[10 on Tuesday] Buying a Historic Home: What’s Your Style? (Part 2)


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Part Two of our architectural style digest (read Part One here: http://blog.preservationnation.org/2013/04/09/10-on-tuesday-buying-a-historic-home-whats-your-style-part-1/#.UWxmE8otDct) offers definitions and examples of houses from approximately 1855 up to 1960.

When you’re looking at historic houses, it’s important to remember that many are not exactly a single kind of style. You’ll discover that some have used other materials or details not found in the technical definition, or alterations, additions, and updates have melded two different styles together.

These nuances and variations are what make each historic house special and oftentimes historically significant. So preserve them, celebrate them, and enjoy them!


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[10 on Tuesday] Buying a Historic Home: What’s Your Style? (Part 2)

  1. 1. Buying a Historic Home:What’s Your Style? (Part 2) Photo courtesy Allan Ferguson, Flickr
  2. 2. 1. Second EmpireThis style is most common in the Northeast andMidwest, but you can find examples throughoutthe country. Look for a mansard roof withdormer windows on a steep slope, moldedcornices along the top and bottom of the roof,decorated brackets under the eaves, andwindows and doors that are rounded at the top.* Dormer: Projection in a sloped roof usuallycontaining a window.* Eaves: The underside of a sloping roof overhang ata wall.Photo courtesy taberandrew, Flickr
  3. 3. 2. Stick StyleDefined primarily by decorative detailing,you’ll find ornamental trusses at the peak ofgables, large overhanging eaves, andclapboard walls with horizontal and verticalwood banding (stickwork) raised from thewall surface. Found primarily in theNortheast and San Francisco Bay area, thisstyle is considered a transition from GothicRevival to Queen Anne.* Gable: The triangular portion of a wall betweenthe edges of a sloping roof.* Truss: Triangular framework, typically consistingof rafters and posts, supporting a roof. Photo courtesy Swampyank, Wikimedia Commons
  4. 4. Photo courtesy dok1, Flickr3. Queen AnneA very popular style across the country during the last quarter ofthe 19th century, you can identify these houses by their steeplypitched, irregular, or cross gable roofs, classical detailing at thecornices, and double-hung windows that often contain stained orcolored glass.
  5. 5. 4. Shingle StyleExterior walls of wood shingles, often mixed with clapboard, stone,or patterned brick, and irregular pitched roofs covered in woodshingles give this style its name. Photo courtesy Allan Ferguson, Flickr
  6. 6. 5. RichardsonianRomanesqueNamed for the American architect H. H.Richardson, who was the leading practitionerof the Romanesque Revival style in the late19th century, this style was favored for publicbuildings and churches. Richardson designedfew houses in this style, but elements of hiswork, like heavy rusticated stone exterior wallswith arches over doors and windows andsquat porch columns, found their way intomany residences during this period.* Rusticated: Stone cut in massive blocks separatedby deep joints, giving a rich texture to the wall. Photo courtesy Bernt Rostad, Flickr
  7. 7. Photo courtesy Shakespeare, Wikimedia Commons6. Colonial RevivalAs its name implies, this style is derived from the styles popular duringthe American colonial period, particularly Georgian and Late Georgian,so a Colonial Revival is often hard to distinguish from these two. Themajor difference lies in the manufacture of construction materials --earlier styles were made by hand, giving them a slightly irregularappearance; Colonial Revival houses were machine-made, so they areprecisely shaped.
  8. 8. 7. Tudor RevivalThe major distinguishing features of this type of house are woodenhalf-timbered and stucco walls, large decorative gable ends or sidechimneys, and slate or asphalt shingled roofs designed to look likethatch. Photo courtesy chicagogeek, Flickr
  9. 9. 8. MissionPredominantly found in California and theSouthwest, the Mission style is derived from theSpanish Colonial. Look for smooth stucco wallsand low-pitched roofs covered in mission tiles.You’ll also often find large front and wrappedporches supported by heavy square piers orsquat columns.Photo courtesy Shiny Things, Flickr
  10. 10. 9. Prairie StyleDeveloped by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, this style is often calledthe first truly American style of architecture. These houses have openfloor plans, low ceilings, and prominent central fireplaces. They aremostly concentrated in the upper Midwest, but can be found across thecountry. Photo from the Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS ILL, 16-OAKPA, 5-2
  11. 11. 10. Bungalow or CraftsmanA compact plan, limited hallways,low gable or hipped roof, exposedrafters at the eaves, and a largefront porch are all identifyingcharacteristics of this style. You’llalso often see double-hung windowsthat have a multi-paned upper sashand single-pane lower sash.* Hipped roof: All sides slope downwardsto the walls (generally a gentle slope),thus it is a house with no gables. Photo courtesy Patty Y 1000, Flickr
  12. 12. A Few Extras:11. Mediterranean Revival. Combining Italian, Spanish, Moorish, andNorth African elements, these houses are characterized by light colorstucco exteriors, low-pitched tile roofs, archways and arcaded entrances,wrought-iron grill work, and small balconies.12. Art Deco and Art Moderne. Both of these styles feature open floorplans, flat or very low-pitched roofs with low profile parapets, smoothstucco walls, and horizontal groupings of metal casement windows. Themain difference is on the exterior -- Deco houses utilize geometric motifs,while Moderne houses have streamlined, usually horizontal detailing.* Parapet: A low wall at the top of a façade usually hiding a flat or low-pitched roof.13. International or Modern. Often associated with high-rise offices andapartment buildings, structures in this style are almost alwaysrectangular in shape, have exterior walls of glass or smooth stucco, andhave a flat roof with a minimal parapet. You’ll find houses in this styleprimarily in California and the Northeast.
  13. 13. (Clockwise from top) Photos courtesy Marc Averett, Phillip Pessar, and blipsman, Flickr
  14. 14. Ten on Tuesday features ten preservationtips each week. For more tips, visitblog.PreservationNation.org.