Ooh, I Like That. What's That Called? A primer on home styles

When home buyers are just getting their footing, and learning about homes and real estate, it can be difficult for them to articulate just exactly what kind of home and what kinds of features they are looking for. Perhaps a few illustrations here will help out. These simple Google searches turned up variations of each style. The first example:



Above: Colonial. when we speak of the Colonial style, we often are referring to a rectangular, symmetrical home with bedrooms on the second floor. The double-hung windows usually have many small, equally sized square panes. Think Valencia Bridgeport.



Above: Architects designed Contemporary-style homes between 1950 and 1970, and created two versions: the flat-roof and gabled types. The latter is often characterized by exposed beams. Think west Chatsworth.


Craftsman - The style, which was also widely billed as the "California bungalow" featured overhanging eaves, a low-slung gabled roof, and wide front porches framed by pedestal-like tapered columns. Think Pasadena.


Dutch Colonial

Dutch Colonial - A hallmark of the style is a broad gambrel roof with flaring eaves that extend over the porches, creating a barn-like effect. Early homes were a single room, and additions were added to each end. Think Lafayette Square in Los Angeles, off Crenshaw Blvd.

French Colonial

One distinctive feature you'll find in all French Colonial homes are DORMER WINDOWS, like the ones shown below. These are found just about everywhere these days.

Dormer Windows.


International Style

International Style homes introduced the idea of exposed functional building elements, such as elevator shafts, ground-to-ceiling plate glass windows, and smooth facades. The style was molded from modern materials--concrete, glass, and steel--and is characterized by an absence of decoration. Think Hollywood Hills.



A defining feature of Montereys: a second-floor with a balcony. In today's Montereys, balcony railings are typically styled in iron or wood; roofs are low pitched or gabled and covered with shingles. Think Los Feliz.


Mediterranean-style homes mimic those traditionally found in Mediterranean countries.

Mediterranean-style homes mimic those traditionally found in Mediterranean countries, or in our case, Valencia Westridge! A low-pitched tile roof, often red, is the most distinctive characteristic of this style of home plan.


Prairie Style

Frank Lloyd Wright, America's most famous architect, designed the first Prairie-style house, and it's still a common style throughout the Midwest. Prairie houses come in two styles—boxy and symmetrical or low-slung and asymmetrical. Seems like more than a few higher end HOA clubhouses are styled like these.

Aliento Clubhouse in Canyon Country


Pueblo Style

Taking its cues from Native American and Spanish Colonial styles, chunky looking Pueblos emerged around 1900 in California, but proved most popular in Arizona and New Mexico, where many original designs still survive. The style is characterized by flat roofs, parapet walls with round edges, earth-colored stucco or adobe-brick walls, straight-edge window frames, and roof beams that project through the wall.

Parapets are the walls that extend up above the roofline, surrounding the roof.


Ranch Style

All Ranch style homes are single story, but not all single story homes are Ranch Style. (For example, see Shotgun and Spanish Eclectic below) These are characterized by their one-story, pitched-roof construction, built-in garage, wood or brick exterior walls, sliding and picture windows, and sliding doors leading to patios.


Shotgun Style. Most Tiny houses these days are minaturized versions of the Shotgun style.


Shed Style

A subset of the Modern style, Shed homes were particular favorites of architects in the 1960s and 1970s. They feature multiple roofs sloping in different directions, which creates multigeometric shapes; wood shingle, board, or brick exterior cladding; recessed and downplayed front doorways; and small windows. There's virtually no symmetry to the style. Think Seco Canyon past Decoro, like the photos below.

Shed style in Saugus.


Spanish Eclectic

Most common in the Southwest and Florida, Spanish-style architecture takes its cues from the missions of the early Spanish missionaries--such as the one at San Juan Capistrano. The houses usually have low-pitched tiled roofs, white stucco walls, and rounded windows and doors. Other elements may include scalloped windows and balconies with elaborate grill work.


Shingle Style

Shingle Style homes are characterized by unadorned doors, windows, porches, and cornices; continuous wood shingles; a steeply pitched roof line; and large porches. The style hints at towers, but they're usually just extensions of the roof line. Think Tarzana.


Split Level

Perhaps what we see the most in Newhall and Saugus, Split Levels were created to sequester certain living activities--such as sleeping or socializing--split levels offered an multilevel alternative to the square box homes of the 1950's. The nether parts of a typical design were devoted to a garage and TV room; the mid-level, which usually jutted out from the two-story section, offered "quieter" quarters, such as the living and dining rooms; and the area above the garage was designed for bedrooms.


Tudor Style

Tudors became popular in the 1920s and continues to be a mainstay in suburbs across the United States. The defining characteristics are half-timbering on bay windows (shown below) 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

Bay Windows

There are more than a dozen other architectural styles, that aren't shown here, as they are a one in a 5,000 type home in Southern California. Chances are, if you want one of those, you already know everything you want to know already.

Not too many of these Creole style homes on the MLS in Los Angeles.

So there you have it. Thanks for sticking around through this lengthy essay.

Let's get together over a cup of coffee, and I can tell you WHERE the home is that you want. Sound good? Call me today.


Created with images by marcberryreid - "Cape Cod House"

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