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A Guide To Home Architectural Styles

When looking at houses, you probably know what you like, but do you know what it’s called? House hunting often introduces people to home architectural styles they love but might not be able to name. Learning about the different options can help you narrow and define your home search.

Portland, OR, and the surrounding area are home to a wide variety of amazing houses. Whether you know precisely what you like or don’t have a clue yet, let’s talk. The team at Julia Monaghan Real Estate is here to help you find your dream home. Reach out to us today to start your journey home.

Home Architectural Styles for Every Preference

Architecture is a unique art form that must marry aesthetics with math to create a sound structure. There are many architectural styles out there, and it’s easy to get confused. Here are some of the most popular types that homeowners want, including many common in Portland real estate.

The Craftsman

Sometimes called the “California bungalow,” the Craftsman style originated in the early 1900s. This style evolved with the Arts and Crafts movement and focused heavily on functionality, natural materials, and, yes, craftsmanship. 

Craftsman homes often feature:

  • Deep, overhanging eaves 
  • Exposed wooden beams or rafters
  • Generous front porches supported by chunky, square columns
  • Built-in cabinets and shelves
  • 4-over-1 or 6-over-1 double-hung windows
  • A low-pitched gable or hip roof 
  • Fine details made with both metal and wood

A Craftsman home is likely to have a large fireplace with built-in bookcases or cabinets symmetrically arranged on either side. Hardwood flooring and other natural materials permeate the interior. 

The Craftsman is one of the most popular home architectural styles.

These homes also often feature large dining rooms and smaller kitchens. The dining room was the focus in this era and generally included larger windows and wainscoting. The kitchens were less of a showpiece and more utilitarian.

Storage in a Craftsman-style home is likely to be built-in. Instead of a walk-in closet, you may find drawers and cabinets built into the walls. Clothing closets were originally much smaller than they are today. An abundance of clothes was not the norm when Craftsman homes arrived on the scene.

The Craftsman home architectural style has a solid, relaxed feel. If you like sitting by a fireplace surrounded by natural elements, you would feel right at home in a Craftsman. The popular Ladd’s Addition neighborhood in Portland, OR, has many Craftsman-style houses.

The Mid-Century Modern

After World War II, architectural trends shifted to open, flowing floor plans that focused on bringing the outdoors inside. 

The mid-century architectural home style tends to have:

  • Flat roofs with deep overhanging eaves
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Straight, clean lines with little or no ornamentation
  • Large, open living spaces – There can be an organic division of space with steps, half-walls, or artwork.
  • Bold use of modern materials, such as concrete and metal
  • Sweeping, roofline-level windows – Large, triangular windows that match a vaulted interior bring in significant natural light and ramp up the curb appeal.
Midcentury modern homes are open and light.

The contemporary design of the mid-century modern style relies on minimalism. Floor plans are open, and traffic flows smoothly from room to room. Ceiling-height windows draw the eye to the outdoors and create the illusion of a seamless connection to nature. 

The Watzek House is an excellent example of mid-century modern architecture. Portlanders and visitors can take a drive up Skyline Boulevard to see this beauty. Or, if you want to immerse yourself, sign up for the tour

The Victorian

For the complete opposite of minimalism, let’s look at the Victorian style. These houses go big and splashy. 

Victorian homes are ornate, with more texture, more trim, and more color. If a house has a turret or a tower, it is most likely Victorian. 

Look for these features in a Victorian home:

  • Height – This style is usually 2 to 3 stories tall.
  • A steep roof. Victorians may have a front-facing gabled roof or multifaceted roof. 
  • Asymmetry – The front door probably isn’t in the middle of the street-facing wall. Instead, the entry will be to one side, and the home likely has a porch wrapping around the front. 
  • Detailed trim – Victorian-style trim may appear scalloped or lacy and will be more abundant than in other styles.
  •  Colorful – A Victorian Painted Lady generally has at least four colors, and they are brighter and more vibrant than in other styles. 

Victorians tend to be tall and narrow. Most of them were built in the late 1800s to early 1900s, so expect smaller rooms and closets. The Alphabet District in Northwest Portland is home to stunning Victorian homes. These houses are reminders of the prosperous traders and businessmen of a bygone era.

Victorian Painted Ladies are stunning examples of architecture.

The Bungalow

The bungalow may be the most frequently misidentified of home architectural styles. People associate the name with all smaller, simply designed homes. 

But a true bungalow needs to have specific characteristics. They have one story or, sometimes, a partial second story built into the roof. This style is low and wide. The main entry opens directly onto the living space without a foyer or entryway. 

Bungalows are both practical and attractive. The low-built style is energy efficient, and the single-story floor plan is more accessible for people with mobility issues. 

Common characteristics of a bungalow include:

  • A front porch with square, tapered columns
  • A low, single-level entry with simple elements 
  • Dormers with windows to bring light to a partial second story

The bungalow style has well-defined spaces. It often has smaller bedrooms and kitchen areas and a dedicated dining room. This style became popular when English architects adopted it from the homes in India. The word “bungalow” has its roots in “Bengali,” indicating the style’s origins.

The Tudor

The Tudor architectural style is right at home in the Pacific Northwest. This storybook style is an English cottage that fits perfectly with the Portland area’s wooded neighborhoods.

Tudor homes are primarily brick but may incorporate stucco as well. Wide-spaced wooden boards, called half-timber framing, complete the look. If you think Hansel and Gretel might be inside, you’re probably looking at a Tudor-style house.

Tudor homes generally include the following features:

  • Steeply pitched roofs
  • Multiple chimneys
  • Tall, narrow windows.
  • An ornate front door with an arched top 

Portland’s Laurelhurst and Alameda neighborhoods are the perfect places to find these unique homes.

Tudor homes are popular in Portland, Oregon.

Do You Have a Favorite Architectural Style? 

There are so many fabulous houses out there. Do you see yourself in a sturdy Craftsman? Perhaps you love the openness and light of a mid-century modern design. Or maybe you’d like a fairy-tale life in a fabulous Tudor home.

Whatever your taste, Julia Monaghan Real Estate can guide you through the market to your perfect home. Whether you’re looking for a painted lady with a tower, a cozy cottage, or brand new construction, we’re here to help. Give us a call today.

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