Residential architecture reflects the times, the abilities and the mindsets of the architects, craftspeople and workers who designed and constructed them. Rarely are home styles absolute: they often change over time and combine motifs, particularly in Los Angeles. Because of these changes and adaptations, a home’s style can be misidentified or important historic details overlooked. As a lifelong historic preservationist and admirer of modest and grand residential architecture, I created this guide to the kinds of historic homes found in Los Angeles. Whether you are looking for your first home or want to identify a home style for a friend or client, this guide to residential architecture styles provides valuable information.

ART DECO - 1920 TO 1940

Art Deco, also called Moderne or Modernistic, represents a break in design from the revivalist tradition of Beaux-Arts and period houses. It was a style that looked to represent the machine age, emphasizing the future rather than the past. “Art Deco” is applied to jewelry, clothing, furniture and handicrafts as well as buildings. Parallel lines, zigzags, chevrons, and stylized florals and fountains are common decorative elements.  Unlike Moderne, Art Deco has towers and/or other vertical projections above the roofline to give a vertical, rather than horizontal emphasis.


BEAUX-ARTS - 1885 TO 1930

The Ecole des Beaux-Arts dominated French architecture in the 20th Century. Many American architects either studied at the Ecole or were trained by architects who had. At the Ecole, students studied the principals of Greek and Roman symmetry and composition. Originally used mostly on large public buildings, Beaux Arts style can range from calm, elegant and rhythmic to exuberant. Grand staircases, paired columns, monumental attics, grand arches and well as decorative swags and cartouches mark these buildings. As the style transferred to country villas and townhouses, it became more sedate.

What to look for:

  • Flat or low-pitched hipped or mansard roof.

  • Wall surfaces are decorated with a mix of garlands, floral patterns, shields, quoins and pilasters.

  • Entry porches often have a metal canopy with glass panels or roofs supported by classical columns.

  • Cornice lines dominated with elaborate molding such as dentil and modillions.

  • Roofline balustrades.

  • Windows elaborated with balustraded balconies, crowns and surrounds.

  • Elaborate brackets commonly with acanthus leaves.

BUNGALOW - 1900 TO 1935

The Indian word “bangla” was a small thatched hut for wayfarers.  During the British colonial occupation of India, the English adapted the concept by designing one-story houses with wide, covered verandas and an open floor plan to facilitate cross-ventilation and protection from the hot, dusty climate.

The California Bungalow is a vernacular design built either by the owner or a developer and often from a kit. They share elements with the Craftsman, which was designed by an architect and built by artisans.  Both are born from the Arts and Crafts decorative movement that emphasized handmade in reaction to the growth of mass produced products.

Typically Bungalows have low pitched roofs that extend to form a large covered porch. The homes are small with one or one-and-a-half stories. The front door opens directly into the living room. Siding may be stucco, shingles or lapped siding. Often mashups of various influences, there is an infinite variety of Bungalows with the Swiss Chalet and the Airplane as common subtypes.

For many the floor pan, rather than the exterior, identifies a Bungalow.  Minimal space is wasted on hallways. Rooms flow from one to another and there is easy access to outdoor verandas and porches.  Built-ins to increase storage space are common.



Most Cape Cod style homes in the U.S. are revivals and completely so in Los Angeles. Cape Cods were very common with early American settlers due to their relative ease of construction and simplicity. As one type under the Colonial Revival umbrella, the Cape’s small size and economy of decoration made it affordable for everyone.

Cape Cods are commonly one or one-and-a-half stories and roofs have a medium steep pitch. In addition to roof pitch, dormer windows allow for the one-and-a-half story version. In a symmetrical facade, the front door is centered with rows of windows on either side. The door itself is paneled and occasionally has pilasters, sidelights, fanlight or transom. Capes are sparse, with wooden clapboard or shingle siding and have limited decoration.


