Salt Lake City and its surrounding areas are home to a wide variety of architectural styles, each with unique features and an interesting story. Let’s look at a few home styles that embody Salt Lake’s eclectic architecture.
Cabins originated as small log homes in the 1600s. Originally, they were built as rustic shelter from the elements, usually only comprising of one room and the bare necessities. Now, many cabins function as primary residences and large luxurious getaways. Cabins are still mostly found in rural settings, but also line Utah’s many canyons.
Cape Cod homes enjoyed a boom in popularity and adaptation to modern needs in the 1930s – 1950s and quickly became a popular starter home. They are inspired by Britain’s thatched cottages with a low, broad, single-story frame. The roof is moderately pitched with a central chimney and very little ornamentation. Windows flank the centered front door adding to the symmetric style. Sometimes a Cape Cod home can have dormer windows up top and cedar shingles for decoration. Most of today’s Cape Cods were built after World War II and were the first style used in modestly priced housing developments.
Colonial architecture originated during the Revolutionary War. There are many variations of the style due to the diversity of early American settlers, but all colonial homes drew strongly from the Georgian architecture in Great Britain. Known for its symmetry, Colonial architecture is most often characterized by evenly spaced shuttered windows, columns, accented front door and decorative crown pediments evenly proportioned to complement the formal style.
Some folks consider contemporary and modern architecture to be essentially the same. However, contemporary refers to today’s building styles, which can vary in design and appearance. Both styles are similar in that they look to connect indoors and outdoors, but contemporary homes tend to emphasize energy efficiency, sustainable materials, lots of natural light and the use of recycled non-toxic materials.
Cottages originate from the word “cotters.” Cotters were European peasant farmers in the Middle Ages who lived in this style of home. A cottage-style house typically refers to a small home made of stone or wood siding. It features a curved entryway, gravel or brick front walkway and brighter exterior colors. Today, flowers typically adorn the entryway creating beautiful curb appeal.
Bungalow and Craftsman style homes were born out of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the turn of the 20th Century. The emphasis is on honesty, simplicity and natural materials — wood, stone and brick. The homes are characterized by wide front porches and low-pitched roofs. Typically the interior’s open floor plan features built-in furniture, big fireplaces and exposed beams. This style was the darling of the rapidly expanding American middle class, lending character and distinction to even small and simple dwellings.
The term “farmhouse” doesn’t refer to style, but rather to location and function. They were originally built on rural land with an emphasis on an agrarian lifestyle. Many farmhouses were modeled after popular architectural styles at the time they were built, such as Victorian and Colonial. However, farmhouses were built for need rather than design, often featuring functional porches as a transitional space creating a much more informal and inviting exterior.
Inspired by Greek architecture and democracy, the Greek revival style flourished in America in the 1830s and 1940s. Tall columns and pediments, painted plaster exterior, horizontal transoms, symmetrical shape, bold moldings and embellishments are all key to the style. Large and imposing, this home style is commonly found on large estates and historic plantations.
Influenced by the area from which it’s named, this style became extremely popular in the U.S. from 1918 to 1940. The homes were modeled after the hacienda style, with red tile roofs, arches and plaster surfaces. This style is very popular again and features a lot of the original design elements, including porticos, balconies and ornamental details such as heavy wooden doors and multicolored tiles.
Mid Century Modern
Constructed out of new ideas, mindsets and a forward-thinking style, mid-century modern architecture flourished from 1945 to the 1980s. Characterized by flat planes, large glass windows and open space, the style focused on simplistic design and seamless integration of nature. World War II brought new materials, such as steel and plywood, to the forefront of architecture and design, and helped to enlighten new ways of thinking about residential living. This style emphasized function and targeted the needs of the American family.
Modern and contemporary styles tend to get confused. Modern architecture refers to design inspired by the historical art movement of modernism. Most classic examples of modern architecture are more than 50 years old, which makes it a little easier to tell a modern-style home from a contemporary-style home. Open living spaces, clean, geometric lines and function-over-form are key elements of the style.
First built in the 1930s, the ranch style was extremely popular with the booming post-war middle class. This style of home is often associated with tract housing of the southern and western United States, which experienced a population explosion during the 1940s to 1970s. Ranch architecture bears a slight resemblance to the modern style with wide, open floor plans and easy connections to the outdoors. Focused mainly on practicality, most ranch homes also feature an attached garage. Ranch homes offer a very informal and causal living style.
Settlers from the Mediterranean fused design from Europe and Native America with their own to create a variety of home styles. Mission revival is one of the most popular, inspired by the Spanish churches built by the missionaries in the early 20th century. They typically have clay roof tiles, arcaded porches, arched corridors, square pillars and bell towers, as well as quatrefoil windows that resemble flowers.
Originating in England, the Tudor style is one of the most recognizable home styles. Best known for steeply pitched, multi-gabled roofs and decorative half-timber framing, Tudors were mostly built in established neighborhoods during the first half of the 20th century. The steep-pitched roofs are perfect for rainy and snowy climates, which is why many of these homes can be found in the Midwest and along the East Coast.
Victorian architecture emerged between 1830 and 1910 under the reign of Queen Victoria and include sub-styles such as Gothic revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, stick style, Romanesque style and shingle style. Constructed more for beauty than functionality, Victorian homes tend to be more complex in design with ornate trim, bright colors, large porches, asymmetrical shape and multi-faceted roof lines.
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