The Many Varieties of House Plans and Architectural Style

The Many Varieties of House Plans and Architectural Style

Just as the English that is spoken in America is full of expressions that have been borrowed from a variety of languages, the type of residential architecture in America also borrows styles that were originated around the world. Some of them were first seen right here in the States though and they include ranch style homes and the Cape Cod style. America is known as a melting pot and the house plans and architectural styles that are seen here are a great example of that.

In order to find the ideal house plans for you and your family, here is a quick glance at some of the most popular architectural styles.

Cape Cod

This is a style that was developed for the harsh winters that New England is known for. This style originated in the 17th century although you can find more modern version of it all over. Characteristics of this style include steep roofs that allow for easier removal of snow, a central fireplace and a single story design. Now, many modern touches include things like garages in the rear and dormer windows.


The Colonial style originated in the 1600’s and was popular until the 1800’s. Now we are seeing a resurgence of this style. Colonial house plans come in a wide variety of sub-categories such as German Colonial, Dutch Colonial, Spanish Colonial and French Colonial. Each sub-category has its own unique features. For example, with the Dutch Colonial style, the homes are typically built from brick and stone while the Spanish Colonial homes will often feature an inner courtyard. That said, there are features that are seen in all types of Colonial homes. These include fireplaces on both ends of the home, square rooms on each level, barn or gambrel roofs and an overall rectangular shape.


Contemporary style homes are lacking in any sort of historical inspiration. They are instead influenced by housing preferences that are modern. These house plans have features such as designs that are asymmetrical, large open spaces, rooflines that are dramatic and huge swaths of windows.


The Craftsman style is a type of bungalow style house. They feature wood trim for decorative purposes, porches that wrap around the house, roof rafters that are exposed and roofs that are low pitched and gabled.


The European style is one that includes a variety of styles. For example, Spanish house plans can be considered to be European. So can Georgian style house plans, French Country and Italianate style houses. In essence, any style that has a style that has been influenced by any sort of European style can fit into this category. Typically, the exteriors of a European style home will be stone, stucco or brick. Sometimes the cultures collide with French Normandy style arched openings being combined with Italian Palladian windows. Spanish style European house plans may include ornamentation made from terra cotta and clay tile that is low pitched.

Take a peek at the many different architectural styles that are available when you are looking for house plans to make sure that you are making the best choice for you and your family.

Kathryn McDowell is a homeowner and enjoys researching the various styles of homes available to today’s home builder. She recommends consulting a firm that is versed in the many styles of house plans available so you can get the house of your dreams.

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