Architectual Styles


  • Colonial style home plans are generally two to two and one half story homes with a very simple and efficient design. This architectural style is very identifiable with its very simplistic rectangular shape and the large columns. These homes are also very symmetrical with equally sized windows generally spaced in a uniform fashion across the front of the home with decorative shutters. Colonial plans usually have one gabled roof from side to side or a hipped roof. Entrances are often accentuated with tall columns extending up both stories.
  • Colonial revival house plans are typically two to three story home designs with symmetrical facades and gable roofs. Pillars and columns are common, often expressed in temple-like entrances with porticos topped by pediments. Multi-pane, double-hung windows with shutters, dormers, and paneled doors with sidelights topped with rectangular transoms or fanlights help dress up the exteriors which are generally wood or brick. Additional common features include center entry-hall floor plan, fireplaces, and simple, classical detailing.
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    • Many of us may have had a cape cod style home as our fist home since they are generally smaller in size and more affordable. These smaller homes became very popular in the 1920's and allowed thousands of people the opportunity to own a home. Many of these homes were left unfinished in the attic and later finished as families could afford it. Some of the most prominent features of cape cod style homes are:
      • Small rectangular sizes designed for small families.
      • 1.5 story structures with gables roofs and usually two or more small dormers.
      • The exteriors vary from brick, wide clapboard siding and sometime stucco.
      • Usually the garages on Cape cod style homes are detached and positioned towards the rear of the home.
      • These homes often had fireplaces with masonry chimneys.
    • The 1-1/2 story style of a cape cod home is often found in plans categorized as Country style or farmhouse style homes. Since these homes are in a more rural setting large covered porches are often times added.
    • Cape Cod style house plans have been a significant part of our country's history since many soldiers returning from World War II were assisted by the government with guaranteed loans and low interest rates to purchase them. These homes were often referred to as GI (general issue) homes because of the government programs that helped the soldiers get back into the workforce and enjoy the benefits of home ownership.
    • The Cape Cod originated in the early 18th century as early settlers used half-timbered English houses with a hall and parlor as a model, and adapted it to New England's stormy weather and natural resources. Cape house plans are generally one to one-and-a-half story dormered homes featuring steep roofs with side gables and a small overhang. They are typically covered in clapboard or shingles and are symmetrical in appearance with a central door, multi-paned, double-hung windows, shutters, a formal, center-hall floor plan, hardwood floors and little exterior ornamentation. Some cottage house plans share Cape-inspired elements.
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    • Side-gabled, gambrel or hip Roof: moderate or varied pitch,
    • Slight eave overhang, boxed with modillions, dentils, or other classical moldings
    • Gabled or pedimented dormers
    • Segmental arched doors, windows, porches
    • Transom lights above doors
    • Six- or eight-panel door
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Pediment (doors and windows)
    • Quoins, belt course
    • Pilaster
    • The word or term "Georgian" refers to the period of architecture in America beginning around 1700. Georgian style house plans were the dominant style of the English colonies for most of the 1700's during the reigns of Kings George I, II, and III.

    The overall features of Georgian house plans can be described as a symmetrical composition enriched by classical detail. The structural and detail aspects of Georgian house plans show distinctions among regions as do other architectural styles. Georgian home plan architecture also share a unique set of characteristics which includes one or two story boxed floor plans usually two rooms deep, windows that are symmetrically balanced (aligned horizontally and vertically - never in adjacent pairs), windows usually five-ranked on front facade, less commonly three- or seven-ranked. The windows on a georgian house design have small panes of glass usually 9 or 12 panes per sash, paneled front door with decorative crown supported by pilasters, front door that's uncovered or covered by porch. Other georgian house plan features include side gable, hip, or gambrel roof on the main body of the building, a centered gable of the front facade, and cornice detail with dentils and other decorative molding. Georgian house plans are one of several colonial house plan styles.

