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Each of us imagines his dream house in one way or another. However, all our ideas can change under the influence of reality when we turn on the pace of buying a house. We are to answer many questions about our future home, starting from the construction to the architecture and materials. So, let’s find out what types of homes we can find in the United States today.
As you will probably understand from the name, here we refer to a residential building for one family. Depending on the construction and price, we have divided single-family homes into two large groups, which are typical and affordable houses and lavish residential buildings.
Inexpensive and Common Houses
It is one of the most popular types of single-family homes. Some owners consider it a summer residence, but many Americans live here all the time. The cottages differ in size and layout, but they are always ready to offer their owners maximum comfort and facilities.
It is a broad concept that encompasses Americans’ many notions of a cozy and attractive single-family home. They can be built in different styles and are located in various metro areas, but they always have all the amenities for comfortable and permanent residence.
This name belongs to a housing estate, which are several houses per family, and each one has a common wall with its neighboring. They can have two or three floors, their layout is traditional, and there is a space for a small lawn at the entrance. Developers locate them in groups or lines and can set up private outdoor areas for all tenants.
Some townhouses run HOA, which covers exterior maintenance and public areas. However, each part of it is still designed for one family and has its own space, which gives the reason to consider this type of house a single-family.
These log buildings resemble cottages. However, they are smaller, look simpler, have fewer amenities, and are often located in the forest. Many see them as temporary shelters for recreation, fishing, or hunting.
Today this name implies housing built on the land plot separately from the main house. The owners may use them for renting, accommodating guests, and giving a separate family of relatives housing on a common plot.
Realtors refer to these houses as accessory dwelling units (ADU). This status means that these buildings are not sold separately.
The house with a separate outbuilding for another family (usually related) is called this polysemous word. As a rule, the wing has a separate entrance from the street or basement, but inside, it always leads to the central part of the house.
This single-family structure is very light and mobile, thanks to the special basement construction that lets the owners move it a short distance. Mobile homeowners often lease plots of land in mobile home parks but can also install them on their properties.
You might think it is impossible to live in a container, but everything is possible. Today, container homes are a relatively popular type of housing for those who cannot afford anything more expensive, at least for now. The success of these houses has spurred the emergence of many construction companies that deal with these structures only.
This type of house is the dream of many of us. Huge dimensions (5000-8000 square feet according to the criteria of different realtors), magnificent landscaping with all amenities, plenty of rooms, luxurious decoration, and the latest appliances clarify that you are dealing with wealthy owners.
In ancient times, villas meant luxury country houses for the upper-class Romans. Later they became a little humbler, but today, the ownership of a villa implies a certain social status. Today, you can admire these elegant and luxurious residential buildings in California, Florida, and other warm coastal areas.
These houses comprise several housing units, each designed for a separate family. Multi-family homes can be both expensive and prestigious and quite affordable.
Condominiums are apartment buildings with public spaces, including gyms, green areas, or swimming pools. The tenants are the owners of the apartments, but these public spaces are jointly owned by all of them and are managed by HOA or an association that accepts a fee for public space maintenance. Since the 1960s, condominiums have become increasingly popular, allowing large amenities to be owned without building their own house.
Cooperative, aka co-op, is somewhat similar to a condominium. However, there is a considerable difference in the lack of tenants’ rights. They all own shares in the same corporation but live in a co-op under a lease agreement. The cooperative is headed by an elected Board of Directors who determine the rules for living, renting, and buying shares and monthly fees.
Cooperatives are cheaper than condominiums and therefore popular in high-end areas of cities. Tenants pay maintenance, taxes, amenities, and other expenses monthly, with fees varying from one co-op to the other.
This name refers to houses, which are single buildings divided into two houses by a common wall. Both halves of the house may have different owners, but they must make joint decisions about the disposal of their property. Some buy duplexes to live on one side of the house and rent out another, which becomes a profitable investment.
These iconic three-of-four-floor townhouses in New York City are named after the brown sandstone facing the walls outside. In the 19th century, these houses were built by the upper middle class for independent living. Today, many of them are divided into several apartments, allowing us to consider them multi-family. However, some remained in possession of one family and therefore are still called mansions.
Styles of Houses
Your home’s architecture is also crucial, as its exterior is the hallmark of your taste. Whether it is a cozy country-like housing or something elegant and aristocratic is still a matter of your wishes and financial capabilities. We invite you to learn more about well-known house styles and get inspiration.
Tudor is one of the oldest architectural styles. It was developed in medieval England between 1485 and 1603, but its prosperity spanned 1500-1560 during the period of late Gothic and Renaissance fusion.
Modern houses in the Tudor style differ in pronounced timber framing that looks natural against the background of brick plastered walls. Long rows of sash windows and steep slopes of roofs give them the charm of the past and a slight glimmer of fabulousness.
The colonial style sparked interest in the United States in the early 17th century when European immigrants built several elegant houses on the east coast. The early colonial architecture provided two floors and one room each, while modern dwellings are characterized by the formula “two by four,” meaning four rooms on each floor.
