Key Highlights:
– How to identify 9 different common home styles
– History of each home style
– Where each home style is most prevalent 

Picture this, you’re driving through Los Angeles looking at homes and you find one that is absolutely stunning, you love the exterior design but are not sure what it’s called. Everyone prefers a certain home style but rarely do people know what the style is called. Now, home style isn’t typically a high priority for buyers compared to other features or attributes of functionality that a home must have. It never hurts to be able to properly recognize and identify common home styles though.

Here is a cheat sheet of the 9 most common home architecture styles and history behind the styles, as we know that Los Angeles Homes are vastly different depending on the areas that you visit.


1. Craftsman

Defining Features: Architect and furniture designer Gustav Stickley, is credited with creating the Craftsman (also known as Bungalow) style home during the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Stickley said this style of home is “a house reduced to it’s simplest form – it’s low, broad proportions and absolute lack of ornamentation gives it a character so natural and unaffected that it seems to blend with any landscape.”

Craftsman style homes are known for their overhanging eaves, a low gabled roof, expansive front porches and tapered columns. The home exterior is often made of a mix of wood, stucco, and stone, giving it a natural, understated look. The home interior often has an open floor plan complete with built-in furniture, Such as bookshelves, fireplaces and exposed wood beams.

Where is this style most popular? Craftsman style homes are consistently one of the most popular home styles no matter what region you’re in, but they get the most attention in the Midwest. In Los Angeles, you’ll find these homes around Mid-City, Culver City, Mar Vista, and parts of Santa Monica.


2. Tudor

Defining Features: Just like the Cape Code style home, Tudor style homes find their origins in England. Tudors are often two-stories and feature multiple multi-gabled roofs and timber framing. The exterior is made of brick or stone, and the home features large, gorgeous casement windows and sturdy chimneys.

This style saw its heyday in the 1920s and 30s, but it remains a mainstay in many historical neighborhoods across the United States.

Where is the Tudor style most popular? This style home is the most popular in the Northeast since its built to withstand harsh winter weather with ease. In Los Angeles you’ll find these homes in Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Westwood.


3. Cape Cod

Defining Features: The Cape Cod style is based on the thatched cottages of England and originated with the colonialists of the early 1600s. This style of home is known for a wide, sturdy chimney, steep roofs and shutter windows – perfect for combating harsh Northeastern winters.

Cape Cod style homes are often one story, and the exteriors are often made of clapboard or brick.

Where is Cape Cod most popular? The Northeastern, New England region. In Los Angeles you’ll find these homes in Hollywood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood and West LA.


4. Shotgun

Defining Features: It’s said that this style of home got its unique name from the fact that you could stand in the doorway and shoot a bullet through the backdoor. Shotgun homes are slim and rectangular, and the rooms lead straight from one room to another until you reach the back of the home. Shotgun homes usually, have a front porch and can be spruced up on the outside with brightly colored paint and ornamental decorations.

This style of home was popular in the early 1900s due to the low cost and quick construction times.

Where is the Shotgun style most popular? This home is mostly seen in the Southern United States, specifically New Orleans where residents took the homes to another level with bright paint, highly stylized window and door ornaments and other striking decorative features. In Los Angeles, this home style isn’t too popular.

5. Art Deco

Defining Features: Art Deco gained its popularity in the 1930s and reflected the modern, glamourous “Old Hollywood” feel of the time. The Art Deco style is known for its flat roof, stucco walls, geometric details and bright pops of color.

This style is mainly used for commercial buildings but you’ll be able to find homes that feature this style.

Where is Art Deco style most popular? Miami, specifically South Beach is known for its Art Deco themed buildings and homes. In Los Angeles you’ll find most commercial properties featuring this style.

6. Victorian

Defining Features: Victorian-style homes began their regin during the mid-1800s when Queen Victoria took the throne in England. These homes are usually two or three stories high and are known for elaborate brackets, spindles and patterned shingles. These homes also feature large porches, multiple wings, bays and towers.

Where is the Victorian style most popular? Victorian homes can be found just about anywhere but cities like San Francisco and New Orleans are most famous for the amount of well kept historical Victorian homes. In Los Angeles these homes are scattered around from Santa Monica to Hollywood.


7. Mediterranean

Defining Features: This style of home is modeled after the “hacienda style” that originated in Central and Latin America. They also pull influences from Italian, Spanish and Greek architecture. Most Mediterranean style homes have red tiles with plastered exteriors and feature lush terraces, porticos, balconies and arches.

Where is Mediterranean style most popular? In California and Florida, where the weather most mirrors the climate of the Mediterranean. In Los Angeles, you’ll find these homes in Hollywood, Mid-City, Santa Monica, and Culver City.


8. Ranch

Defining Features: This style is often assoiated with being the “quintessential” American home – it’s open and wide floor plan, attached garage and easy-to-access one story layout made it the most popular style in the 40s and 50s as American families began moving out to the suburbs. Ranch-style homes have pitched roofs, wood or brick exteriors, and sliding doors that lead to large backyard spaces.

These homes are often shaped like L’s or U’s.

Where are Ranch homes most popular? Ranch style homes are plentiful in the West, and more specifically California, hence why they’re also called California Ranch style homes.


9. Contemporary

Defining Features: Architects vary on how they define contemporary homes – some say it simply refers to the current building style that favors energy efficiency, sustainable building materials, and blended living spaces.

Others say it refers to a building style that was popular from the 1950s to 70s. This version of the Contemporary style is known for tall windows, funky exteriors that had a medley of stone, brick and wood, and featured exposed outdoor beams.

Where are Contemporary homes most popular? Pretty much everywhere! A lof of new construction homes in Los Angeles are built in this style.

This article is originally featured on by Marian McPherson.
Ashraf Spahi is a Los Angeles based Real Estate Agent that specializes in buying, selling and investing residential properties.