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A Quick Introduction to Types of Architectural Home Designs

133 Hidden Hills Lane 76108, Fort Worth, Michelle Perry, Briggs Freeman Sotheby's luxury home for sale in Dallas Fort Worth-exterior

(Courtesy of “Unbored”) Tudor? Balustrade? Dromer? It’s easy to get lost–very lost–in the terminology of architecture when looking for a home. Thankfully, from the wit and craft of Co-Authors Elizabeth Foy Larsen and Joshua Glenn (aided by brilliant artwork by illustrators Heather Kasunick and Mister Reusch), your linguistic architectural labyrinth is about to come to an end! Enjoy this excerpt from the book about understanding and differentiating styles in architecture (Pst – this bit was written by Foy Larsen):

“One reason American architecture is cool is that it’s so diverse. Not only do the different styles reflect distinct periods in our country’s history, they also are permanent emblems of our immigrant roots. Here are some common architectural styles in the United States. Make your own tour of architectural history by walking around where you live and spotting these styles and features below.”

Georgian Colonial

Popular in New England and the South in the 1700s. Georgian Colonial homes are smaller and simpler versions of the imposing British mansions that inspired them. Most share these features:

  • Square, symmetrical shape
  • Front door placed in the middle of the exterior
  • Evenly spaced, multi-paned windows
  • Dentil moldings along the roofline. That’s what you call those decorative tooth-like blocks.
  • Shutters

Local Examples in DFW: 

4106 Briargrove Lane | Dallas, TX, 75287

114 Watson Place | Strawn, TX, 76475

7215 Abrams Place Court | Dallas, TX, 75231

ROAD TRIP: Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.

Tudor Revival

Built to look like a medieval cottage or castle, a Tudor’s most distinctive element is its decorative half-timbering (wooden patterns that combine timber with plaster, brick, or stone). Other features include:

  • Steep roof
  • Tall, narrow windows
  • Prominent gables, or the triangles formed by a sloping roof.
  • Huge chimney

ROAD TRIP: The Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, a suburb of Detroit. Mich.




Queen Anne

These fancy “painted ladies” are the most elaborate examples of victorian architecture, which was popular in the hue 1800s. A Queen Anne can be made of wood. brick, or stone. Many have the following features:

  • Spindle work-lacy wooden ornamentation that is also called “gingerbread.”
  • Bay windows- windows that jut out from the main walls of a building.
  • Painted balustrades, which are rows of small posts that support the upper rail of the railing.
  • Front or side porch
  • Round or square tower


Local Examples in DFW: 

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701 S Rogers Street | Waxahachie, TX, 75165

418 W Water Street | Weatherford, TX, 76086 

3302 Wilton Woods Court, Colleyville, 76034

ROAD TRIP: San Francisco, Calif. – especially the Alamo Square Historic District.

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Mediterranean Revival

Influenced by the architccrural sryles of Spain, Portugal, Italy and Mexico, these fanciful homes are very popular in California and Florida. They closely resemble Spanish Colonials and Mission Revivals, all of which share these features:

  • Terra cotta tile roof
  • Stucco exterior
  • Arches above doorS and windows
  • Wrought iron balcony and window grilles

ROAD TRIP: Stanford University’s ~ lain Quad. In Palo Alto, Calif., is a gorgeous example or the Mission Revival style.

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Cape Cod

First built in New lingland by British colonists, this unfussy style is known mostly for its dormers, which are windows that are set Into a sloping roof.

ROAD TRIP: Cape Cod, Mass.

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These early 20th Century homes were so popular that you could order them from the Sears catalog. Bungalows come in a variety of styles but share these features:

  • One and a half stories
  • Rooms that are connected without hallways
  • Built-in cabinets and seating areas
  • Low·pitched roof
  • Large fireplaces

ROAO TRIP: The Bungalow Heaven neighborhood in Pasadena, Calif., has over 800 homes built between 1900 and 1930.


Prairie Style

The brainchild of legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie Style homes blend in harmoniously with their natural surroundings. Prairie Style homes were especially popular in the early 1900’s. Hallmarks include:

  • Low roof
  • Horizontal lines
  • Oversized eaves, which are the lower edges of a roof
  • Open floor plan
  • Clerestory windows, which are windows that are placed above eye level

ROAD TRIP: Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio in Spring Green, Wisc. While kids of all ages can tour the grounds and the studio. you can’t go inside the house unless you are at least 12.

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Also called a California Ranch or Rambler, Ranch houses’ popularity  soured after World War II, when

families wanted afrordable and casual homes. Features include:

  • Asymmetrical rectangular, L-shaped or U -shaped layout
  • Single story
  • Low, long roofline
  • Open interior spaces
  • Attached garage
  • Sliding glass doors that open onto a patio

ROAD TRIPLevittown, Penn.

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Pueblo Revival

Inspired by the simple structures built by the Pueblo Indians, these homes are popular in New Mexico and Arizona. Their thick mud walls keep buildings cool, even in the intense desert heat. Pueblo architecture is know for:

  • Heavy doors, thick ceiling beams, and exposed timbers called vigos
  • Curved exterior
  • Interior courtyard
  • Flat roof with parapets, which are wall-like barriers placed on top of buildings and houses

ROAD TRIP: Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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Mid-Century Modern

Introduced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie Style. Mid-Century Modern homes were designed to make the most of the natural surroundings. They were first popular between the 1930s and 1960s. Features include:

  • Open floor plan
  • Glass walls
  • Outdoor “rooms• and huge patios
  • Carports and attached garages.

ROAD TRIP: Palm Springs, Calif.

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