The style has several trends, including English, Georgian, French, Dutch, and Middle Atlantic. They all differ in their decorative features, but they are united by such characteristics as precise geometry, the abundance of windows, a roof of a regular shape, and symmetrical wings.
The appearance of the Cape Cod style became possible because of the colonists who came to New England and adapted classic English homes to the windy and humid local climate. Today, the name of this style refers to a traditional type of North American rural or country house that is characterized by a symmetrical facade, wooden exterior trim or wooden frame, and mansard windows. The roof’s steep slope protects against snowfall, and the fireplace on one side and the ornamented shutters become other recognizable features of Cape Cod.
Craftsman and Contemporary Craftsman
Craftsman is a style derived from houses built in America between 1905 and 1930. It was then that the industrial revolution experienced its rise, but many felt its achievements were too soulless. The underlying resistance led to a desire to craft as many things as possible and prioritize natural materials. These principles defined the features of the craftsman style, including the abundance of open beams, rafters, terraces, trimmings, and other architectural elements. Of course, fans of the craftsman style chose natural wood as it is a perfect material.
Since the 1980s, the style has been going through a new round of popularity. Today, however, it is a contemporary craftsman who prefers a greater balance of proportions, careful texture processing, and a perfect fit of all the house’s details.
This style may be called in different ways. You may have heard names like California Ranch, American Ranch, or rambler, but all of them imply the most notable architectural trend that originated in the United States. Imagine a long and proportionate one-story building made of wood with a stone plinth, a variety of pitched roofs, light windows, and a welcoming terrace to get a perfect idea of a ranch. Such houses embody a successful and respectable life in a friendly environment and the bosom of nature.
The peak of the ranch’s popularity was overcome between 1940 and 1970, but now we can see its revival as we need privacy and family comfort today.
The traditional American house will have much in common with the Tudor style discussed above. However, the more complex details and steeper roof slopes still allow it to differ, despite the same large chimney and the shape of the front pediment.
This trend dominated from 1940 to 1950, but today, you can observe its rise again in different areas of the United States thanks to the harmonious architecture and the excellent internal layout. You can recognize the traditional house by its mansard or hip roof, plastered facade, covered terrace, as well as laconic and appropriate decorative elements.
The Beach style is typical for coastal development and is often more suitable for seasonal recreation than for a permanent residence. However, these houses are often built in the hot and humid climate of the southeast coast.
Most beach houses have a small compact structure on piles with a wide terrace facing the sea. Their overall exterior can vary from what is casual to unobtrusively chic.
The bungalow style originated in India, but this does not mean that these homes in the US look exactly like they did there in the 17th century. In their homeland, they are low, extensive buildings, supplemented by sloping attics and an expansive patio for spending time outdoors. Their roofs may have been thatched or tiled, with the second option intended for the more affluent.
Bungalows appeared in the United States in 1880 and were an inspiration to New England and, in particular, Southern California. The American version of the bungalow is brick walls, balanced proportions, a combination roof, and a patio under a canopy.
By modern style, we mean houses built between 1960 and 1970. They are distinguished by a very concise geometry, with cubes and rectangles made of glass, metal, or concrete at their base, but their creative asymmetry is more typical. Vast windows let in a lot of light, and sliding doors and wide openings also contribute to natural lighting. Clean and smooth lines and textures are typical for both the structure and landscape design. Wood and stone exterior decoration allows modern homes to look stylish and expensive.
We know the country interior style as something cozy, chamber, and casual. However, everything changes when it comes to architecture. Earlier, this name was typical for large European houses or mansions with adjacent land plots. Of course, the modern country is a little more moderate. However, the large footage, complex multi-component roof encircling the lower floor of the veranda, and good wooden trim still determine the design and exterior of such houses.
Inspiring English landscapes often depict these delightful low houses with white walls, thatched roofs, and small windows. Today their old-fashioned charm is still in high esteem, especially among those who worship a leisurely and serene life in the countryside. Despite its small size, it is comfortable enough for living, as it accommodates both bedrooms and a common room. At the same time, they are often regarded as vacation homes.
Previously, the United States and Europe residents viewed a farmhouse as a residential building connected to one or more barns to frame the courtyard. This architecture has survived today, but new buildings have changed a little. Here, we mean a wide porch encircling the house’s perimeter or located on both sides of it, along with a steep gable roof hovering above the pediment and the mansard windows. Horizontal siding and snow-white finishes are also typical of the farmhouse.
The style was named after king George I, who ruled in the early 18th century. This architectural trend flourished until the mid-19th century, and today it is present in the construction of rich private houses.
The modern Georgian style, with its impeccable symmetry relative to the central facade, deep central passage, charm of brick walls, and bright white finishes, has become a vivid example of classical architecture. The noble exterior continues to inspire wealthy American families to choose such housing.
The French country was inspired by the traditions of southern France architecture and a slight hint of Gothic influences. You could admire these sprawling stone houses with elegant tile roofs, attic windows, arched car passages, and welcoming wooden shutters. There is nothing pretentious about the French country exterior, but it makes almost anyone fall in love with it once and for all.