CLASSIC COTTAGE - 1895 - 1930

The small cottage is only one floor, usually with a hipped roof and central dormer.  Often there is a full width front porch supported by simple columns. It is related to the Foursquare.



Also called Neoclassical, it is easily identified by the full-height entry porch that has a roof supported by classical columns, typically Ionic or Corinthian.  Sometimes the porch runs the full width of the facade. In a subset of this type, the central portion of the porch is full-height flanked by lower-height wings. The porch may be square, rectangular or round in shape.  The facade is symmetrical.

Other common elements of Classical Revival include:

  • Doorways have elaborate, decorative surrounds, which include a pediment, often broken.

  • Windows are rectangular with a double-hung sash.

  • Exaggerated broken pediments over doors or windows.

  • A roofline balustrade or a low balustrade around the porch.



Before the American Revolutionary War, i.e. the Colonial Period, the prevailing style was Georgian, after King George. The Georgian style reflected Renaissance ideals. In England, Sir Christopher Wren (known for London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral) and his followers based their work on 16th Century Italian architecture and architects, particularly Palladio. (Think Palladian Windows)  Palladio and his followers based their work on Roman classical forms. Georgian design is very symmetrical with geometrical proportions, hipped roofs and sash windows. In addition to Palladian windows, American Georgians often feature two-story porticos with columns or giant pilasters marking a building’s corners.

After the Revolutionary War came Federal, called Adamesque in Europe. After studying Roman architecture for two years, Robert Adam published a book of decorative patterns of urns, swags, garlands and sheaths of wheat he found in Pompeii and Herculaneum.  These Federal motifs are recognized for elevating American interior design. On the exterior, Federal residential architecture features more delicate and narrow columns and moldings, which are typically confined to entries and porches. Doors and windows have fans and oval forms. The buildings are square, often three-stories high with low-hipped roofs, usually with a balustrade on top.

Colonial Revival incorporates the timeless elements of Georgian and Federal.  One reason for its continued popularity is that the elements can be combined to create nearly infinite number of unique designs.

Here is a short list of what to look for in a Colonial Revival home:

  • Rectangular with a symmetrical facade, but may have side porches on either or both sides.

  • One to three stories in height usually sided in brick or wood clapboard.

  • Medium pitch, side gable roof with narrow eaves.  Hipped roofs with dormers are seen occasionally.

  • Multi-pane windows (six over six or six over one), double-hung with correctly proportioned shutters.

  • Entrance is centered with columns or pilasters and a pediment. It may be hooded to create a covered porch. Front door, often paneled, may have a fanlight, transom or sidelights.

  • Other design elements include bay windows, classical columns, two-story pilasters, quoins, dentil molding under eaves or Palladian windows.


CRAFTSMAN - 1900 TO 1930

A Craftsman house is architect designed and artisan constructed using materials indigenous to the surrounding environment. Noted for an “honesty” of design, this style comes from the Arts and Crafts decorative movement. Followers wanted to revive the ideal of craftsmanship in reaction to the increasing mechanization and mass production of the second half of the 19th Century.

Heavily influenced by the architecture of the Spanish mission buildings and the Japanese aesthetic, the Craftsman homes are huge and well appointed with every amenity of the time. Open floor plans feature built-in cabinetry, bookcases, buffets, window seats and inglenooks.  Fixtures and finishes include artisan handcrafted lighting, hardware and tiles, such as Batchelder.

Outside look for low-pitched roofs with exposed beams and rafters covering large porches. Gabled, hipped and shed dormer windows are used, sometimes in combination. Windows will be multiple panes over a single pane and are often grouped together in banks.

By contrast, a California Bungalow has many of the same design characteristics, but may well be a kit or built by a developer using the same floor plans over and over.  The handcrafted quality differentiates the Craftsman rather than stylistic elements that may be found in both.



Contemporary homes are homes that follow up-to-the-minute architecture and design trends. That means that a contemporary home built in 1990 will look significantly different from one built in 2019.  Some common elements of contemporary or ultramodern homes include walls of glass, open concept layouts, high ceilings, kitchen islands, formal and informal living rooms—and large open kitchens.