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    • (DUTCH COLONIAL) Side-gabled or gambrel Roof: low pitch
    • Shed dormers
    • Flared eaves
    • Full-width one-story porch
    • Dutch Colonial house plans are usually identified as one stories (sometimes 1 1/2 and 2 stories) with gabled or gambreled roof with little or no overhang. The roofs of dutch colonial houseplans are usually moderate to steeply pitched with flared eaves. In earlier original examples, the entrance door is divided into upper and lower halves. Today, this is more commonly a single unit door. The fireplace chimneys are at the end of the dutch colonial house plans (one or both side walls).
    • There is one main distinction that sets the dutch colonial house plans apart from the other colonial styles. That would be the unusual roof which is called a gambrel roof. This roof became common as a means of increasing the roof span and making use of the attic space as livable space. With this type of roof, the homeowner was able to use the main floor for business operations and the upper floors for the family living quarters as seen in the urban tradition of Dutch colonials.

    Common features of dutch colonial house plans include a gable or commonly gambrel roof with little or no rake overhang, parapeted roof with paired end chinmeys, flaring eaves, and shed or gable or radius type dormers.


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    The Cottage home is typically a smaller design with picturesque details and informal but romantic styling. Consider images of a cozy and inviting storybook home. Sometimes referred to as Carpenter Gothic Revival, cottages will have whimsical medieval details such as balconies, lacey gingerbread bargeboards and ornamental chimneys. Windows can be expansive bay windows or casement windows with diamond or rectangular panes. Shingled gable roofs are accentuated by rafter brackets and projecting eaves. Natural materials fit best on a cottage home - vertical or horizontal siding accented by stone or brick on different walls, porch columns or chimney. The open floor plan is asymmetrical, flexible and flows casually from room to room.

    Due to the overall warm and inviting appeal, cottages are perfect vacation homes that do well in a lake or wilderness setting. Cottages have also been referred to as bungalows or cabins because of their size and tendency to be vacation homes, but the style also translates effortlessly to more generous dimensions.

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    The American farmhouse is a country home style that highlights the simplicity of rural living. Coming up the drive, you will notice a large front porch or wraparound porch with the door centered, second-floor dormer windows and a gable roof that often runs parallel to the main road. The roof frequently flares out to cover the porch, which is an important part of the home plan. These large porches were originally designed to help cool the interior of the home also provide a shady spot for guests to gather and enjoy the outdoors. With functional shutters, decorative porch railing, and dormer windows that increase interior light and living space, the architecture of a country home is minimally ornamental but very efficient. Large, symmetrical windows help to accentuate the exterior and bring the outside in. The exterior is typically faced with horizontal siding.

    Farmhouse floor plans are usually square or symmetrically shaped, sometimes with side wings. The typical large Farmhouse footprint makes it well suited for large lots, though examples of this style can be found in many areas around the country, including urban environments.

    The interior of a Farmhouse boasts a large "country kitchen" and a cluster of bedrooms on the upper level. Farmhouses contain at least one fireplace and large family gathering areas designed for relaxation. This country home is casual, functional and comfortable. Influenced by a number of different home styles, the Farmhouse is an elegant fixture in America's landscape.


