10 Timeless Residential Architectural Styles

May 21, 2024
8:00 am

When guiding your clients through the world of residential architecture, it’s crucial to understand the enduring appeal of certain styles. While trends come and go, these ten timeless architectural designs have stood the test of time, appealing to homeowners across generations.


Colonial homes, first built in the 1600s in the American colonies, are still popular among American homeowners. These multistory houses are stately, with columns, divided-pane windows, shutters, chimneys and classic lines. Colonials can have brick or wood exteriors.

Cape Cod

As with colonials, the Cape Cod style dates back to the 1600s in New England. Cape Cods are simple box-shaped homes with one or two stories, steep roofs, plank siding, windows flanking the front door and dormer windows up top. A fireplace chimney is often placed centrally in the house. Cape Cod homes are classic, clean and very American.


The Federal is the look to which colonial styles transitioned in the late eighteenth century. It still bears some colonial lines but has more decorative elements, dual chimneys at each end of the house, and brick siding. 


Named for England’s long-reigning nineteenth-century queen, Victorian homes boomed in America in the late 1800s through the early twentieth century. These houses have dramatic lines, cornices, gables, garrets, dormers, steep roofs, large front porches and intricate “gingerbread” flourishes. Some loyalists still love this flamboyant look, while many Americans have moved on to less busy-looking designs.


First appearing in the early twentieth century, Craftsman homes have seen a revival in the last 15 years. They feature plank siding, low roofs, dormers, roomy front porches, and squared porch columns.


Popular across the South in states like Florida and Arizona, Mediterranean homes capture the flavor of Italy and Spain. They have stucco siding, tile roofs, and earth-tone colors. Their tile floors and open rooms provide expansive living spaces.


The Ranch design began in the 1930s and spread rapidly across the U.S. Its look is ultra simple: long across the front, with perhaps an “L” section at one end. The Ranch roof is low and has little pitch. These homes are generally one story. The front has no dormers, cornices or porticos. Ranch homes are clean, simple and still popular.

Mid-Century Modern

From the 1940s through the 1960s, Americans embraced European-style minimalist homes with straight, clean lines and low roofs like the ranch style. Mid-century Modern houses have open floor plans, large windows and a central hallway that runs the length of the home.

Modern Farmhouse

The Modern Farmhouse look has swept the country in the last fifteen years. These homes have clean lines, whiteboard-and-batten siding, dark metal roofs and wide porches. Modern farmhouses have an open design, with barn doors separating some rooms. 


Contemporary homes are hard to pin to a period because they continually change. A Contemporary house built in the 1990s may look quite different from one constructed in the 2010s. Common to all Contemporary homes are square lines, low roofs, lots of glass, expansive rooms and large kitchens. 

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