The Dutch Colonial is a subset of Colonial Revival, with which it shares many architectural and design features.  What distinguishes it from others is the gambrel roof. The shape of a gambrel roof has resulted in Dutch Colonials often being referred to as a “Barn House.”




FOURSQUARE - 1890 TO 1935

Sensible two- to two-and-a-half story homes, Foursquare style homes were economical to build, comfortable to live in and aesthetically pleasing in their simplicity.

The Foursquare takes its name from its simple, cubic shape and floor plan, which is divided into quarters on each floor.  During the first third of the 20th Century, many Foursquare style homes incorporated design elements from other contemporaneous styles, but usually in simple applications.  Colonial Revival, bungalow and Mediterranean/Italian Revival elements such as classical columns and simple friezes, knee braces, exposed rafter tails and tile roofs are not unusual, especially in homes built after 1920.

Characteristics of the Foursquare:

  • Simple floor plan.

  • Boxy, cubic shape.

  • Full width front porch with columnar supports and wide stairs.

  • Offset front entry in an otherwise symmetrical facade.

  • Tow- to two-and-a-half stories.

  • Pyramidal, hipped roof, often with wide eaves.

  • Large central dormer.

  • Large single pane windows in front, otherwise double hung.



The interest in French residential styles after WWI is attributed to both veterans returning to the US after serving in France, and those styles being featured in publications and plan books.  The French Eclectic can be either a simple rural form or an ostentatious one drawn from Beaux Arts and Chateauesque styles popular at the turn of the century. Scholars point out that the French styles are both rustic and sophisticated at the same time.

In America, the rustic French styles borrow from the Normandy region, where barns were attached to the home and silos were used to store grain.  The Norman Cottage is very similar to the English Cottage and Tudor Revival. Thus, “Norman” denotes a simpler, square and symmetrical home as compared to more fanciful French styles.

The Norman Cottage has a crossed-gabled, hipped roof that is steeply pitched with faux thatch.  Usually there is a small tower at the entry. Often the tower is round with a cone-shaped roof, but there are examples of squarer shapes with pyramid-shaped roofs.  This style often has decorative half-timbering.

The French Eclectic is the more sophisticated of the two styles and looks back to the Renaissance and is similar to the English Georgian.  A symmetrical version is a rectangular box with a massive steeply pitched hipped roof with a roofline parallel to the front of the house.  The asymmetrical house is cross-gabled with an off-center entry. Both feature tall second floor windows that break through the cornice often with rounded tops.  Quoins are also common as are terraces with substantial balustrades. Towers, however, are absent.

Defining French Eclectic features:

  • One to two-and-a-half stories.

  • Tall, steeply pitched roof with narrow eaves.

  • Tile, slate and shingle are favorite roofing materials, but composite is common today.

  • Arched, circular or hipped dormers with casement windows.

  • Balconies and verandas are missing, but terraces with heavy balustrades off the first floor.

  • Entries are often enclosed or recessed.

  • Windows are tall and narrow, often with diamond-shaped panes, and rectangular in shape.  Triplet windows will be curved on top.

  • Siding may be stucco, stone or brick and half-timbering may be present.

  • French doors, shutters for doors and windows and a limited use of wrought iron are common design elements.



Hollywood Regency, also called Regency Moderne, took the flamboyance of movie sets and applied it to architecture as well as interior and landscape design. Designers such as John Elgin Woolf, Billy Haines and Dorothy Draper, who is credited with creating the term, synthesized 19th-Century French, English, Greek Revival, Egyptian and Modernist elements into a style that was neither modern or period.  Beginning with the movie industry’s “Golden Age” the style was popularized by the glamorous homes and estates of Hollywood’s elite such as Judy Garland, David O. Selznick, Bob Hope, Gloria Swanson, Joan Crawford, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. It remains popular today particularly in the design work of Kelly Wearstler and Jonathan Adler.



