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8 of the Most Common House Styles in America

Take a stroll down any street in America and you are bound to find a wide sampling of architectural styles. But what exactly are you looking at? Below we break down 8 of the most popular house styles.

1. Craftsman Houses

Craftsman houses are one of the most popular home styles in America. Craftsman architecture references the Arts and Craft movement of the early 20th century. After the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, the Arts and Craft movement emerged in opposition to the growing tide of mass-produced goods. Designers and artists returned to the aesthetic of uniquely crafted decorative arts in retaliation to the rise of mechanical production.

Notable features of craftsman architecture are: natural materials such as mixed stone, brick and wood, low pitched roofs, and wide front porches. Inside, Craftsman design favors open floor plans, built-in furniture, large fireplaces, and exposed beam work. Many craftsman homes are bungalows, but they can come in any size and shape.

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2. European Style

This opulent home style is meant to evoke historic architecture from France, Italy and England. European style homes feature durable and old fashioned detailing. Plaster walls, marble and stone floors and large fireplaces are all common in European style homes.

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3. Ranch Style

Ranch style homes originated in rural areas of the southwest and west on actual ranches but can be found all across the country today. The defining feature of ranch style homes is their single-story layout. The entire home is one floor, which can make homes quite sprawling. This house style favors open floor plans and provides a great deal of access to the outdoors. Most ranch style houses feature an attached garage. First built in the 1930s, ranch homes became widespread in the 50s and 60s. Many of the ranch homes available today are examples of mid-century modernist architecture.

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4. Mediterranean Homes

Most commonly found in warm weather climates such as Southern California and the Southwest, Mediterranean style homes are based on Spanish, French and Italian buildings. These houses are centered around patios, courtyards and verandas, and are meant to bring indoor and outdoor spaces together and expand the living space into the outdoors.

Mediterranean architecture features minimal exterior detailing, and usually has plaster or stucco exterior surfaces. Another hallmark of a Mediterranean style home is a flat or gently sloped roof, which is often covered in red tile. Interiors are similarly minimal. Mediterranean homes often have decorative tile work inside and exposed beams.

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5. Modern Houses

Modern houses are homes built in the modernist architecture style that came to prominence in the 1950s and 1960s. Modern homes are distinctive for their clean, minimal design. They tend to have flat or low slope roofs, large horizontal windows, and minimalistic fireplaces. Modern architecture rejects ornate detailing in favor of spare shapes and clean lines. They are designed to emphasize horizontal directionality-- a response to automobile culture and wide landscapes. Inside, modern houses often feature wooden floors and paneling and incorporate luxe materials such as marble and stone into the final design.

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6. Farmhouses

Found all across the country, farmhouses tend to be very simple in design. They usually have a simple rectangular shape with a clean, angled roof. Farmhouses tend to follow traditional 19th-century design rules. They often have large porches and tall narrow windows laid out to promote cross breeze through the house. They usually have wood siding, and some have metal roofs.

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7. Cape Cod House

This popular New England style home was first built in the 1600s, but the majority of Cape Cod houses available today were built after WWII. Loosely based on the thatched cottages found in Britain, Cape Cod houses have windows that flank the front door and dormer windows on the upper floors. The houses have steep rooflines and wide chimneys to keep snow off during the long Northeastern winters. These houses tend to be very symmetrical and have cedar shingle roofs. Though Cape Cod style houses are most evocative of New England, this house style has been a popular choice for home developers across the country.

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8. Colonial Houses

Colonial architecture dates back to the 1600s. This house style is very traditional and symmetrical. Colonial houses have evenly spaced windows with shutters. Evenly spaced dormers, columns, and chimneys are also common in colonial architecture. This style of the house is very formal. Though colonial architecture can be found across the country, it is particularly prominent on the East coast and in the South.

Is your style more Mediterranean or Colonial? Do you like the open floor plan of a modern home or do you like the old fashioned detailing of a European home?

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