The most typical wish lists for Buyers might include open floor plans, large lot size, two car garage, neighbourhood features and community appeal. However, for some buyers a specific architectural style can be at the top of the list. In these cases, a solid understanding of some basic architectural concepts will be an important part of signing that client. In addition, if you are listing a home of a specific style, you’ll want to understand the features that make it unique so you can highlight them in your photographs, and brochure copywriting.
Staging and home improvements for a unique style might also involve choosing fixtures, finishes and design elements specific to the period or particular home style.
Here is a quick overview of 2 very popular architectural styles that you might encounter in today’s market when working with the upper tier clients.
MID- CENTURY MODERN
The Mid-Century Modern design began springing up in the mid 1930’s, continued through the 1960’s and was still prevalent until the end of the 1970’s. This era produced some prominent architects – most notably Frank Lloyd Wright. His Mid-Century Modern architecture was frequently employed in residential structures with a goal of bringing modernism into America’s post war suburbs.
The Mid–Century Modern architectural style has certain elements in common. Exterior walls are usually unembellished, with floor to ceiling windows and glass sliding doors. They were built to integrate natural outdoor settings with indoor living, making sure that as many rooms as possible had expansive outside views. By integrating fewer walls and more open spaces into the floor plan, it encouraged families to share space and be more engaged with each other.
Many Mid-Century Modern houses used a (then ground-breaking) post and beam architectural design that eliminated bulky support walls in favour of walls that were seemingly made of glass. Various levels of large, open geometric spaces were broken up with built in cabinets of varying heights. Sunken living rooms, and a split level design created varied heights and spaciousness.
If your client is in the market for a Mid-Century Modern home, it won’t come cheap. Due to the popularity of this style being restored, preserved, and maintained by historical organizations, the value of this style of home has skyrocketed.
The typical Ranch Style house is so simple, it may not even appear to have any style at all. This style grew out of a desire for homes that allowed for more informal family living in the suburbs that sprang up in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Fast forward to the last 10 years, and the desire for one level and main level bedrooms has driven the popularity of the style to a renewed meteoric rise. Many Baby Boomers that grew up in a ’50’s – ’60’s home are downsizing to the home style of their childhood instead of choosing condos.
Distinguishing features of the Ranch House are one level design with a low pitched roof (commonly hipped), and a moderate or wide eave overhang. Quite often they are constructed a U or L-shaped floor plan, with large sliding glass doors and large picture windows. Usually built of local and readily available materials, they offered either large attached car ports or double car garages.
Ranch Style house plans are well suited for casual entertaining and living. Rooms are large and flow freely into each other, eliminating the barriers between the formal and family parts of the home that were common in earlier styles of homes.
Three basic principles of the Ranch Style house are livability, flexibility, and unpretentiousness. The Ranch Style was also part of the movement to include the outdoors as part of the home itself. The houses were designed to give the occupants a direct visual connection to the outdoors through picture windows and sliding glass doors. Access to the outdoors was quick and simple with no need to step down from a formal porch. In fact, the Ranch Style house rarely have street front porches. Later variations include a split level ranch, and a high or raised ranch style. The Ranch Style has become very popular once again, and this reflects the price point that these properties command.
CONTEMPORARY / MODERN
This style has gained more and more popular in the last 10 years. Distinctive features include free-flowing form, creativity and the extensive use of curved lines. Contemporary architecture is a form of construction that embodies the various styles of building designs stemming from a wide range of influences including eco-friendly features. This style emulates all kinds of creativity. Aside from different styles and influences, contemporary architecture uses the latest technology and materials. One such technique is the Tube Structure, which is used to design buildings that are high tech, stronger, and taller than most other buildings of previous generations.
With the help of modern software, and the use of simulations and computer-aided design, buildings can be constructed with a high level of precision and speed. Contemporary/Modern homes have exteriors that make a statement. They often feature asymmetrical elements, geometric shapes, and the use of natural materials such as stone, brick, and wood. With Contemporary homes, there is no such thing as cookie cutter. Almost every contemporary /modern home has its own unique look. Windows are huge in these homes, and often take up the entire wall or several walls. Rooflines play a big role in the architectural design. Modern homes tend to have flat expansive roofs or dramatically angled ones. This form of architecture is dominant all over the world and is not just specific to the U.S and Canada. In that regard contemporary is global.
Contemporary architects have a sense of sustainability that they achieve through designs that are energy efficient, using recycled materials, solar panels, and allowing for maximum natural light to pass through. You will be seeing more of this type of architecture as older bungalows are being demolished, to be replaced by Contemporary homes on a larger lot.
FRENCH PROVINCIAL or French Country
French Provincial style is one of the most popular genres, whether it’s describing the architecture of a home or the furniture within it. Just look at the Oakville and Burlington Lakeshore see the popularity of this style that has lofty origins. When French Provincial architecture appeared in the United States, it was actually classified as a revival.
Originally inspired by the original 17th and 18th century manor houses that dot the countryside of France, the second revival of this style started in the ‘90’s and still going stronger than ever. For both the original manor houses in the rural provinces of France and the revival versions here in the U.S. and Canada several features stand out. These houses are built of brick or stone, and feature symmetrical, flat facades with a centered front door. Painted wooden shutters are common for the windows and doors.
These were large country homes that were usually at least 2 stories, sometimes including a third under the steeply pitched roof with dormers. This style of roof is called Mansard and is a gambrel–style hip roof characterised by 4 sides. The second stories of these homes were uniquely tall and featured high, arched windows that extended past the eave of the roof, adding to the architectural interest of the house. Such a steep roof called for a beautiful material worthy of looking at, so many French Provincial homes are topped with slate tile or copper accented roofs. This style of home can range from modest to large farm houses, to grand and detailed which we see the most.
French Provincial interiors have a low maintenance elegance that is timeless and beautifully simple. Colours match the landscape, with lots of creams and whites with brown, grays, and muted greens and blues. Texture is another key element in the design, with unfinished wrought iron and stone serving as accents and paying homage to the historic farmhouses of their origins. French Provincial is especially popular today because it’s a softer, more elegant take on minimalistic or rustic farmhouse décor. Plus, you won’t be rushing to replace it in a few years because it’s a classic we don’t see going out of style anytime soon.