While Americans were interested in Period Revival home style between WWl and WWll, European architects turned toward the machine age.  One of the leading proponents, Le Corbusier is quoted as saying that a house is a “machine for living.” How the home served its residents was emphasized.  All non-functional adornment was stripped away. Kitchens and baths included the latest in appliances and technology.

Defining features:

  • Flat roof, usually without coping at roofline.

  • Asymmetrical in shape and often multi-levels. Sections of the house or a balcony may be cantilevered from the body of the house.

  • Metal casement windows set flush with the exterior walls.

  • Smooth walls with no detailing and large sections will be windowless.

  • Windows will be a mix of floor-to-ceiling as well as rows. Clerestory windows may be present.

  • Front door is not decorated and, sometimes, may be obscured.

  • If supports are used, then they will be plain and round.

  • Sometimes cylinder forms will be used as part of the house’s body.



At the end of the 19th Century, wealthy Americans on European tour saw the villas and palaces around the Mediterranean. Upon return, they wanted to repeat these design elements in homes they built.  Therefore, the style began showing up in the late 19th Century, but peaked in popularity during the 1920s and 30s. Rarely seen in the vernacular, it is commonly applied to luxury, architecturally designed

homes, even today.

Here is what to look for:

  • Rectangular floor plan, often two stories.

  • Exterior is usually stucco, with red clay tile roof and simple chimney.

  • Elegant facade usually symmetrical and massive.

  • Low-pitched hipped roof that may be simple, asymmetrical or covering projecting wings.  Occasionally a flat roof.

  • Deep overhanging eaves supported by decorative brackets.

  • Outdoor spaces are important and integrate into the design.  French doors are very common and provide access to courtyards and patios.

  • Classical columns or pilasters emphasize the entry.  It may be recessed in a porch.

  • Ground floor windows and doors are more dramatic than the simpler casement windows of the second story.

  • Windows can be arched, round or rectangular, sometimes with window grilles.

  • Balconies may be wood or wrought iron.

  • Keystones are used occasionally.

Mediterranean is genuinely distinguished from Spanish Revival styles by its monumental, grand architecture and size.  Spanish Revivals almost always have a gabled roof as opposed to the Mediterranean’s hipped roof. Also deep eaves are a Mediterranean feature that is not found on Spanish Revival homes.



Four events combine to create the Mid-Century Modern as we know it, particularly in Los Angeles

First, WWII war efforts led to new technologies and materials like steel and plywood.

Following the war, millions of returning soldiers led to the expansion of cities and the development of the suburb. Builders recognized the need to quickly build a massive number of homes for the GIs and their families.

Next, California Arts & Architecture magazine, which became Architectural Digest, was an influential Los Angeles-based publication.  Its publisher John Entenza decided to create the Case Study program in 1945. The magazine commissioned major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Edward Killingsworth, and Ralph Rapson to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the residential housing boom. The result is a series of iconic prototypes for postwar housing.

Finally, Joseph Eichler, a builder ran with the idea. He erected some 10,000 Mid-Century Modern tract homes in California and is known for the iconic Eichler Home.

Mid-Century Moderns are understated and uncluttered and have sleek, clean lines with both organic and geometric forms. New and traditional materials are used and frequently juxtaposed in these much sought after homes.

What to look for:

  • Decorative moldings and elaborate trim are eliminated or greatly simplified.

  • Emphasis on rectangular forms and horizontal and vertical lines.

  • Low, horizontal massing, flat roofs, emphasis on horizontal planes and broad roof overhangs.

  • Exposed steel columns, concrete block as a finished material, stained and exposed concrete floors, open column-free spaces.

  • Simple vertical board cladding used in large, smooth planes.

  • Brick and stonework are simple, un-ornamented and used in rectilinear masses and planes.

  • Exterior and interior wood is often stained rather than painted to express its natural character.

