Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 Styles of residential architecture you'll see in Sacramento.

One of the best things about Sacramento is its diversity, not only in cultures but in historical influences, threads as old as California, itself, woven together to form a rich textile.  There's no greater example than in our architecture, with residential homes built since the mid 1880's in just about every style imaginable, often right next door to each other.  One Sunday afternoon, take a pleasant drive through midtown, East Sacramento, downtown, Alkali Flats, Land Park, Curtis Park, or other great historic neighborhoods and you'll see beautiful homes in these 10 architectural styles.

1. Colonial Revival
This return to the oldest classical home style was a tribute to American in architecture. The revival period imitated the colonial homes that were as old as the country, itself.  Colonials exhibit sprawling square form with plenty of dressing in shutters, window boxes, a prominent front door, and a sharply pitched roof.  

2. Minimalist Homes
This form of architecture has actually been called “devoid of style, at all,” and is a function of attitudes of frugality and caution after the Great Depression – as simple as they come. But there are offshoots of minimal styles as time and attitudes evolved, including traditional, minimal transitional, and even minimal modern.  These small, 2 bedrooms 1 bath “salt flats,” were often erected with the intent of being temporary housing for the workers who constructed Sacramento’s more grander neighborhoods.

3. Bungalow Homes
Bungalows are one of the most common forms of home architecture in certain areas of the country, and certainly California.  But there are many different kinds of bungalows, including California, Arts and Craft, and Spanish Revival.  California bungalows feature 1 to 1 ½ stories, thick columns, and big front porches. Arts and Craft is actually commonly known as Craftsmen architecture, originating from the magazine where designer Gustav Stickley first published his house plans.  Spanish bungalows are inspired by the Mexican-American experience and influence in old California.  In combination, bungalows are a fun, handsome, and homey style of architecture that breaks the rules just as often as it follows suit.  Curtis Park and T Street in midtown has some great representations of bungalows.

4. Spanish Colonial House Style
1600 – 1900
These homes incorporate elements of the Spanish bungalow but also bring in stone, adobe, or stucco walls depending on the era, flat or red tile roofs, parapets, decorative tiles, wooden doors, second-story balconies, interior courtyards, and other touches inspired from Spanish culture in the Southwest.

5. Victorian
1840 -1900
Victorian architecture was brought into existence thanks to the Industrial Revolution, where mass production allowed decorative materials and building technologies like no time before. Victorian houses seem to pride themselves on delicacy and detail, combining elements of Greek, Federalist, Colonial, Gothic, Italiante, and even medieval architecture.  There are plenty of gorgeous Victorian homes in areas like Alkali Flats, Sacramento’s oldest neighborhood.  

6. Mission Revival House Style
1890 – 1920
Mission homes are seen a little less frequently in Sacramento but a few do exist.  They are more popular in Southern California and areas of the American southwest like Arizona and New Mexico.  They have smooth stucco siding, roof parapets, square pillars, round windows, and red tiled roofs in the traditional Spanish style.

7. Tudor Cottage
Imitating the romance of countryside homes in England, the Tudor style has been described as something out of a storybook.  They’re also called Ann Hathaway Cottages, Hansel and Gretel cottages, Cotswold, and English country cottages.  They have brick, stone or stucco siding with brick or stone fireplaces as show pieces, small-paned windows and dormers, low doors, and cramped, sloping second floors beneath uneven roofs.  They became very popular in the United States around the 1920’s and 1930’s.

8. Neoclassical House Styles
1885 – 1925
This architectural style exhibits all the symmetry and order of Georgian, Federal, Classical Greek and Roman Styles.  Neoclassical is seen as more of a trend than one particular style, but it’s always perfectly with distance from the central front door and perfectly symmetrical windows and often columns and pediments. You’ll see a couple of massive, beautiful neoclassical homes in the Fab 40’s.

9. Medieval Revival Homes

Also called Tudor Homes, these homes feature decorative timbering, steep rooflines, tall, narrow windows, and huge chimneys.  They are often bred with elements of European design like thatched roofs, overlapping gables, and stonework.  Not defined by a particular size, Medieval Revival homes can be as small as country cottages or as big as Antebellum mansions, but give us a glimpse back to construction techniques in the middle ages, even if just for show.

10. Prairie Style
This style was brought to America’s attention by revolutionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright, a creative genius many decades ahead of his time.  At a time when others were looking at traditional and European home revivals, Wright defined a new truly American style with low, wide horizontal lines, overhanging eves, open and spacious floor plans, and large windows.  They were constructed in L, T, or Y shapes instead of the traditional rectangles, homes seemed to mimic and celebrate the endless open spaces of our country.  Wright’s homes were popularized as “Prairie Style Homes,” after an article in Ladies Home Journal in 1901 described them as “A Home in Prairie Town.”  As the Great Depression changed our outlook and priorities, Wright simplified his version of these homes with the more boxy and pragmatic American Foursquare or Prairie Box style.  Take a walk around McKinley Park and look across the street for a good glimpse at Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired homes!

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