Greece is the cradle of classics, so you can consider the house of this style a reincarnation of architecture that was developed many centuries ago. The perfect quadrangular shape, light or beige color of the stone walls, and the slender colonnade piercing the ribbons of openwork balconies are impressive and inspire you to learn more about Hellenism.
Inspiring with its beauty, the mix of classics and vivid architectural traditions of Spain and Italy gave birth to a stunning Mediterranean style. Its exterior is quite complex and elegant because the typical alternation of plastered walls and open areas of masonry, together with multi-component tile roofs, prevents it from looking plain and dull. Salmon, peach, and yellow colors, openwork cast-iron balconies, rounded turrets, and medieval lanterns make any Mediterranean home cheerful, warm, and spectacular!
You have probably seen log houses in wooded areas, which applies to the USA, Scandinavia, Switzerland, and the Baltic states. The abundance of straight and tall coniferous trees, including spruce and pine, makes its construction the most affordable here. Besides, log houses have little in common with humble huts that you could imagine. Today, it is a large two-story building with neat gable roofs and large windows for more daylight. The terraces on the upper and lower floors of the house contribute to the cozy and respectable exterior.
The Mountain chalet is similar to a log house. However, the timber walls and gable roofs make it cozier and more fabulous. You can be inspired by the exterior of this house, spending time somewhere in the mountains of Switzerland, or build it on your own, making it the same, with huge windows, a stone porch, and ornamental wooden overhangs.
Architects consider the style prevalent in the northwest, closer to the Pacific Ocean, one of the first Native American trends. Although it was popular between 1935 and 1960, many are still inspired by its ease. Today’s Northwest Regional includes floor windows, asymmetrical interior layout, low or flat roof, asceticism in decor, and many, many wood and stone. Surround such a house with lawns and flowers, and you can feel the beauty of life in your region.
The style, which was popular in the United States at the dawn of the 20th century, seems to have come from the rocky prairie land. Low construction, as if assembled from several boxes, saturated colors, and the alternation of flat and skillion roofs make the house look a little awkward. However, if you look closer, you feel their harsh and concise harmony, born in sunset-colored deserts.
Southern (Antebellum) Architecture
Southern architecture, in all its classic charm and grace, remains a symbol of a rather sad episode in American history, as it flourished in the period leading up to the American Civil War of 1861-1865. These houses, characteristic of the Southern states, combined the traditions of neoclassical, Renaissance, Greek, and Georgian trends. The delightful mix is presented through impeccable proportions, magnificent colonnades, symmetrical rows of windows, and a welcoming passage with high doors. Some Americans still build southern houses, trying to experience this charming vibe.
In contrast to the aristocratic South, the Southwestern architecture has combined the traditions of Indian and Spanish culture and seasoned them with a warm local vibe. The typical features of the style are plastered or unpainted stone walls, the predominance of height over width, warm shades, more smooth lines, and some authentic decor elements.
Architects consider the Victorian style one of the most exquisite trends in English house building. Its development took place during the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. Its characteristics include dim deep colors, a plethora of decorative details, complex roof design, combinations of huge main and small auditory windows, as well as all these bay windows, balconies, terraces, and turrets that provide so much charm and elegance.
The late Victorian era was marked by the emergence of a new branch in Victorian architecture called Queen Anne’s style. It was distinguished by its great decorativeness and elegance, represented in carved columns and trimmers, lace cornices, and much more.
Types of Materials for Building a House
The durability, comfort, and warmth of your home depend on the material you choose for it. Now we will not talk about substances like adobe, straw, clay, mud, or ice (our best wishes to the igloo owners!), which you will hardly use. Let’s get closer to reality and discuss private homes’ most popular building materials.
Centuries pass, epochs change, and wooden houses remain with us. We do not tire of admiring their ecology, warmth, and coziness. You can build a big house or stay in a small wooden dwelling. However, you will always feel calm, peaceful, and close to nature. Besides, the wooden house remains one of the most aesthetic options, so you kill all the birds with a stone.
Choosing a wooden house, make sure that you buy quality material. Also, take care of wood treatment to protect it from fire, temperature, and humidity.
Bricks and Stone
Brick and stone houses look aesthetically both in modern and classic architecture. Their ability to maintain heat, durability, and fire resistance makes them an excellent solution if you build a house for centuries. All you need to do is calculate the budget and find the workers who can make the perfect and smooth masonry.
Steel structures for residential buildings are usually typical of container houses and contemporary buildings, whose strict geometry requires a steel frame. This material is light, durable, non-combustible, and resistant to dampness and insects, but requires a considerable amount of insulation to protect the owners from wind and cold.
Concrete houses are a luxury you can enjoy for decades. Today, concrete is becoming a choice for high-end buildings because of its monumentality and usability, which make the impressive cost of the material fully justified.
Cross-laminated timber and foam, which are the most popular in this list, proved their practicality and efficiency. Thanks to them, many Americans can afford comfortable homes without excessive spending.
To Sum It Up
As you can see, the choice of house types according to different criteria is vast. Weigh each type’s pros and cons, and do not hesitate to seek advice from builders, architects, or realtors to build or buy the house of your dreams.