  • Large expanses of glass introducing natural light deep into the interior of homes.

  • Deep overhangs and recessed openings providing shading to keep homes cool in the summer.



The Mission is a SoCal native.  One scholar has noted that, while Easterners looked back to their colonial past, Californians looked to their Hispanic past to inspire residential design.  Architects took Hispanic design elements (arches, the quatrefoil and parapets to name a few) and applied them to traditional as well as contemporaneous styles.  True Mission design elements such as arcades and bell towers are found in a few landmark examples, mostly in California.

While most Missions are found in the west, the style drifted eastward when the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads adopted the Mission style for the depots and resorts throughout the Southwest.

Common Mission design elements include:

  • Hipped and, occasionally, gabled roofs, usually red clay.  Flat roofs are also common, particularly in vernacular executions.

  • Mission shaped (think curvaceous) dormer or parapet along the roofline.  Sometimes the parapet is used on the gabled end.

  • Wide overhanging eaves with exposed rafters.

  • Entry porches may be arcaded or single arch with a roof.

  • Design elements include quatrefoil window, cantilevered roof overhangs, occasionally small square bell towers.

  • Smooth stucco.



From the 19th Century territorial styles, the Monterey Colonial mixes the Spanish adobe construction with English design that Easterners brought with them to Alta California in the early 19th Century.

The Monterey Revival of the 20th Century substitutes wood framing or brick for adobe.  A low-pitched gabled roof is covered with wood style shingles. They are two stories, with a cantilevered balcony covered by the principal roof.  Balustrades may be wood or iron. The walls may be stucco or have different materials. Wood over brick is the most common. Windows often have shutters.  Doors may resemble Colonial Revival styles. Early Monterey Revival homes emphasized Spanish precedents, while those built 1940 and later lean to English details.



The Neo styles gained popularity in the 1970s.  These homes freely use elements without trying to closely follow their predecessors.

Classical: These homes have the full-height entry porches with classical style columns from the Classical Revival (Neoclassical).  But, as with other Neo-eclectic styles it freely applies to a variety of house shapes.

Colonial:  These homes often lack symmetrical window placement or the roof pitches found in the interpretation of Georgian and Adam predecessors.  Builders have also freely used decorative details in door surrounds. Other common features are colonnaded entry porches and cornices with dentil molding.

French:  Doors and windows are generally round or arched and break through the cornice line.  The roofs are still steeply pitched and hipped. The house shape is more often asymmetrical, but symmetrical is found too.

Mansard:  Beginning in the 1960s into the 1980s builders used the Mansard roof to inexpensively add drama.  Windows may or may not be present in the roof, but later built houses have windows that break through the cornice.

Mediterranean/Mission/Spanish:  Again, this version is loosely based on earlier styles from the 1920s and 30s.  The houses have stucco walls, round arched windows and doorways. A composite material sometimes replaces red clay tile.

Tudor:  The Neo-Tudor actually keeps the steeply pitched gabled roof as a dominant facade.  These homes almost always have a decorative half-timbering. The windows are tall and slender, and often grouped in a series of four.  The panes are often in a diamond pattern. At first these elements were applied to the one-story Ranch houses. In the 70s, two-story adaptations became popular and it was often used in apartment buildings.

Victorian:  These may be the least common form.  Builders began to use spindle work, particularly on porches to create these modern “Victorians.”  They are most characterized by their fanciful nature.



The postmodernist movement was a philosophical and artistic movement in the 1980s that questioned traditional modernist ideals and employed irony and pastiche in home design. Postmodern homes might borrow elements from Spanish, Mid-Century Modern, or even Victorian elements into one house.  See Neo-eclectic.


