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Ranch to Queen Anne: A Guide to American Home Styles

Home buyers want to ensure that their money is spent on a home that suits their needs. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what to consider when buying a home. Evaluating the following home styles and their features can help buyers choose the home that is right for their family.

One Story Queen Anne House
Image: flickr.com/photos/stevenm_61

Ranch

Ranch style homes usually consist of a single story with a low pitched roof, horizontal layout, an open floor plan and a simple exterior. They will often have large windows, sliding glass doors that open to a patio, deep set eaves, and an attached garage.

The single story design makes exterior maintenance simple. Cleaning gutters and roof repair can be accomplished with a step ladder. The open interior provides a flow between the main rooms and makes it easy to clean. Despite the airy floor plan, the small square footage typical of ranch homes can be a deterrent to home buyers. The larger roof area in this single story style can result in higher heating and cooling bills unless the attic has proper ventilation and insulation.

Colonial

Colonial style homes are distinguished by their symmetrical, or square, shape. The entry door is in the middle of the front of the house, with two windows on either side. The second floor consists normally of five windows, with one window immediately above the entry door. Other features include a medium pitched roof and paired chimneys.

Colonial style homes offer a large amount of square footage. The two and three story design provides various bedroom choices and a number of areas for entertaining. Its well proportioned design gives the Colonial curb appeal. However, home buyers seeking high ceilings may find it’s standard eight foot ceilings limiting. For those wanting an open floor plan, the multi-level design makes for divided living areas that result in several smaller rooms.

Tudor Revival

Tudor Revival is a modern version of medieval Tudor home design. Tudor revival homes are renowned for their multi-gabled, steeply pitched roofs and ornate half-timber framing. This style of home is characterized by stucco, slate or brick exteriors, bands of tall, narrow windows, and overhanging second floors. Entryway doors are arched or half-round with elaborate decorations. The chimneys of the Tudor Revival consist typically of decorative stone or brick work and chimney pots.

The elegance of Tudor Revival architecture creates a charming facade of Old World style. Though the features of Tudors are beautiful, they also make the home expensive. Many have slate roofs that are sturdy, but the valley flashing in the middle of the myriad gables is susceptible to leaks.

Contemporary

Contemporary home design is characterized by simple shapes and geometric lines, conservative decorative features and flat or low pitched roofs. Other components include an open, versatile floor plan, high ceilings, and generous use of concrete, vinyl and glass throughout the home.

Contemporary style homes normally are eco-friendly, using sustainable materials and green plumbing, air conditioning and heating systems to save energy. The open layout makes the home adaptable to the changing needs of a family. However, the asymmetrical design and strong geometric lines that give this style its uniqueness also can make it appear unusual or odd.

Queen Anne

The Queen Anne is the most extravagant of the Victorian home styles. Queen Anne homes are usually two or three stories with a steeply pitched roof. They have an ornate, asymmetrical exterior with numerous towers, gables, projections and surface designs. Other features include a sprawling layout, multiple windows, a multitude of alcoves and nooks, and a covered wraparound porch.

The array of decorative features that adorn Queen Anne homes make each one unique. The embellishments convey a feeling of personal expression and individuality for the home owner. However, the electrical and plumbing systems in older Queen Anne homes may need to be updated to meet present standards. Larger homes of this style may prove difficult to heat due to poor insulation.

Now that you have the options for when you are buying a home make sure that you really decide on what set up you want. This is something you are going to live with for a long time and you want to make sure every time you look at it, you like it. A home can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

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