Historically inspired exteriors
Traditional houses pull from a rich tapestry of history to provide timeless character to a design. When done correctly, the house can easily fit into an existing neighborhood, and yet easily stand on it's own as a landmark piece of architecture. I've collected just a brief sampling of some well done houses here.
A nicely proportioned and well design home with obvious English roots, pulling from the country homes of the Arts and Crafts era and homes in the Costwold region. I especially like the eyebrow arch at the entry and the simple shed roof dormers.
This is another view of the same house, presumably the side or back. What's interesting here is the subtle mixing of some Shingle Style detailing at the left side. Note the flaring of the shingles at the transition point where the shingles meet the stone at the bottom- a very classical detail from the American Shingle style effectively mixed with an English styled house.
While this is obviously part of the same property as the two previous images, I can't distinguish if this is a guest house or a separate wing of the house above. There is a much more obvious Shingle style influences here in this view though, resulting in a wonderful mixing of styles. If you look back through history, a careful blending of details is how a lot of new styles came into existence in the first place. The Tudor Revival movement in America is a great example of this: despite its name, very little of the style is derived from the actual Tudor period of England.
Here is a great two story example of Craftsman Architecture (also know as Bungalow, although most Bungalow examples are rarely a full 2 stories.) The origins of that style by the Greene brothers were truly grand "jewel-boxes" of design and craftsmanship. These homes tend to be fairly localized in their popularity, although you can find examples of them in most regions
There are many resources for categorizing homes styles available out there, and not all of them agree on the finer points. For me, I look to "a Field Guide to American Houses" by Virginia and Lee McAlester as one of the more definitive sources. In their categorization, a "Victorian" house is a general category which includes styles such as Second Empire, Queen Anne and Stick style. The interesting thing about this house is that it is exhibiting features from all 3 subcategories, hence it being easier to label it as a general "Victorian" as opposed to a more specific style.
Here is a fine example of Queen Anne architecture. This is truly a grand house with a majestic presence. The massing of the turret right next to the more classical form of the pedimented gable is textbook Queen Anne massing. I also like the variety of window shapes and trim detailing.
A very classically inspired French Renaissance design. Note the strong symmetrical layout of the house, down to the double staircase at the entry. The compound curve at the pediment is perhaps an bit of artistic license, but it works well.
Here's a style that is rarely reproduced in modern construction: the Chateauesque style. This is mostly due to the fact that the majority of the homes are covered in a cut limestone veneer, which is quite cost prohibitive. This appears to be a townhome example, very nicely detailed. The only thing lacking on this design is a gabled through the cornice dormer with finials. If you've been to the Biltmore, you've seen the ultimate expression of this style.
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