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    • Side-gabled or hip Roof: moderate or varied pitch, or low pitch
    • Slight eave overhang, boxed with modillions, dentils, or other classical moldings
    • gabled or pedimented dormers
    • segmental (sometimes round) arched doors, windows, porches
    • round fanlight or elliptical fanlight with sidelights
    • six- or eight-panel door
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Unbroken pediment on windows
    • Classical one story columns
    • Quoins, belt course
    • Garlands, floral ornament
    • Pilaster
    • The Adam or Federal house plans style was the dominant style in the United states around the period of 1780-1820's. It came about as a refining development of the earlier georgian style house plans.
    • Identifying features of the federal colonial house plans include a fanlight over the front door with or without sidelights. The fanlight is usually a semi-circular or elliptical shape. The front door is often emphasized with decorative mouldings. The windows are double-hung sashes with 6 panes per sash and are aligned horizontally and vertically in a symmetrical pattern five rank on the front facade. The windows are never in pairs; however, palladian style window in three parts are common above the front door. The roofs are mostly hipped and can be seen gabled as well. Federal style house plans are commonly seen with and without covered entries.
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    • Side-gabled or hip Roof: moderate or varied pitch,
    • Slight eave overhang, boxed with modillions, dentils, or other classical moldings
    • round fanlight or elliptical fanlight with sidelights at doors
    • six- or eight- panel door
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Classical one or two story columns
    • Full-height entry porch(commonly with pediment)
    • Early classical revival house plans are rare in its existance today and is located mainly in the southern states. Virginia has the most examples where the style was popular during the years of 1790 to 1830. This was due in part to Thomas Jefferson who was an advacate of this style. During the early 1830's Greek Revival house plans eventually came into popularity in this phase of classical revival.
    • Monticello
    • Greek and Roman influences have given the neoclassical house plan an air of elegance and beauty, and a reflection of classical architecture.
    • Neoclassical home plans evoke a sense of grandeur by incorporating traditional elements drawn from Greek and Roman classical architecture. Two-story porch-supported columns are typical on Neoclassical homes, as is symmetry exhibited by balanced windows and a centered door. Eclectic touches such as exaggerated broken pediments may adorn the doorways, cornices, and windows. Other distinguishing details of the Neoclassical home plan include roof-line balustrades, dentil molding below the cornice, and side and wing porches or porticos where one can enjoy vistas and sunshine.
    • Symmetrical and proportional.
    • Centered door, balanced windows, and matching winged porticos.
    • Grand Columns: Ionic or Corinthian columns or pilasters that often extend two stories.
    • Decorative Façade: Ornate details on doorways, cornices, and windows.
    • Double-hung symmetrically placed windows
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    • Side-gabled or front-gabled Roof: low pitch
    • Slight eave overhang with wide band of trim below
    • Roof-top cupolas
    • Rectangular transom lights and sidelights
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Pediment (doors, triangular only)
    • Classical one story or two story columns
    • Full-height entry (commonly with pediment)
    • Greek revival house plans have gabled or hipped roofs with low pitches. The areas of style distinctions are the cornice lines, entry doorway & windows, and the column supported porches.The cornice of the main roof usually has a wide band. The wide cornice band represents the entablature of classical greek architecture consisting of the frieze and the architrave. Greek or roman columns are usually present to support the porch. The three types of columns normally seen on greek revival house plans are the Doric (which has plain capitals), the Ionic (which has scroll-like spiral called volutes), and the corinthian (which has decorative leaves). The front door is surround by sidelights and a rectangular transom and is usually dressed with pilasters, pediments and/ or columns. The windows are commonly 6 pane glazing on the top and bottom sash. Window surrounds are simple and far less elaborate then the entry doorway.
    • Greek revival house plans are sometimes referred to as southern colonial house plans
    • Full-façade porch or full-width one-story porch or wrap around (three or more sides) porch
    • Pilasters


