughout.

Bungalow / Craftsman Style, 1900 - 1930/span>

Conceived on the West Coast as a result of the Craftsman movement, this style of home was popularized via the increasingly popular Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping. Based upon the English Arts and Crafts movement, this design was rooted in the use of natural materials and forms that harmonized with the landscape. The term ‘bungalow’ was actually taken from one-story dwellings in India that served as resting stops for travelers, which explains the subtle Eastern influence in the linear, simple elevation of the home. Overhanging gables, stone bases, and open porches with solid geometric columns, lend a solid feel to the Craftsman or Bungalow style home.

Prairie Style, 1900-1920/span>

The Prairie Style home is a truly American original conceived by Frank Lloyd Wright during his time studying architecture with the group known as the Prairie School. Wright and his cohorts studied in and around Chicago under the master architect Louis Sullivan.  They were heavily influenced by the forms and landscape of the midwestern prairie. The group’s goal was to create a “quiet” form which was unique to the American landscape, and not part of a ‘revival’ as was so popular at the time. Prairie homes have low-pitched roofs, horizontal lines, and a warm combination of wood and stone building materials. These are often left with their original grain and texture to recall the land on which they’re built. Sears and other catalog companies caught on to this style’s function and popularity, and they began to sell them in ‘kits’ for residents to construct. Their ease of construction and affordability made them an integral part of the American suburb.

Ranch Style Home, 1920 - 1960

Another style that originated in the U.S., the Ranch style was influenced by the Spanish colonial architecture of the 17th to the 19th centuries. The single story design comprised of local, practical materials met the needs of these residents, as it did for those who updated the design in the 1920s. The Ranch home is defined by its long profile and open layout, and its simple construction made it an enormous part of the post WWII housing boom. It became prevalent as the typical design in the many housing developments growing across the country. Other features include sliding glass doors opening to a patio, large windows, and a dovecote (meant as a roost for pigeons or doves). Also called a “rambler”, the ranch took on various forms such as the raised, two story version; and the split-level, identified by its multi-faceted facade. 

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Kerry makes it her priority to provide each and every client with dedicated personal service coupled with in-depth market knowledge, experience, and the tenacity to deliver the most favorable terms and best possible price.

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