PRAIRIE STYLE - 1900 TO 1920

Led by Frank Lloyd Wright, Prairie School architects sought to reflect the Midwest’s prairie terrain in their work. Prairie Style, therefore, is rectangular and horizontal in appearance, often emphasized by contrasting wooden trim between stories, contrasting caps on railings and balconies and/or contrasting colors on eaves and cornices. Walls often have horizontal board and batten siding. Often, wings extend from the main structure at right angles. Roofs are low-pitched, hipped or gabled with wide eaves. Usually two-stories, the roofline is broken with a plain, rectangular chimney. Casement windows are hung in bands and often feature stained glass in either floral or geometric motifs. There is nothing round or curving in Prairie Style. One-story porches and porte-cocheres are supported with massive, square supports.  Other hallmarks include window boxes and flattened urns and terraces that extend from the structure. As important as exterior features are the detailed, built-in fixtures and furniture. Considered experimental before WWl, it did have a revival, at least as an influence, on the post-WWll Ranch House and housing boom.


RANCH - 1935 TO 1980

Descendants of the Spanish Colonial working ranches and the Bungalow, Ranches reflect the increasingly casual lifestyles developing in the early 20th Century.

Ranches have a long and low profile. Single story, these homes incorporate garages into the wide facades facing the street. Large plate glass picture windows are often prominent on the front facade.  They can be a simple rectangle, L-shaped or U-shaped. Off the street, sliding glass doors open to decks or patios.

Originally, Ranches were custom designed by architects and part of the modernist movement. Because of his book Western Ranch Houses, noted architect Cliff May popularized the style and homes designed by May continue to sell at a premium.  With the population boom of the 1950s, the Ranch-style became popular with tract builders and a symbol of the suburbs. You will often find dovecotes, scalloped trim and other “colonial” details dressing up Ranches, particularly those built in the 1940s-50s.



Named after Henry Hobson Richardson and the Romanesque Revival of the late 19th Century, this style draws heavily on Spanish and French influences. While round arches for doorways and windows remain, the Richardson Romanesque is marked by its heavy and horizontal nature. The facade is usually asymmetrical; most have round towers with conical roofs. Built in rough stone, the heaviness was also emphasized by deep window reveals and cavernous door openings.  Windows are sometimes in bands. These openings are usually highlighted by surrounds in stone of a contrasting color or texture, or by squat columns. This style is most commonly used in public buildings, but can be found in mansions. A massive house was needed to accommodate the stones. In residences, eyebrow dormers are common.



The Panama-California Exposition held in San Diego in 1915 launched the Spanish Colonial Revival.  Designed by Bertram Goodhue, the Exposition buildings were inspired by Spanish architecture and used Moorish, Byzantine, Gothic and Renaissance elements.

Borrowing from the bungalow’s open floor plan with its cross-ventilation makes a Spanish Revival home very comfortable in warm Southwestern climates.  With walled courtyards, these houses are some of the earliest examples of indoor-outdoor living.

It’s a Spanish Revival if the home has:

  • Asymmetrical facade in either one or two stories.

  • Roofs are low pitched and multi-level.  Side- and cross-gabled dominate but many have hipped roofs.  Occasionally flat roofs are seen.

  • Minimal eave with little or no overhang.

  • Commonly one large focal window either arched in shaped or triple-arched, often with a stained glass element.

  • Arched and/or arcaded walkways - sometimes in place of interior hallways.

  • Entry doors may be emphasized with tiles, carved stonework or spiral columns.

  • Square or round tower.

  • Cantilevered balconies.

  • Red clay tile roof, stucco walls and often window grilles.

  • Courtyards/patios are accessed from French doors and often feature fountains.

  • Interiors often have arched doorways, tile floors and white plaster walls.



A split-level home is a style of house in which the floor levels are staggered. In some, there are two short sets of stairs, one running upward to a bedroom level, and one going downward toward a basement area. The basement level is usually finished, and often contains additional living areas (most often, a family room, an office and/or a hobby or playroom), as well as laundry facilities and other utilities. In others, the front door opens to a landing. One short flight of stairs leads up to the top floor; another short flight of stairs leads down. The top floor tends to be full height ceilings with the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms. The lower floor often has lower ceilings and is partially below ground.



