How Much Do You Know About American Homes?
- By Jeremy Thompson
- 14 Nov, 2013
Home architecture has evolved from the log cabin houses the earliest settlers built to the home designs we know today. Log homes were built more out of function than design; the sturdy wood homes with their simple one- to three-room layouts had one goal: to protect people against harsh weather. But the styles we see […]
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This Old House has a great slideshow showing different home types, the years in which they were first built and their features. We’ve summarized their slideshow into a timeline below that will give you a great primer on the progression of American homes:
1607 to 1700s.
The Saltboxfeatures a steeply pitched roof and large chimney. Most were built in New England, but few still exist today.
1700 to 1780
. The Georgianhas a symmetrical facade with double-hung windows with nine or 12 lights in each sash and transom lights. Its style is based on similar European styles, which used classical Greek and Roman shapes.
1780 to 1820.
Another style that had a symmetrical facade, the Federalfeatured double-hung windows with shutters, paneled doors with surrounds and dentil molding. Its style was influenced by ancient Roman architecture.
1825 to 1860.
As Americans began building civic buildings that resembled Greek temples, Greek Revivalmade its way into residential architecture. Common features included full-width porches with classical columns and 6-over-6 windows.
1840 to 1880.
Gothic Revivalfeatured arched gothic windows and doors with arched panels. This trend started in Europe first and is reminiscent of the shapes seen on Medieval churches and houses.
1840 to 1885.
Italianateis an England-originated style that spurred the turn-around from classical architecture to the more informal look of Italian rural houses. The style had hip roofs, 1-over-1 or 2-over-2 windows with detailed crowns and an entryway that usually had glass in the doors.
1855 to 1885.
Second Empirestyle resembled Italianate, but it has a mansard roof, which is a four-sided roof with a double slope on all sides, and the lower slope is much steeper than the upper.
1880 to 1910.
Queen Anne‘s asymmetrical shape was influenced by the new use of forced air heating which meant rooms did not need to be built around stoves or fireplaces, and various shapes could be used. New paint technologies allowed for the use of more vibrant colors. Most people refer to this style as Victorian.
1880 to 1900.
The Shinglestyle featured an asymmetrical shape with exterior walls and roofs made of wood shingles. It was most popular along the Northeast coast.
1880 to 1900.
Richardsonian Romanesquewas always stone or brick. It’s related to the Queen Anne and Shingle styles. Characteristics included a masonry exterior with Roman or Syrian arches and arched windows.
1870 to 1910.
Folk Victorianwas a simple house style with elaborate trimwork. During the Industrial Age machine-cut wood details became more affordable, inspiring Americans to add lots of decorative trim to their small cottage homes.
1880 to 1955.
Millions of homes in the Colonial Revivalstyle still exist today. They are characterized by a symmetrical facade, large entryways, columns, 6-over-6 windows, and gambrel or side gable roofs.
1920s to 1940s.
Cape Codstyle is a one story cottage, often with a loft attic space, dormers and symmetrical window configuration. It was influenced by the simple houses in colonial New England.
1895 to 1950.
Neoclassicalis related to Colonial Revival-style. It has full porches with large columns and a symmetrical facade.
1890 to 1940.
Tudor Revivallooked more Medieval than Tudor. It has stucco or stone walls, a steep-pitch side gable roof, double-hung multi-light casement windows and bay windows.
1915 to 1945.
French Revivalstyle was influenced by homes in the French countryside. It was popular in the American suburbs in the 1920s. The style is characterized by exterior brick, stucco or stone, and it has a steeply-pitched hip roof.
1915 to 1940.
Details for the Spanish Colonial Revivalstyle were taken from Spanish, Mission, and Italian architecture. It has low red-tile roofs, stucco exterior, arched windows and doors, and a asymmetrical facade.
1910 to present.
The adobe houses built by Native Americans and Spanish colonial settlers influenced the Pueblo Revivalstyle. Homes of this design type are most often seen in Arizona and New Mexico. Features include a flat roof and earth-colored stucco walls.
1905 to 1930.
Craftsmanwas inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie style work. Features include a low-pitched gable roof that has bracketed overhangs and exposed rafters. Porches are supported by massive piers or square posts.
1920 to 1940.
Modernisticstyle homes were either built in the Art Deco style or the Art Moderne style. They featured flat roofs, smooth stucco exteriors, geometric or zigzag details and either plate-glass or glass-block windows.
1925 to present.
Internationalstyle homes have an asymmetrical facade with a flat roof and clean lines. This style was influenced by the work of European Bauhaus architects like Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
1930s to 1960s.
Ranchstyle homes are single story with a wide, asymmetrical fade. They also have a low-pitched roof and front-facing garage.
There’s only so much we can cover about the history of home design in one blog; it’s an expansive, detailed topic. If you’re looking for more resources, check out Building the Dream: A Social History of Housing in America
by Gwendolyn Wright, published in 1983. Wright explains how religious, social and economic factors have all affected American architecture.
How much do you think you know about American houses? Take this quiz
from the National Association of Realtors to find out.