House Styles of New England

What is a Ranch House Style?

What is a Ranch House Style?

Many ranch style homes were built in Metrowest in the 50’s and 60’s for the young families of the servicemen returning from WWII.

They were inexpensive to build, could be built on conventional foundations with basements or slabs of solid concrete without basements, and could be mass-produced quickly.


Although there are no “Levittown’s” in New England, there are concentrations of ranches in tract housing developments that still are vibrant, wonderful family neighborhoods today. One of the most famous builders – Campanelli built hundreds of slab ranches, especially in and around Framingham, and they endure in everything from their original form to incredibly updated and expanded forms. There were three models available, with the El Dorado model being the biggest and most sought after.

The styling on ranches is very simple and rectangular in shape and they often have shallow pitched hipped roofs that extend across a single or double car garage or a carport. There is usually a center chimney with fireplace in the living room and picture windows or sliders to a rear patio or screened-in porch. Because all the living space is on one floor, ranch houses are very wide, and often cover the width of their lot. With slabs the heating system is usually in the center of the house and thus can be noisy until you get used to it. When upgrading the kitchen, most owners move the heating plant to the back of the garage area to give more space to the kitchen and to eliminate the nose issue.

In Metrowest, ranch houses are most popular with three bedrooms and two baths and can provide a great value for first time home buyers. They are also very popular with the “downsizing” set because of their inexpensive carrying costs and one-floor living style, ideal for aging owners or their extended families with no stairs to negotiate..


For some great examples of 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.


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

What is a Log House Style?

What is a Log House Style?

Log homes are very rare in the Metrowest Boston area.

Contrary to what TV reenactments lead us to think, there was not enough time for the early settlers to build log homes before the harsh weather of winter settled in, so they lived in wigwams, crude huts and pits covered with boards.


The log homes of today, with what are called “saddle-notches” and layers of whole logs laid horizontally & chinked with “wattle”, were brought to the east coast by way of the Chesapeake bay settlements of Germans and Scandinavians in the mid 1600’s.

Because the first-growth forests in New England tended to be huge and irregular, unlike the young, identically sized, straight-as-an-arrow Lodge pole pines and Douglas firs of the south and west, our early builders tended toward board and batten construction for permanent dwellings and log homes were only built as temporary dwellings on the frontier, crumbling over time.

Modern log homes can be extremely well-built and create a wonderful, rustic sense of place within and around them.

When a log home in the Metrowest area goes up for sale, and this is not often, it has historically generated good return for the seller but taken a very long time to sell.

pinterest-sqFor some great examples of Log Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link
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