House Styles of New England

What is a Raised Ranch Style Home?

What is a Raised Ranch Style Home?

Raised ranch houses were made popular in the 60’s and 70’s and are a natural progression from ranches. True raised-ranches are very rare in New England, most often they are found in older neighborhoods where there is ledge in the ground and the cost of excavation exceeds the cost/benefit curve.

Realtors often confuse them with  split-levels but there really is a simple way to distinguish one – if you enter the door and are standing on a landing and immediately have to make a decision to go up a half-flight of stairs or down a half-flight of stairs, you are in a split, not a raised ranch. In contrast, in a raised ranch you will go up a full flight of outside stairs or enter at ground level and go up a full flight of inside stairs to get to the main living level.

Upstairs you will find the kitchen, dining, living and bedrooms. Downstairs you will find the family room, utility room, possibly some bedrooms, and the garage.

This style of home is really a clever way to get two-stories of living space within a one story home. However, with all the major living activities such as sleeping and entertaining on the upper floor, older homeowners or people with troubles going up or down stairs will avoid them.

In many towns they are found along rural roads or what were rural roads at the time in clusters of several homes that were built at the same time. Some developers also built them in large tract developments that have evolved into wonderful family neighborhoods. If you can find one, and don’t mind the stairs, a raised ranch might just be your perfect home.

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For some great examples of Raised Ranch Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link
What is a Cape House Style?

What is a Cape House Style?

English colonists, who came to the States in the late 1600’s brought the cape style home with them. Their original designs were adapted to the local climate, family size and natural materials and have become this great 1 to 1.5 story home.

 

Capes are known for their steep roofs with overhangs, square or rectangular shape with door in the center and dormers in the upper story. They also typically will have at least one bedroom on the first floor and a central chimney. Although they are often without outside ornamentation, shutters and wide clapboards or weathered shingles give them their distinctive style.

Many of these homes were built in the early 1900’s. They were popular because they could be built cheaply for young families and added-on, or upstairs finished as the family grew. The garages, if any, were usually detached from the original home, set on the rear of the lot, and as the family grew the house was extended to reach the garage.

Capes are plentiful throughout all of New England, and because of their small size and charm, make some of the best “starter homes” for young families.

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For some great examples of Cape Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link

What is a Multi-Level House Style?

What is a Multi-Level House Style?

The multi level (sometimes called a bi-level) is a wonderful, deliberate house style that modern architects created to group similar living activities, such as sleeping or entertaining, separating the quiet activities from the more boisterous ones.

Legend has it that there were lots of unemployed Architects during the Great Depression and the Works Progress Administration hired loads of them to design a truly “American” style of home and this is what they came up with.

There are generally three or more levels in multi’s and looking at the front of a a typical specimen, it looks to have a line drawn down the middle with a one  story home on one side attached to a two story home on the other. You always enter a multi on the entertaining level and once inside if you travel half-way into the depth of the home you will find a set of integrated up an down stairways (usually containing 6 stairs) that take you half a level up or down to the rest of the house. The lowest level(s) of these homes are devoted to a garage, mechanical, laundry and family rooms; the middle level, which is usually part of the one story section, supports quieter activities and usually contains the kitchen, living and dining rooms; and the topmost level(s), usually in the two story section, support the quietest activities and contain the bedrooms, offices or studies.

In Metrowest, multi level homes generally sell very well. Many have updated kitchens and baths and they are usually sited on mid-sized to larger parcels of land in mature, established neighborhoods. In my opinion there is no good looking/functional way to expand a multi, and I find that most people, when they need more space just sell and move-up to a different house style.  Because of that, multi’s  make good first houses for small families and are usually found in abundance in the entry-level price points for their respective towns/locations.

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For some great examples of Multi-Level Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link
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