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    • (FRENCH COUNTRY) French architecture is a unique style that offers a lot of charm with its distinctive characteristics. These house plans generally have asymmetrical exteriors with a combination of ornamental attributes that complete the design. Some of the common characteristics of this design are: • Stucco and brick exterior. • Steep roof pitches at varying heights. Curved roof pitches are sometimes incorporated in one or two locations. • These homes are usually two stories in height with high rooflines. • Chimneys are usually large and sloped at the base. As with many other styles, there are variations to French architecture. Some plans are symmetrical with steep hipped roofs and exteriors are sometimes siding, shakes or other materials.
    • Rooted in the rural French countryside, the French Country style includes both modest farmhouse designs as well as estate-like chateaus. At its roots, the style exudes a rustic warmth and comfortable designs. Typical design elements include curved arches, soft lines and stonework. Inside, you’ll find wood beams, plaster walls and stone floors as common thematic features.
    • European houses usually have steep roofs, subtly flared curves at the eaves and are faced with stucco and stone. Typically, the roof comes down to the windows. The second floor often is in the roof or, as we know it, the attic.
    • The French Country style combines the best of old world elegance with comfortable interiors. With it's roots in the sunny hillsides of rural France, where each province has its own colloquial style, French Country architecture reflects a wealth of diversity. Old and new, formal and informal elements are mixed in Houses ranging from humble cottages and farmhouses to grand chateaus.
    • Common elements include tall, thin windows, often with slat-board shutters, steep roofs, multiple gables, and assorted arches (windows, shutters garage openings and entries). Stucco and stone are frequently used, trimmed with painted timbers, windows boxes, wrought iron railings and brick highlights around windows and doors.
    • The elevations of our French Country Home Plans reflect these time honored elements, while the floor Plans incorporate modern design features designed for the way we live our lives in this century.
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    Walls: Half Timbering, stucco, wall surface material extends up into gable without break
    • Side-gabled (sometimes front-gabled) Roof: Steep pitch,
    • Parapet on gabled roof
    • gabled or shaped dormers
    • decorated verge boards
    • trusses in gables
    • round towers
    • multi-level eaves
    • flate pantile roof
    • tudor (flattened gothic) arch and sometimes round arched windows, doors, porches
    • board-and-batten door
    • oriel
    • dominant decorative chimneys
    • The tudor house plans of centuries ago were true half-timbering houses where the timber was the structural support extending through the walls. The space between the timber was then filled with lathe and stucco. This is why two common colors of a tudor house design throughout history have been brown (timber color) and white (stucco color). Today, designing tudors with this method would be very expensive to replicate and practice. Thus, with today's technology, residential building designers have evolved creative ways of designing tudor house plans to show suggestions of the original half-timbering with thin cut timbers actually veneered to the walls and interspersed with stucco as well as other materials like patterned brick and stone.
    Characteristics of tudor house plans includes: Steeply pitched gables and roof (slate or thatch covered), bays of windows (usually casement) having diamond-paned leaded glass, clustered chimney stacks of fascinating design (usually topped with decorative chimney pots), and the half-timbered and stuccoed facades with brick and/ or stone accents and finishes. Even with these common elements, you will find that the tudor designs have evolved slight variations in different regions of the country.
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    • Walls: Smooth stone
    • Hip Roof: Steep pitch
    • Slight eave overhang, boxed with modillions, dentils, or other classical moldings
    • Gabled or wall dormers
    • Round towers
    • Metal roof cresting
    • Baskethandle (elliptical) or ogee arched doors, windows, porches
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Oriel
    • Label mold
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    • The Norman house plan often features a rounded tower with a cone-shaped roof.
    • The Norman style home, inspired by the homes built in the Normandy area of France, is constructed of brick, stone, or stucco and may feature half-timbering. A small round tower with a cone-shaped roof gives this style a romantic touch. The solid, symmetrical façade gives these Norman home a feeling of solidity and permanence.
    • Steeply pitched hipped roof with dormers and flared eaves
    • Built with brick, stone, or stucco, with exterior chimney at both ends
    • Often with casement windows
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    • Mansard Roof
    • Slight eave overhang with brackets
    • Arched top dormers
    • Square towers
    • Roof-top cupolas
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Chamfered porch supports
    • Full-width one-story porch or partial (often inset in L) porch
    • Quoins, belt course


Victorian architecture is a broad term used to describe the more defined styles within the period, which was quite popular from about 1820 to the early 1900’s. Sub-styles are the Second Empire, Queen Anne, Shingle style, Stick style, Richardsonian Romanesque style and Folk Victorian. Generally, Victorian style homes are asymmetrical, two stories, and have steep roof pitches, turrets and dormers. Large porches are embellished with turned posts and decorative railing. Walls are often mixed with different textures and/or multi-colored for contrast. Complex details are abundant and vary wildly, which leads to frequent overlapping and the merging of the various sub-Victorian styles. Victorian homes are most commonly two stories with steep roof pitches, turrets and dormers. Porches are often large with turned posts and decorative railing. Decorative gable trim, corbels, and a variation of exterior finishes.

