As if sorting through the housing listings wasn’t hard enough, there are more than enough styles of homes to pick from. Or not. If style didn’t matter, if we were all the same, then one style will be everyone’s solution. Welcome to the Seattle area where there are dozens of styles, and styles within styles. (By the way, if you want official definitions of these, go check with an architect. This is just something to get you started.) These houses are built to fit an era or a mood.
Get fancy. Steep-pitched roofs with an turret or tower or two, gardens grown more for appearance than produce, and yet maintain a country flair. Chateaus in the country would be the center of luxury, wrapped in ornate gardens, that then transitioned to serious vineyards. Under it all, wine cellars filled with bottles and barrels which supported the grand and intimate soirees above.
Proper, square, and practical. Make the best use of the most space and materials, while also making it look appealing while we try to colonize yet another piece of the planet. The floors stack, minimizing breaks in the walls, using the same footprint to create a house that is easier to build and heat. Decorations come in from shutters, window treatments, and maybe some details in the eaves. It can be a solid and comforting design. Skip the columns unless you want a plantation feel.
Think regal and imperious. There is an empire to build and such homes housed empire builders, which was a local issue on this side of the Atlantic during K. George’s time. Yet, the stature of the architecture remains. Expect multiple floors with a surplus of windows to show off wealth, a veranda for lounging and genteel socializing, and grand balcony from which to command your estate. A manicured, and possibly rolled, lawn is quite appropriate.
Mediterranean / Italianate
Romeo and Juliet at home. Spoiler, so they didn’t get to have their own big house, but they probably lived in houses built and surrounded by stone, brick, and tile, materials that weather a Mediterranean climate well and that can last for generations. Similar climate actually makes this reasonable around the Sound. A low- or no-pitched roof reduces the visual profile. The emphasis is on courtyards, sculptured gardens, and of course, balconies.
Write old with an ‘e’. There are usually a few Tudors on the market today, which is impressive considering the style goes back to the 1400s. With such a long lineage, expect a lot of variations over the centuries: probably a steep roof, maybe with a sweep to its slope as it passes over the front door; maybe a mix of exposed beams framing white plaster or something similar; possibly diamond mullions for windows.
Gingerbread and fiddly-bits. Victorians are a natural for the Puget Sound region. At least around here they take advantage of the plentiful wood we had, which could be carved, turned, and painted to brighten the neighborhood. It is also a style associated with tall ships, harbors, and widow’s walks. Their visual appeal and opportunities for frivolous decor make them a natural for the bed & breakfasts in the area. Now, they watch for returning guests instead of returning sea captains.
Are there more styles? Of course. We have a great supply of romantics. What we don’t have is a great supply of houses for sale, which all of these are. Maybe next time we can describe some of those, if they come onto the market. In the meantime, check our previous house style post for nine other house styles that call Seattle home.