When house hunting, the various designs that have been either created or adopted in America can become a blur, and you'd be forgiven for not appreciating the architectural value of each property you visit.
Being able to identify the styles of most American homes will also help you focus efficiently on the type of property you're seeking. Is your dream home a mid-century Bauhaus or something with touches on the “Spanish Revival” period?
There is significant intrinsic value in a beautifully designed home that accurately embraces an architectural style.
This list of some of the country's favorite residential architectural styles may be a helpful starting point in your property search.
Based on a German architectural style from the 30s, it is also known as Mid-Century Modern. Its hallmark is the integration of the interior with the outdoors through the use of plate glass windows. Large sliding doors, open floor plans and high ceilings are also features.
With its heritage founded in Spain's colonization of the Americas, Spanish Colonial Revival is all about white stucco walls and terracotta embellishments. Arched patio, doorways and windows with exposed wooden beams are highlights.
Most of our mid-century homes are based on Scandinavian architecture. These homes embrace the outdoors. The foundation of their appearance is uncomplicated lines and forms. You'll enjoy wood and stone features inside and a commitment to allowing as much natural light as possible to flood in.
Americans love ranch architecture. They have a low, single-storey profile with spacious living areas and bedrooms. Back in the day, settlers embraced this simple approach because adding rooms was a relatively simple task.
Bungalows use their single-storey approach efficiently, and you're unlikely to find overly-large living areas. Rooms should be compact, neat and comfortable. From the outside, dorma windows and generous patios are identifying traits.
Pointed arches, steeply pitched roofs and ornate stoneworks are essential for a Gothic-style home. Some will have turrets, spires and multiple entry points. It's an acquired taste, especially if they come with a ghost story!
Make a splash
No one does a beach home like America. The architecture is all about a relaxed lifestyle. The design is clean, the colors neutral, and the building will have a wonderful openness full of salt air. If it has beach views, so much the better.