As an architect, Deryl Patterson, president and founder of Housing Design Matters, Inc. and a regular contributor to Ply Gem's ProTalk blog, is passionate about authentic housing styles and the details that make them unique. Her analysis of the various styles may help you decide which architectural style is best suited for you and your family.
"When I think about styles and personality, I think of Craftsman first," says Patterson. The style can be unique from one house to another, but there are some common elements among them:
"When I think of French Country, I think of elegant, graceful French fashion models," Patterson says of her favorite architectural style. "It's a style that embraces asymmetry — think of a dress that provocatively exposes one shoulder."
Patterson describes the Folk Victorian as part-elegant and part-playful, not to be confused with the more formal Queen Anne and East Lake Victorians. "This style is about simplistic elegance with restrained ornamentation in gables and around porches," says Patterson.
"The Tuscan style carries a casual, no-rules expression that has become crazy popular," says Patterson. What makes this style so popular is its "rustic and haphazard aesthetic. No symmetry here!"
Patterson explains that the "haphazard nature" comes organically. "Imagine a small farm house in Tuscany built of the indigenous materials like stone pulled out of fields to make way for grapes and olives to flourish." Over time, families outgrew these homes and added lean-to sheds. The next, even larger family would add yet another addition, with no intention to mask that it is an addition. There are no rules, but expect to see:
This style dates back to the founding of our nation. "It is a formal style firmly grounded in tradition," says Patterson. "A strong sense of order is a real draw for people, giving them a feeling of stability." Some parts of the country refer to this style as "five, four and a door," says Patterson, "referring to five windows across the second floor with four windows below and a door in the center."
"As an architect in the southeast, I have the fortune to design many low country-style homes," says Patterson. "They boast the relaxed character of the traditional, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods of the past."
"Each of these housing styles carries with it a story that is well-worth keeping," says Patterson. "They allow a homeowner to take comfort in a design that has been refined over decades (or centuries) and create a story of their own. Let’s bring back the nostalgia and character of historic homes and infuse them with the functionality and vibrancy of our modern lifestyles."
All images: Housing Design Matters, Inc.
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