The timeless appeal of Victorian Homes still very popular in the United States

  • Victorian style developed and was quite popular from about 1820 to the early 1900's. Victorian homes are most commonly two stories with steep roof pitches, turrets and dormers. Porches are often large with turned posts and decorative railing. Decorative gable trim, corbels, and a variation of exterior finishes. This style actually is a combination of several other main styles like Italianate, Second Empire and Queen Anne. Designers began to implement characteristics of several styles to create what is most commonly known as Victorian. This style is sometimes viewed by critics as cluttered or overpowered with trim work and ornamentation, however these are the attributes that made Victorian homes so popular during the 1800's. During the late 1800's and early 1900's there were a great deal of Victorian style homes built by developers in the area. Today, Victorian homes are still being built throughout the United States. It remains a popular architectural style and can nearly always be found in the older neighborhoods of America. Many people seek these types of homes in good condition for restoration because of their timeless appeal. Many of these homes can be found on the historical register.
  • Although developed and popular from about 1820 into the early 1900's, the Victorian style is still desirable today. Strong historical origins include steep roof pitches, turrets, dormers, towers, bays, eyebrow windows and porches with turned posts and decorative railings. Ornamentation and decoration are used along with shingles or narrow-lap wood siding. These homes are mostly two-story in design.
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    • Walls: patterned stick work on walls
    • Side-gabled or front-gabled Roof: Steep pitch,
    • Slight eave overhang, open, not boxed
    • Hipped dormers
    • Square towers
    • Trusses in gables
    • Flared eaves
    • Exposed rafters
    • Chamfered porch supports
    • Full-width one-story porch or partial porch (often inset in L)
    • Stick Victorian house plans are another variation of the victorian style architecture. It was in fashion during the late 1800's in particular from around the 1860's - 1890's. The style is primarily identified by the "stickwork" or false half timbering that mimics the Medieval English Tudor Revival buildings. However, in contrast to the stick house plans, most Tudor Revival houses were sided with stucco, stone, or brick. On the other hand, stick style houses are almost always made with wood.

    During the days of its popularity, many pattern books were published that showed examples of stick construction but relatively few were built. The stick style was a transitional style that followed Gothic Revival architecture and preceded Queen Anne architecture which was a more widespread and popular style. San Francisco has a large concentration of townhouses in the stick house plans style and in the northeastern states there are surviving examples of gabled stick victorian houses.

    Identifying features of stick victorian house plans includes wooden wall siding (either shingles or horizontal siding) broken up by uniformed patterns of wood (stick work) in horizontal, vertical, and/ or diagonal boards raised from the surface of the wall. Roofs are steeply pitch gables (except in townhouse versions where the roof is flat) with cross gables present. The gables are decorated with trusses at the apex, brackets support overhanging eaves with exposed rafter tails, and the porches usually have diagonal support or curve braces. Some examples even show the addition of a tower either square or rectangular in shape. It is rare that you will find all the these features in one example of stick victorian house plans.

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    • Walls: Half Timbering, patterned wood shingles, patterned stick-work on walls
    • Parapet on gabled roof
    • Side-gabled, front-gabled or hipped with cross gables Roof: Steep pitch,
    • gabled or shaped dormers
    • round (sometimes square) towers
    • decorated verge boards
    • trusses in gables
    • metal roof cresting
    • broken pediment on windows
    • window: large pane surrounded by smaller panes or blank lower pane with patterned pane above
    • dominant decorative chimney
    • classical one story columns or turned spindles porch supports
    • full-width one-story porch or partial (often inset in L) porch or wrap around porch
    • Queen Anne victorian style architecture is identified by several features that include the following: Steep pitched roofs usually irregular in shape and with a dominate front-facing gable, pattern shingles, cut-away bays (roof gables that overhang bay windows), one story porches that extent across the front and/or side walls, and a tower that is usually placed at the front facade corner. Door and window surrounds are generally simple and window sashes usually have a single pane of glass. Doors are traditionally engraved with decorative detailing and a single pane of glass in the upper portion. The gables are decorated with patterned shingles with a triangular section in top of the gable that extend forward. Wall surfaces are used as decorative elements in the Queen Anne style as is in the Stick style victorian. Examples of this technique include the use of bays, towers, and wall projections to eliminate plain flat walls and mixing wall materials of different texture. Queen Anne house plans include some or all of these features in its design.
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    • Walls: Rough-faced stone (1st story only), patterned wood shingles, plain wood shingles,
    • Side-gabled or front-gabled or gambrel Roof: moderate or varied pitch,
    • Hipped, gabled or eyebrow dormers
    • Round towers
    • Multi-level eaves
    • Syrian arched doors, windows, porches
    • Full-width one-story porch
    • The name itself describes the dominating finish veneer found in the style of home. The shingle style do not place emphasizes on elaborant detailing around the doors, windows, cornice, and other design elements as commonly seen in traditional victorian homes; rather, it focus on the design of complex shapes and unifying the uncommon with a smooth veneer finish.

