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Guide to Old House Styles and Architecture

There are many styles of historic homes built throughout the years, some very simple in design and others maximizing every possible detail. Here at OldHouses.com we will attempt to document architectural house styles and examples to inform and assist you when identifying a historical home. If you have a good example of a house style and would like to feature it on our site, let us know about it and we will gladly include it in our style guide.

An Overview of Old House Styles.

Colonial House Photo
1600-1820

Colonial Styles

The Colonial house style consists of many styles built during the "Colonial" period (early 18th Century) in America's history when England, Spain, and France had colonies scattered across what is now the United States.

Early National and Romantic House Photo
1820-1880

Early National and Romantic Styles

The Romantic Style of American houses grew in popularity in a time when the U.S. was attempting to break free from English culture and looked to the ancient world for architectural inspiration.

Victorian Era House Photo
1860-1900

Victorian Styles

Victorian houses are architecturally commonly referred to as a Victorian Style but this "style" is really a period in history. The Victorian era dates from the time when Queen Victoria ruled Britain (1840 to 1904).

Bungalow House Photo
1900-1940

Bungalow Styles

The Bungalow house style of architecture is a single family house type whose popularity grew in the western United States at the turn-of-the-century. Bungalows offered low cost, simple living quarters with an artistic touch to many Americans getting by on modest means.

Arts and Crafts House Photo
1870-1920

Arts and Crafts Styles

The Arts and Crafts Movement began in England in the 1860s as a reform movement that challenged the tastes of the Victorian era. Its primary proponents were John Ruskin (1819-1900) and William Morris (1834-1896). Subsequently this style was taken up by American designers around the time of Morris's death in 1896, with somewhat different results. In the United States, the Arts and Crafts style was also known as Mission style.

Modern House Photo
1900-1960

Modern Styles

Most Modern house styles of American architecture include familiar and very popular architects. This list includes Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), Charles and Henry Greene, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius just to name a few.

Other Style Guides on The Internet.

Resource No. 609

Architectural Styles of America

Architectural Styles of America

Resource No. 608

Home Types and Styles by Realtor.com

Home Types and Styles by Realtor.com

Resource No. 396

House Styles and Home Architecture

Even if your house is brand new, its architecture draws inspiration from the past. This index traces important housing styles in the US from Colonial to modern times. Learn how residential architecture has changed over the centuries, and discover interesting facts about the design influences that helped shape your own home.

House Styles and Home Architecture

Resource No. 711

Walk the Town

Lester Walker

Walk the Town

Books About Old House Styles.

Resource No. 290

A Field Guide to American Houses

Virginia Savage McAlester

The fully expanded, updated, and freshly designed second edition of the most comprehensive and widely acclaimed guide to domestic architecture—in print since its publication in 1984, and acknowledged everywhere as the unmatched, essential reference to American houses.

Resource No. 291

The Abrams Guide to American House Styles

William Morgan

What are the unique characteristics that make a house Colonial or Craftsman, Modern or Deco, or any of the other approximately 20 styles of domestic architecture common in the United States? At a time of near-obsessive attention to home design and renovation, this compact, easily accessible guide-the only book of its kind with all color photography-makes the identification of house styles a breeze.

Resource No. 708

American Architecture

Leland Roth

American Architecture introduces the reader to the major developments that shaped the American-built environment from before the Europeans to the present, from the everyday vernacular to the high style of aspiration. Leland M. Roth describes the impact of changes in conceptual imagery, style, building technology, landscape design, and town-planning theory throughout the nation’s history.

Resource No. 180

American House Styles

John Milnes Baker

This unique book will allow readers to recognize the architectural features and style of virtually any house they encounter.

Resource No. 722

Discovering the History of Your House and Your Neighborhood

Betsy J Green

Every home has a story to tell! Whether you own an elaborate Victorian, cozy bungalow or cottage, ranch style, or are part of a newer subdivision, your house and property have a unique history that is just waiting to be uncovered.

Resource No. 289

Look Up, America

Doug Gelbert

House styles not only infuse our streets with personality, they help to tell the story of America. We have selected 15 of the most common house styles in the United States and told their story.

Resource No. 112

What Style Is It?

John C. Poppeliers

Architectural style is defined as a definite type of architecture, distinguished by special characteristics of structure and ornament. This revised edition of What Style Is It? includes new sections on Neoclassical, Romanesque and Rustic Styles. It also provides more examples of how pure styles vary by geographic region across the US.