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Residential Architectural Construction Styles

Bungalow

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A single story or has a second story built into a sloping roof, usually with dormer windows thus called a one and a half story. Bungalows have low pitched gabled or hipped roofs and small covered porches at the entry.

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Cabin

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This single-family structure is usually small, typically containing a second-story sleeping loft, and is more rustic in design than the cottage. Generally a second home option, the cabin can be found in a variety of country communities and resorts and is very prevalent in the ski resort environment. The cabin is generally constructed of wood or logs and has a decidedly rustic persona.

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Classical

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The most prominent feature of the Classical style is a full height entrance portico of columns supporting a triangular pediment. The robust and heavy portico is taken directly from the ancient Roman temple form. The same symmetrical, rectangular house shape is still used and the central entrance has windows symmetrically placed on either side. The cornice is generally decorated with dentils or modillions. The entrance is emphasized with a semi-circular or elliptical fanlight, sidelights and pilasters. This type of construction is more directly associated with Roman architecture and more correct Roman details and heavier proportions.

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Colonial

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Most Colonial houses are symmetrical. A central entrance way is elaborated with a pediment supported by pilasters or columns. The use of broken pediments, fanlights and sidelights are common. Classical columns with dentils or modillions are usually present. These features tend to be larger than original Colonial details. The roof may be hipped or side gabled with dormers. Windows have double hung sashes, usually with six over six or nine over nine panes and may be paired. Walls are generally constructed of masonry or masonry veneer and wood studs.

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Contemporary

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Contemporary houses are known for their odd sized and often tall windows, their lack of ornamentation and their unusual mixtures of wall materials such as stone, brick and wood. There are typically two versions: the flat roof and gabled roof. The gabled roof style is typically characterized by exposed beams. Both versions tend to be one story tall and are designed to incorporate the surrounding landscape into their overall look.

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Cottage

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Cottage style is a broad term that ranges from small, country bungalows to larger, seaside homes. True cottages are smaller with simple architectural features often highlighted by inviting porches, pathways and gardens. Exteriors range from stonework to wood siding to stucco in lighter, more muted colors to cedar shakes, common on beach cottages. Other examples of Cottage style are a classic Craftsman-style or arched top front door. A welcoming bay window, arched windows or a shutter theme throughout are also possible.

No matter which defining features are present, a Cottage-style home most always feels casual, cozy, welcoming and warm.Cottage style is a broad term that ranges from small, country bungalows to larger, seaside homes. True cottages are smaller with simple architectural features often highlighted by inviting porches, pathways and gardens. Exteriors range from stonework to wood siding to stucco in lighter, more muted colors to cedar shakes, common on beach cottages. Other examples of Cottage style are a classic Craftsman-style or arched top front door. A welcoming bay window, arched windows or a shutter theme throughout are also possible. No matter which defining features are present, a Cottage-style home most always feels casual, cozy, welcoming and warm.Cottage style is a broad term that ranges from small, country bungalows to larger, seaside homes. True cottages are smaller with simple architectural features often highlighted by inviting porches, pathways and gardens. Exteriors range from stonework to wood siding to stucco in lighter, more muted colors to cedar shakes, common on beach cottages.

Other examples of Cottage style are a classic Craftsman-style or arched top front door. A welcoming bay window, arched windows or a shutter theme throughout are also possible. No matter which defining features are present, a Cottage-style home most always feels casual, cozy, welcoming and warm. This style of construction is a broad term that ranges from small, country bungalows to larger, seaside homes. True cottages are smaller with simple architectural features often highlighted by inviting porches, pathways and gardens. Exteriors range from stonework to wood siding to stucco, in lighter, more muted colors to cedar shakes which is common on beach cottages. Other examples of the Cottage style are a Craftsman style or arched top front door. A welcoming bay window, arched windows or a shutter theme throughout are also possible. Regardless which defining features are present, a Cottage style home always feels casual, cozy, welcoming and warm.

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Country

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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 roof lines. Chimneys are usually large and sloped at the base. As with many other styles, there are variations to Country architecture. Some plans are symmetrical with steep hipped roofs and exteriors are sometimes siding, shakes or other materials.

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Craftsman

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The Craftsman style produced carefully designed houses, in which, materials, especially woodwork, and the way in which they were put together into a structure were emphasized. It has a low pitched roof that is usually gabled but may also be hipped, giving a generally horizontal effect. The widely overhanging eaves are open with exposed rafters. Large gables have decorative brackets or braces at the eaves and may be covered with half-timbering. Roof dormers are sometimes found in the construction. Wall are often wood but may be covered with shingles or a masonry veneer of stone or brick. Porches have short square columns set on heavy masonry piers extending to the ground. Windows may have multi-paned sash over a large one-pane sash. Craftsman houses are most often asymmetrical with a generally open and functional plan.

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European

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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.

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Farmhouse

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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.

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Log

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A log house is typically made from logs that have not been milled into conventional lumber. There are several types of logs used for log houses. Handcrafted logs have been peeled but are otherwise unchanged from their original appearance. Hewn logs are logs hewn by axe to an oval, hexagonal, octagonal or rectangular section. Sawn logs are logs sawn to a standard width, but with their original heights. Milled (also called machine-profiled) are logs that have run through a manufacturing process which convert them into timbers which are consistent in size and appearance.

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Mediterranean

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Structures are typically based on a rectangular floor plan, and feature massive, symmetrical primary façades. Walls are typically stuccoed while roofs are red tiled and windows are made in the shape of arches or circles. The structures are generally one or two stories with wood or wrought iron balconies with window grilles and articulated door surrounds are characteristic. Sometimes keystones are included in the construction. Ornamentation may be simple or dramatic and lush gardens often appear.

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Modern

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Modern house designs generally lack ornamentation of moldings and trims. There is a greater emphasis of rectangular forms and horizontal and vertical lines. They are designed with low, horizontal massing, flat roofs with the emphasis on horizontal planes and they have broad roof overhangs. They use traditional materials in new ways with an emphasis on honesty of materials. There is a generous use of glass and natural light with open flowing interior spaces that uses sun and shading to enhance human comfort.

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Ranch

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The ranch house is noted for its long, close-to-the-ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. The houses fuse modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American Western period working ranches to create a very informal and casual living style. The ranch house has an open plan on a single level with an attached garage or carport and picture windows and sliding glass doors to make the transition from indoors to outdoors almost seamless.

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Southern

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Early American style residential construction that is a 2 or 3-story frame house with a characteristic colonnade extending across the front. The roof extends over the colonnade. A main feature of the Southern style construction is the placement of a long sequence of columns, numbering typically 4 to 6 columns, comprising a colonnade, borrowed from classical Greek design. The portico is another characteristic of the Southern Style construction. The portico is the front patio just behind the colonnade. The roof extends to cover the portico and connects the colonnade.

Symmetry of all the elements is an important feature of the Southern style construction. The main door is always in the center just behind the colonnade, and windows to the left and right of the main door are usually surrounded by black shutters. A center hallway is typical in the interior, along with a grand staircase and use of chandeliers. If a brick exterior walkway is employed, it is also usually symmetrical.

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Traditional

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Traditional architecture takes into account the styles that were popular to a region or area. The characteristics of traditional architecture used by architects and builders includes a commitment to maintaining a link to the past styles of building, reuse of materials or designing homes and building to stay consistent with the overall building design of the area. This creates a sense of continuity and connection to the past, which helps the area maintain its traditional look and feel for the residents of the community.

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Tudor

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Tudor residential architecture is primarily associated with late-Perpendicular Gothic, very flat four-centered or Tudor arches, domestic architecture of brick with diaper-patterns, elaborate chimneys of carved and molded brick, and square-headed mullioned windows with hood-molds and label-stops. The defining characteristics are half-timbering on bay windows and upper floors and facades that are dominated by one or more steeply pitched cross gables. Patterned brick or stone walls are common as are rounded doorways, multi-paned casement windows and large stone chimneys.

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Victorian

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Victorian houses are architecturally commonly referred to as the Victorian Style but this “style” is really a period in history. The Victorian era roughly corresponds to the time when Queen Victoria ruled Britain (1837 to 1901). During this time, industrialization brought many innovations in architecture. There is a wide variety of Victorian styles, each with its own distinctive features. Examples of the different styles are the Queen Anne, Stick, Second Empire, Folk and High Eclectic Victorian styles. Identifying features of Victorian construction is steeply pitched roofs of irregular shape and usually a dominate front-facing gable, textured shingles to avoid a smooth walled appearance, a partial or full width asymmetrical porch that is usually high and extends along one or both side walls and an asymmetrical façade.

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