Old House Styles


Houses come in all shapes and sizes. The style of a house is greatly influenced by its location, when it was built and if it has undergone renovations. Explore Victorians, colonials, Greek and Spanish revivals, foursquares, Federals, bungalows and other design motifs. 

SEE ALSO:  Arts & Crafts Houses | Greek Revival Houses | Mid-Century Modern Houses | Queen Anne Houses | Frank Lloyd Wright Homes | Historic Places

Queen Anne watercolor

Queen Anne, 1874–1910

Queen Anne houses are symmetrical, medieval, and delightfully ornamental.

Royal Barry Wills

Royal Barry Wills

The Cape Cod house was revived in the 20th century by Royal Barry Wills, who found the simple plan “almost as modern as Modern.”

Prairie Style American Foursquare

A Prairie Home Library

Prairie style books recommended by OHJ editors.

home restored in 1941

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)

Born during the Great Depression, HABS is an essential research tool.

The Vanderbilt Mansion, McKim Mead & White.

Beaux-Arts Style

Architecture and opulence of the American Renaissance, 1885-1930.

bungalow with white fence

The Bungalow, 1890–1930

The bungalow is a beloved type aligned with American Arts & Crafts.

Cape Cod Design house

A History of Cape Cod Design

This early regional house style caught on like wildfire, and Cape Cod design is arguably one of the most recognizable house styles today.

Hoboken, N.J., brownstones

Row House Glossary

Medium-density, neighbor-friendly houses of the 19th century.

Ward W. Willits house, prairie style home

Prairie School Houses

Prairie School houses were a phenomenon 1901–1919 that changed domestic architecture forever.


Mission Revival Style

The Mission Revival architectural style was one result of a preservation movement that began in the 1880s.

"The Moorings"

Italianate Beauty

The gazebo of this cherished 1864 Italianate house on Cape Cod has become a beloved feature in the neighborhood—as much a part of the history of the house as its Italianate elements.

Italian House styles

19th Century Italian Styles

Romantic details for Italian styles: villa, row house, or in a rural vernacular.

Spadena House in Beverly Hills

20th Century Storybook Homes

A Hollywood take on Medieval and European domestic architecture.


The California Ranch

Read how the ranch house came about and its traits.

There’s no missing the point made by this chalet in Vallejo, Cal.: the gable roof, second-level porch, knee braces, and dark wood stain mimic Swiss models.

Chalet, Lodge & Bungalow

1885–1925: Picturesque wood details have roots in European chalets.

Furnishings: This reproduction chair is the only Revival piece in this typical room. The rest is a mix; note the Moorish table and a Victorian side chair reupholstered in chintz. (All illustrations based on interior views after actual period photographs annotated by William Seale.)

Colonial Revival Revealed

The timeless approach to decorating that’s also known as Traditional.

A suburban Tudor of brick, stucco, and slate has many of the style’s hallmarks: steep roof, storybook entry, a picturesque chimney, casement windows and an oriel (on the side), and decorative half-timbering.

The Tudor Revival Style

1895–1945: from architect-designed mansions to planbook homes.

front stoop, architect Gerald Lee Morosco

An Interior Inspired by Wright's Taliesin

Inspired by his time at Wright’s Taliesin, architect Gerald Lee Morosco creates a warm and quite classical Modern environment in his own Pittsburgh row house.


Modern Design Motifs

Untouched, a mid-century house in Oregon reveals the Usonian design sources for a generation of dwellings.


Dormers, Bays & Turrets

These three types of windows-dormers, bays, and turrets-share the common feature of windows that project from the house-in the roof or on the wall-and provide the pleasures of light and ventilation. A historical look at how windows expand into architectural appendages.

queen anne exterior entryway

Queen Anne Neglected No Longer

The exterior is done, but we’ve got years to go restoring our Queen Anne.

The new kitchen is in a big old room that was, improbably, long used as a garage. It’s 21' square and includes a fireplace, now restored. “We made the fireplace part of the kitchen, creating a sitting area with a couple of wing chairs,” Larry Stanley says. The old floorboards had been irreparably stained and damaged, so the floors are new. Salvaged sections of old flooring have new life as the built-in cabinet in a corner next to the fireplace. The room is  simply furnished with mid-19th-century cabinets inspired by Shaker design. “We chose cherry for the cabinets because it would age to the same color as the beautiful old beams, which are chestnut treated with tung oil,” Larry explains. Natural granite countertops with a soft, honed finish complete the look.

A Cherished 1774 Colonial Restored

The large center-hall Georgian was built as an inn. After removing 1940s accretions and reconfiguring rooms for residential use, the current owners decorated it in fine Colonial Revival tradition.

1 Simpson_Paris_KY_ 54289 cr PE_gn

Old Kentucky Houses

With its rich cultural and architectural history, the Bluegrass retains a tenuous hold on its unique heritage, still so much in evidence.

foursquare exterior

Tailoring a Foursquare

Built in 1905 in Minneapolis, a fine family home is restored and improved by its appreciative owners along with David Heide Design Studio.


Federal With a Twist

A stoic Federal in rural Maine, built circa 1790 and remarkably preserved, has a surprise inside.

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Govonor's mansion, historic window, Indow insert

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