The Storybook is most marked by its whimsy and looks as if a children’s storybook has come to life. Combined in truly imaginative ways, it takes elements from many styles: English, French and Moroccan design. Steeply pitched roofs, towers, turrets, decorative stone and brick, half-timbering, leaded or diamond pattern windows, ornate carving and iron work are among the details. Roofs may be clay tile or composition material installed to resemble thatch depending on the home’s northern or southern Europe reference.



Coming from streamline industrial design, the Moderne emphasizes the horizontal with smooth walls with curved corners. Usually of stucco, the walls may have horizontal lines or groves. Flat roofs with a small ledge are common. Usually the facade is asymmetrical and sometimes one or more of the corners of the building will be curved.  Glass blocks are often used in windows or as walls. Windows are continuous and frequently continuous around corners.



Tudor Revival rarely mimicked Tudor (early 16th Century) buildings, instead they pull from a variety of late Medieval English styles and many have decorative details that pull from Renaissance, Gothic and Craftsman styles.  The buildings they are based upon may be sized from a palace to a simple folk house.

There are however, some recurring features among the variations.  These homes have steeply pitched roofs, usually side-gabled. In larger homes, overlapping gables with varied eave line heights are seen.  Dormers are common and steeply pitched as well. Upper story gables may over hang lower stories.

How the gables are finished can vary greatly.  Sometimes the walls of the front facade rise over the roofline into a parapet.  When gables are not parapeted, the gabled roof may overhang slightly with or without bargeboards.  The bargeboards may or may not be decorated. In a few cases, battlements can be found.

The facade will have art least one prominent cross gable, also steeply pitched.  The siding may be stucco, brick, stone or wood. False half-timbering is common with brick in patterns, or stucco in-fill.

Windows also show a great variety.  In general they are either casement or double hung sash, multi-pane windows.  Panes are frequently in a diamond pattern. Windows are often grouped into three of more windows and are most commonly located below the main gable.  Other elaborate and decorative windows are seen such as a one- or two-story gable.

There is either a small porch with an overhang or a recess at the entry.  Arches may be either round or pointed. Quoins or other stonework may be present.  The door may be simple board and batten, paneled and/or include a window.

The chimneys are large and elaborate.  Lower stories will have patterns in the masonry or brick.  The tops have a separate decorative chimney pot for each flue.



Several styles are grouped under the umbrella of Victorian. Below is a brief description of each.

Stick style is primarily defined by the decorative detail. “Stick” comes from patterns of horizontal, vertical and diagonal boards (stickwork) raised from the wall surface. The voids are filled in with patterns of shingles or boards. The roof is a steeply pitched gable with cross gables. Decorative trusses fill in the point created by the gable.  Overhanging eaves have exposed rafter ends. Either at the entry or across the front facade is a one-story porch that shows diagonal or curved braces. A Stick may show many of these details, but rarely does a house show every one.

Queen Anne, like the Stick, is defined by decorated, textured walls.  The roof is steeply pitched and of an irregular shape, usually with a dominant front-facing gable. The facade will be asymmetrical and have a partial or full-width porch. The porch will be one-story and may wrap around. Large panes of glass bound by smaller panes and bay windows are hallmarks. There are four subtypes:

  • Spindlework - lace-like brackets, delicate spindlework porch supports, frieze with spindlework that looks like beads and finials.

  • Free Classic - classic columns, Palladian windows, dentil work.

  • Half-timbered - Half-timbering, lines of three or more windows, solid brackets and patterned masonry chimneys.

  • Patterned Masonry - decorative brick and stone patterns, shaped parapeted gables, patterned masonry chimneys and decorative terra cotta panels.


Shingle style is completely different. These homes have a unified look because shingles, of wood or composite, cover the walls and roof.  The facade is asymmetrical with a steeply pitched roof, usually with intersecting cross gables and multi-level eaves.