House Styles of New England

What is a Bungalow House Style?

What is a Bungalow House Style?

Bungalows are some of the most common homes found in older neighborhoods of New England, often near lakes and rivers. These homes became very popular from the 1910’s to the 1930 ‘s and are still popular as “starter” homes in the lowest price range in their towns.

These homes are generally narrow but deep homes often with detached or no garages. This is usually a function of their small lot size, with many of them on lots less than ¼ acre.

Bungalows are almost always one story but sometimes 1-½ stories high, and when located on lakefronts with steep banks they often have walk-out basements with glass-enclosed family rooms in the lower level. These homes also usually have a small porch with square columns set on footings. The porches are often enclosed with screens to keep the bugs away on the summer nights and the crawlspace underneath the porch is used for seasonal storage of outdoor furniture and equipment.

The majority of original bungalows were built as “camps” or “summer” homes and have been “winterized” and fitted with central heating and all the fixings that support year-round living.

They can be very charming from the outside and Realtors often use descriptors such as “cute” or “cozy”. In addition, the interiors reflect an earlier time when leisure and a slower pace of life were embraced by a whole generation.

my pinterest boardsFor some great examples of Bungalow Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link

What is a Contemporary House Style?

What is a Contemporary House Style?

Even though they are not “contemporary” to anyone who is living in the 21st century, the name contemporary most often represents the mid-century modern house style that can be found in small pockets throughout Metrowest. In my opinion, they look best when they come with commanding views such as when sited on hilltops or near the water.

Perhaps the most famous of all contemporary homes is the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and his famous “Falling Waters” house in western Pennsylvania.  There are no homes designed by him in Metrowest, but there are quite a few that show inspiration from his use of native materials, combining inside and outside spaces into one and design simplicity.

Builders and buyers liked the clean lines and contemporary styling and the great use of space associated with these multi-level homes, and built them here primarily in the 1960’s and 1970’s although they are still built today. There is no exact defining set of elements, almost all of these homes are architect-designed and can range from minimalist to deconstructionist to Bauhaus to A-Frame styles

Some of the common characteristics are: garage placement on the front of the home to cut building costs: shallow, pitched roofs that often extend from a higher level down over the lower level: simple, linear rooms that are cost effective to build and often attempt to “bring nature inside”; windows that are very large and sometimes trapezoidal following the roof pitch in gables; and exterior finishes that are a mix of natural materials like wood, brick, or rock combined with Texture-111 and cedar board-and-batten vertical siding.

Because split-levels, raised ranches and multi-levels are sometimes considered less desirable than many other house styles, realtors often label those three styles as a “contemporary”. So a word to the wise, if you find a contemporary on the listing services or one of the real estate portals and it’s living area is less than 2000 square feet, it probably has some kind of feature that with a little hyperbole could be considered to make it a contemporary, but it’s usually a split.

Contemporary homes appeal to a limited buyer pool in Metrowest (unlike colonials) so because of this their market value is usually lower than similarly sized more traditional house styles. Also because the pool of buyers is smaller their time on market is usually longer. However, if you like them (and I do), there is a diverse assortment of terrific contemporaries available in the Metrowest market.


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



What is a Victorian House Style?

What is a Victorian House Style?

Victorian style developed and was quite popular from the end of the civil war to the early 1920’s. These homes are usually grand in scale, and most commonly two or more stories high with steep roof pitches, turrets and dormers. Porches are often large with turned posts and decorative railings. Decorative gable trim, corbels, and a variation of exterior finishes with multiple coordinated colors make them one of the most enjoyed house styles of all times.


In New England, as most everywhere in the country, there are really two distinct types of Victorians – Queen Anne and Second Empire.

Queen Anne is a completely playful style, who’s distinguishing features are: bold paint color combinations, curved towers and porches, protruding bay windows, asymmetrical facades with bays, towers, overhangs, wall projections and a variety of textures, steeply pitched roofs, vertical windows, embellished porches on multiple levels, and multiple chimneys with elaborate gingerbread woodwork and decorative brickwork.

Second Empire (adapted from French architecture and named for the reign of Napoleon III)is a more stately style, who’s distinguishing features are: big and boxy forms with straight or flared mansard roofs tiled with slate in “fish-scale” patterns, symmetrical facades, and heavy ornamentation such as gingerbread trim. As a side note, if you’ve ever been to Disneyland, “Main Street” is a typical 1800’s small town done in this style.


Because of the Victorian style’s timeless appeal, many people seek these types of homes in good condition for restoration and many can be found on the historical register.

Also because of their huge size and large maintenance bills, many have been carved-up into delightful condominiums which command premium prices and seldom last long on the market.


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


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


%d bloggers like this: