How to Figure Out the Architecture Style of a Home
At its core, architecture is the design and construction of all homes, buildings, and structures. Within general architecture, there are hundreds (or possibly thousands) of types and subtypes of architectural styles that vary greatly based on many factors, including the geographic location, era of construction, available materials, technology, and design taste of the time.
If you’re trying to determine the style of architecture of a particular home, then there are several factors you can review to narrow down the options and nail down the correct style for the home.
Here’s how to figure out the architectural style of a home.
The era in which a home is built will have a considerable influence on its architectural style and design. If it is an older home, it could have undergone changes and renovations that affected the architecture and made it harder to determine the original style. However, knowing how old your house is and when it was built will give you a good starting point to figuring out the architectural style.
The size of your home is another good indicator of architectural style. Different architectural styles feature different layouts and footprints. For example, ranch-style homes are single-story homes, while a farmhouse or a Georgian-style house will have two or more stories.
Square footage and layout can vary significantly between different houses of the same architectural style. Still, size, paired with other indicators, can help identify the particular type of a structure.
Historically, most homes are built using materials readily available in the local area due to the cost and difficulty of transporting building materials long distances. However, as transportation became faster and less costly, people began transporting materials across countries and even worldwide.
So, determining what materials were used to build the home and where they originated from can help you better understand its architectural design and construction.
The geographic location can offer many clues to the architectural style since certain styles are more popular in specific areas. For example, urban homes, suburban homes, and rural homes often have different and unique styles.
The climate of a region, cultural norms, and geographic features of an area can also have an important impact on architecture and should be considered when trying to determine the particular style.
One of the most important ways to distinguish between different architectural styles is via the design features of the structure. From columns and shutters to ornate windows and Craftsman-style doors, there are millions of features that can be incorporated into different architectural styles.
Design features are essential clues to understanding and identifying the architectural style of the home.
Exterior doors can be a great detail to look to for architectural style, but they are also one of the easiest features to change. So, while the style of an exterior door can offer some clues when it comes to architecture, it’s important to investigate whether the doors are original to the design.
Both the style and pitch of a roof, as well as the roofing materials used for the home, can be features used to determine the architectural style of a home. For example, modern-style homes often favor straight lines and feature flat roof designs, while Victorian homes feature steeply sloped, gabled roof structures.
Windows are another feature to consider when understanding architectural design. The number, style, size, placement, and design of a home’s windows can offer important insights into any home’s architectural style. In many residential architectural styles, window placement is essential to the home’s design and can help differentiate between design styles.
As windows are another feature commonly upgraded over time, it’s essential to understand if your home’s windows are original or if they were replaced at some point. If your home isn’t brand new, then it’s likely that any original windows aren’t as energy efficient as they could be.
For many older homes, replacement windows should be customized to fit with the home’s original architectural style instead of using standard, off-the-shelf options that don’t fit the home’s original architecture.
From wood to stone or brick, and even glass, the materials used for the exterior of a home can offer clues to the architectural style, as well. For example, you’re unlikely to find a large amount of glass in older homes due to poor energy efficiency.
However, technology has advanced and now allows homes to be comfortably climate-controlled while using glass for entire walls in a home, and it can now be found much more often in homes.
Ornamentation, or lack thereof, can provide important information about the original architecture of a home. The architecture of Victorian houses, for example, are known for their elaborate ornamental touches, like ornamental woodwork, turrets, intricate spindles, and more.
Some architectural styles are dominated by elements like large columns or expansive balconies. While ornamentation may seem like an afterthought in some designs, it’s a meaningful way to distinguish different design styles.
Over the years, homes have updates and repairs completed for various reasons, including maintaining the integrity of the structure, personalizing the space, expanding the size of the home, repairing damage, and more.
Hopefully, updates over the years haven’t altered the design integrity or the architecture of the home in such a way as to make it unseemly or challenging to identify the original architectural vision. However, if that is the case, you’ll need to use other clues to determine the home’s architectural style since a simple visual inspection of the design features may not work.
As you can see, there are many factors that can help identify the architectural style of a home. Understanding the original architecture of a home is essential for maintaining the integrity and style of the home as you conduct routine maintenance and/or make upgrades over time.
Being mindful of the features, like custom steel windows and doors, that are unique to your home’s architectural style will ensure you can highlight and protect those features over time, even as you make changes to ensure the home is perfect for you.