    The shingle house plan style is a unique American form of other traditions. It incorporates elements from the Queen Anne style, the Richardsonian Romanesque, and the colonial revival style. Wide porches, asymmetrical forms, and shingled surfaces are from the queen anne influence while sculpted shapes, Romanesque arches, and rough faced square stone migrated from the Richardsonian Romanesque style. From the colonial revival came the gambrel roofs, classical columns, and palladian windows often used in the gable.

    A typical shingle style design has an asymmetrical facade with multi-level eaves. Walls are finished in shingles with no interruption of corner boards. Roofs in general are steeply pitched and have intersecting cross gables. Large porches are common but, a porch may be omitted or small in scale. Porch supports are either thin wooden post, classical columns, or wide piers of shingle or stone finish. Towers are found in some examples of shingle houses. The towers are usually bulged or less than fully developed with the roof merging into the main house. Dormers are often present usually being gabled; however, hipped, curved, eyebrowed, shed, and polygonal dormers are other types that have been incorporated into the shingle house style.

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    • Walls: Patterned wood shingles,
    • Side-gabled or front-gabled or hip Roof: moderate or varied pitch,
    • Slight eave overhang with brackets
    • Turned spindles porch supports
    • Full-height two-tier entry porch (commonly with pediment) or full-facade two-tier porch
    • Full-width one-story porch or partial (often inset in L) porch or wrap around porch
    • The Folk Victorian is a simple version of the more elaborate Victorian house styles.
    • The folk victorian is often confussed with the queen anne style. While the two styles do have similar spindlework detailing, the Folk Victorian is symmetrical and orderly in its design. It lacks the presence of towers, the elaborate moldings, textured veneer, and varied wall surfaces that are characteristic of the Queen Anne Victorian.
    • The porches of these homes are the general areas in which detailing takes place. Porch supports are either turned spindles (as detailed in Queen Anne Victorians), or square posts with beveled corners (chamfered) as seen in porches of italianate house plans. Lace-like spandrels are common and turned balusters are used as porch railings. Balusters are also used in suspended form (in the frieze) from the porch ceiling. Eaves may be open rafter tails or boxed with brackets along the cornice. Window surrounds are simple or either dressed with pediments above and examples of side gabled or pyramidal roofs often has a center gables with decorative detailing

    The widespread of Folk Victorian house plans was made possible due to the railroads. During the growth of the railroad and rail system connecting the states, wood working machinery became very accessible to local trade persons making it possible to produce inexpensive victorian detailing. Also, the ability for lumber yards to stock prefab detailing from other mills was possible because of the rail system. Builders and homeowners were able to select from these options and add onto the traditional folk houses that were common to the local craftsman thereby giving the homes a distinct styling similar to Queen Anne Victorian houses.

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    • Wall surface material extends up into gable
    • Side-gabled or front-gabled Roof: Steep pitch,
    • Slight eave overhang, open, not boxed
    • gabled or wall dormers
    • decorated verge boards
    • trusses in gables
    • occasionally exposed rafters
    • pointed/gothic arched windows, doors, porches
    • oriel
    • label mold
    • chamfered porch supports
    • full-width one-story porch or partial (often inset in L) porch
    • Characteristic of Gothic revival architecture includes steeply pitch roofs, usually with steep cross gables. Front gabled (main roof) or hipped are less common but are used. Gables commonly have decorative vergeboards and the wall surface extend into the gable or gables. Windows are commonly seen extended into gables (with or without the pointed arch or gothic shape pointed arch. One story porches (entry or full lenght) are usual and commonly supported by flattened Gothic arches.

