Clues to Your Home's Architectural History

Use this quick guide to design themes to identify the era and style of your house's details

Many people have some familiarity with architectural eras and styles and how they look on a grander scale. But in most homes, the hallmarks of architectural style are diluted, and the square footage has been reduced to build a more affordable house. These homes are the ones you see in neighborhoods all over the country. Though they're small and often unassuming, it is amazing how many attributes they have in common with their bigger versions.

But how can you tell what era and architectural style your modest-size older home belongs to? Below you'll find some of the details and influences of Spanish, Cape Cod, colonial revival Cape, minimalist traditional, Craftsman, Prairie, ranch, International and midcentury modern styles on homes you may encounter today.

Joseph Eichler developed a fascination with architecture after living in a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. (Modern architecture somehow all goes back to Wright, doesn't it?) Eichler wasn't a trained architect and never held a hammer, but as a developer, he created homes different from the average suburban tract homes.

Some of their most recognizable elements were floor-to-ceiling glass windows and sliding glass doors, large beams, tongue and groove ceilings, flat roofs, steeply pitched gables, wide overhangs, triangular windows placed between horizontal joists and the roof, and indoor atriums.

It's fitting to end this ideabook with Eichler, because his goal was to create homes for the average person that were stylish, functional and affordable. Many of his homes are being lovingly renovated today.

Your turn: What style(s) do you see in your house?

Houzz Contributor and interior designer in Bend, Oregon.

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