Monthly Archives: November 2013

What is a Dutch Colonial “Gambrel” House Style?

What is a Dutch Colonial “Gambrel” House Style?

About a hundred years after American independence there was a resurgence in colonial homes, often called the colonial revival period. Dutch colonials are one of the styles to emerge from this revival and I have to admit, they’re one of my favorites.


These homes typically include a gambrel roof with a double slope on each side of the building giving the look of curved eaves, and often look like what often is called a “barn”. Usually they are faced in wood clapboard or shingles, varying in size and building materials, and most have a symmetrical front facade and a classical wide, open entry portico.

Homes that have chimneys often have them placed at one or the other end, not usually in the center of the home like colonials.

Also, homes with the gambrel facing the street tend to be earlier, dating from 1800- 1900, while those with side-facing gambrels and a broad front dormer tend to date from 1920-1950.

The use of the gambrel roof is showing a resurgence in popularity in 21st century modern home designs, but its primary use today is in barns, due to the limited framing requirements and large resulting interior spaces.

First-time home buyers will find these affordable “starter” houses on smaller lots and in nice neighborhoods. Because of this, their appeal is very high, and their resale (if priced properly) happens quickly.

pinterest-sqFor some great examples of Gambrel Dutch Colonial Style Homes click on the above Pinterest link

What is a Garrison Colonial House Style?

garrisonGarrison Colonials are a distinctive sub-category of the colonial house style, found throughout Metrowest but not very typical for other parts of the country.

The origins of the garrison home can be traced back to England, where this style of house was called a “two-story English overhang” – because the second story overhangs the first.

This style is distinguished by a second story overhanging the long side of the house and below that overhang there are often a set of four decorative carvings such as pineapples or acorns.

Like other colonials, they are very symmetrical, and depending on the creativity of the builder often have the lower level faced with stone or brick while the upper story is always faced with clapboards.

Unlike other colonial styles, they almost always have a single chimney at one end of the house and the windows on the second story are usually smaller than those on the first.

This style of house has been built from colonial times through the 1970’s but are not often built today.

Garrisons are usually very well built, great houses for the mid-range buyers and are often purchased as “mover-upper” homes by second time house buyers as their families outgrow their first homes.


For some great examples of Garrison Colonial 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.


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