SOUTHWESTERN / CALIFORNIA STYLES (Mediterranean Period Houses)

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    Mission Style (Spanish Mission)

    • Walls: stucco
    • Hip roof: moderate or varied pitch
    • Parapet on gabled roof
    • Sometimes wide eave overhang, boxed with brackets (or sometimes wide overhang, open and not boxed)
    • Wall or shaped dormers
    • Square towers
    • Rounded tile roof
    • Exposed rafters
    • Sometimes round arched doors, windows, porches
    • Heavy squared piers or piers with slanted sides
    • Full-width one-story porch
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    Spanish /Mediterranean

    • Spanish or Mediterranean style house plans are most commonly found in warm climates where the clay tile roofs assist in keeping them cool during the hot summer months. The Spanish a Mediterranean style homes are usually finished with a stucco (usually white or pastel in color) exterior and often feature architectural accents like arched openings in the stucco or wood beams. This style is similar but different than the southwest style of architecture, which also originated in the southwest areas of the country.
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    Italian Renaissance

    • Walls: Smooth stone, rusticated stone (joints exaggerated
    • Hipped roof, low pitch or flat, symmetrical roof
    • Slight eave overhang, boxed with modillions, dentils, or other classical moldings or Slight to wide eave overhang with brackets
    • Square towers
    • Rounded tile or flat pantile roof
    • Round arched doors, windows, porches
    • Pilasters to sides of doors (may have pediment)
    • Pediment (doors), unbroken pediment on windows
    • Classical one story columns
    • Full-width one-story porch
    • Quoins, belt course
    • pilasters
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    • Side-gabled Roof: low pitch


Across the Midwest in the late 1800's, the Arts & Crafts movement was born in opposition to the excesses of Victorian ornamentation and the inflexible pretentiousness of the ever-present Classical revivals. The styles that fall in line with the Arts & Crafts ideals are Prairie and Craftsman. While each style is distinct from the other, they share an emphasis on comfortable informality and minimal ornamentation. These styles highlight the horizontal, with low rooflines and deep overhangs. The houses were finished largely in natural materials and expected to relate closely to the surrounding landscape.

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Prairie architecture's strong horizontality, limited building materials, and emphasis on free and open spaces are seemingly inspired by the prairies themselves. The style originated in Chicago, led by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright at the turn of the 20th century. Identifying features of the Prairie home include a low pitched roof, usually hipped, with widely overhanging eaves; two stories, with one story wings or porches; eaves, cornices and facade detailing emphasizing horizontal lines. The strong horizontal emphasis is achieved by deep, shadowed overhangs, grouping of windows in bands, thin brick, and contrasting horizontal trim, among other devices. Chimneys and piers, although plain and low, are used as sturdy vertical elements in anchoring the horizontal lines. The home is integrated with the landscape through porches, terraces, planters, window boxes and panels of windows that define spaces. Inside are large fireplaces, built-in amenities, and rich wood finishes on trim and paneling. Ornament is usually limited to abstract leaded glass patterns. Prairie style homes provide a home for real people to live harmoniously, casually and comfortably with the land around them.

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The Craftsman home style incorporates natural elements and simple detailing to create a home with a relaxed and informal appeal. At its height of popularity in the early 20th century, the Craftsman style of home was mostly applied to small, affordable bungalows. In recent years, however, the quality and architectural details of the Craftsman style has reemerged and been found to translate well onto just about any building design.

Craftsman architectural details are modest yet meaningful. Its use of natural and local building materials can be among the least expensive to buy and work with. Materials used may be stucco, wood, brick, stone, cedar shakes (shingles), and lap siding. Usually, you will see a combination of two or three of the materials blended in perfect harmony in the craftsman house design. Unifying elements include a low pitched roof, extended eave overhang with exposed rafter tails, the use of brackets at gables, windows with divided panes in the upper sash and a single pane in the lower sash, medium to large front porches with heavy, square or tapered columns that may be full length or resting on a base that is dressed with stone or stucco.


