If you’re currently looking for a new home, you may need to begin learning some new real estate terminology and architecture terms. Just like fashion and art, architectural styles have evolved throughout history. In different areas of the world and during moments in our country’s rich history, housing styles have changed, sometimes due to practicality and other times because of popular design.
Below, is a compiled a list of different architecture terms to learn before you begin looking for your dream home.
Arts and Crafts Movement:
Popular in the Midwest in the 1800’s, this style highlights craftsmanship and embraces a home’s natural surroundings. The finishes of these homes incorporated natural, local wood that was carved diligently to create one-of-a-kind homes.
Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland
Art Deco became popular in the 1920s and 30s (think, Great Gatsby) and came back about a half century later, in the 80’s. Specifically, when Miami went through some redevelopment projects. The style became extremely popular and evident in South Beach. It was seen as extremely modern for it’s time with vivid color and visual appeal where the shapes used in Art Deco architecture matched the shapes of the then modern machinery. In Cleveland, an example of Art Deco is our iconic Terminal Tower.
Bauhaus was the name of a fine arts school in Germany that influenced ultra-geometric, contemporary designs in Europe and in the United States. According to Gizmodo:
Centered around clean geometric forms, balanced visual composition, and materials such as wood, metal and glass, Bauhaus design embraced a futuristic look that was still very much interested in the creation of functional products for the real world. Encouraging a scientific approach to design, the mechanical and industrial aspects were not things to be covered up, but rather showcased.
A “Bungalow” is just the name of a small house and became particularly popular in the 1950’s after WWII – as they were affordable homes for large families. There are many Bungalow-style homes in the Cleveland-area neighborhoods of Chagrin Falls, Brook Park and Parma. A lot of “cottages” can be considered bungalows.
Code for small homes that pack a lot of punch – these styles represent simplicity at its finest. Cape Cod homes were, as you probably guessed – conceived in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. They became popular in the 1920s, and were the go-to, “starter home” for thousands of Americans during the great depression. Cape Cods are typically 2 stories, and the roof acts as the exterior of the second floor.
Colonials are the most popular home style according to Better Home and Gardens. With European roots, it has a heavy geometrical influence. They are often rectangularly shaped with a front door smack in the middle of the front of the house. A symmetrical, central staircase and a center hall are standard in this incredibly popular home style.
Contemporary design is always changing and typically refers to the most recent fad in home design. Sometimes people use the term, “Contemporary” as a synonym for “Modern,” but they are not the same. While Contemporary styles evolve, Modern is a specific, historical style (see below). Contemporary homes incorporate what is popular today. Vertical siding vs. horizontal, large windows and the use of grays as a neutral are all Contemporary aesthetics.
This iconic and beautiful type of home features steep roof lines, and rustic charm. French country homes are popular in Northeast Ohio neighborhoods such as Shake Heights, Hudson and downtown Media. According to Houzz:
French country style springs from the gentle hills and valleys of rural France. It’s an unstudied, collected approach, built on firmly entrenched local traditions and on cherished objects handed down through generations. Simple and sincere yet effortlessly elegant, it satisfies the soul as much as the eye.
Modern or Mid-Century Modern:
As stated above, the term, “Modern” when used in talking about architecture does not mean, recent or contemporary, but refers to an iconic type of style or home. The reason why the words, “Mid-Century” and “Modern” typically live side-by-side is because this style became popular in the middle of the 20th century, or the 1950s.
Neoclassical homes mimic the iconic stylings of the Greeks & Romans. Washington DC is covered with Neoclassical homes and buildings. Here in Northeast Ohio, you will find homes of this style in nearly every neighborhood. Similar to Colonial homes in function, they tend to be very symmetrical with a center hall.
The most notable attribute of a Ranch style home is its one-level living. With a western flair, they embrace their surroundings – placing emphasis on the land where they are sited. Ranches usually have vaulted ceilings to extend the horizontal and minimize the vertical.
Split Level homes typically have 3 levels of living space. They can add a nice open-concept flow to the layout. Split level was extremely popular in the 60s suburban life, and you can still find lots of split levels in great condition today!
Utilizing multi-levels can have the effect of making a home’s interior look larger than it was. These homes typically do not have basements and the staircases are usually shorter going from level to level.
Tudor style homes are probably the most quickly distinguishable styles in passing. Popular in Cleveland-area neighborhoods like Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Lakewood, Tudor homes feature an iconic exterior look, combining brown, cream colors with a front elevation is a mixture of wood and plaster. The inside of a Tudor-style home is equally impressive, featuring tall ceiling, wooden beams and charming accents.
Victorian homes became popular between 1820 and 1900 and are popular in Western Reserve villages like Chagrin Falls, Hudson and Medina. Just as iconic as Tudor homes, Victorian homes are typically asymmetrical (notice how the home above has the front door to the right of the home rather than the center), and feature charming and decorative embellishments.