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 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
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.


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