  • Modern house plans are the most frequently built homes in the United States, at least since the mid 1940's. Modern architecture actually covers several variations of design that span even to this day. These subtypes include traditional house plans, ranch house plans, split-level house plans, contemporary house plans, and shed house plans. Ofcourse most homeowners, who are not that well versed in architecture, often ask for a traditional house plan but describe and incorporate just about any and all types of house plan features from a range of architectural styles.
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    • By the mid 1950's, the ranch house plan style begin to take shape across the American landscape. In fact, it is still a popular style in use today. They are typically defined by being of one story with very low pitched roofs and moderate to wide overhangs, rectangular in shape with or without offsets, small porches, and basic detailing to include window shutters.
    • Ranch style homes (originally known as the California Ranch) were quite popular plans in the 50's and 60's. Their styling is very simple and rectangular in shape. Ranch style homes generally have shallow pitched hipped roofs that extended across a single or double car garage. The draw back to the ranch style home is that is requires a large lot because of the width. Ranch style plans are most popular with three bedrooms and two baths. This plan style has evolved over the years. You can now find a ranch style plan with various architectural styles such as Traditional, Georgian, Country and more. The ranch style home plan is popular because it generally provides all that you need for day-to-day living on the main level. For this reason the ranch style plan is often built without a basement. With a basement the ranch style home is quite large with many bedrooms. For this reason the ranch style home plan can be cost effective considering the total amount of square footage you end up with. It can however be expensive because you must have a wide lot to built it; and as with every plan style the exterior finishes will increase the cost significantly because of it's long rectangular shape.
    • A ranch typically is a one-story house, but becomes a raised ranch or split level with room for expansion. Asymmetrical shapes are common with low-pitched roofs and a built-in garage (in rambling ranches). The exterior is faced with wood and bricks, or a combination of both. Many of our ranch homes can be also be found in our contemporary house plan and traditional house plan sections.
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    • Architect-designed homes of the 1950's, 60's, and early 70's with subtypes that include the flat roof design and low pitched gabled roof with wide overhangs. The design generally depart from the likes of the traditional form and style. The gabled style often show influencing factors from the craftsman house plan and prairie house plan styles with the use of large overhangs, exposed roof beams, wood, brick, and stone veneers. Exposed supporting beams are also common in contemproary house plans. One story designs are the usual, but two story designs are common as well.
    • Shed style
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    • This style of housing was loosely conceived from the likes of the tudor house plan style architecture. They share the dominate front gable and massive chimney but is scaled back in intracate detailing and with a lower roof pitch. This was a dominate house plan style in the 1940's and early 1950's.
    • Traditional homes are some of the most common styles built throughout the United States. These floor plans are designed to accommodate the American way of life. Traditional homes are kind of a mix of several other styles but there are some basics that are usually consistent throughout traditional designs: Simple, often hipped rooflines. Brick or stucco exteriors are most common. Traditional plans are often single level floor plans with steeper roof pitches though lofts or bonus rooms are quite common. Covered porches. Open foyers.
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    • The new American house plan embraces the idea of uninterrupted flow and expansive style.
    • A reflection of American affluence and desire for elbow room, the New American-style home is big, inside and out. The New American house plan is all about uninterrupted flow: from kitchen to dining area to family room; from family room to deck; from master bedroom suite with walk-in closets to luxurious master baths with double sinks, separate shower and tub. It's a style as expansive and exuberant as the country in which it was created.
    • Oversized windows let light stream into interior space
    • Second-story interiors that often are open to below
    • Massive two-story asymmetrical facades (often of brick or stucco)
    • A roof made visually complex by contrasting peaks and heights
    • Oversized Windows: Not only is the home stately in size, but the elements which make up this breathtaking masterpiece feature large "Palladium" style windows flooding two-story entryways and interiors with light. Garages feature at least three stalls and ample room for storage. Oversized windows allow abundant light into interior spaces.
    • Asymmetrical Facade: Massive asymmetrical facades are often of brick or stone and are designed to effortlessly flow from one large open room to another. Gourmet kitchens lead to large dining areas, family rooms and expansive decks, while master bedroom suites offer luxury baths with double sinks, separate show and baths, spa amenities and fireplaces.
    • Steeply-Pitched Roof: With its asymmetrical, two-story brick, stucco, or stone facade, roofs with complex peaks and pitches, often to accommodate interior vaulted ceilings, this style home uses traditional Colonial, Georgian, Shingle Style and Victorian elements to make its bold statement.


  • Not a style but a method of selecting materials with the goal to have a minimal footprint on the environment
  • For more information on Green Building, please fill out our contact form and Blake Taelman, a Certified Green Professional, will contact you.