I took Renovator8's suggestion to buy the book Get Your House Right, and have devoured it. It has convinced me that a coherent, particular style is preferable to a random mishmash of features which have in part produced the McMansion phenomenon.
I question what style my house could be. We are building (to be near a good school and in a nice neighborhood) in housing tract. The covenants require stone or brick wainscoting (if that is the right term) approximately half way up the front, and then either stucco or vinyl siding. An example of the type of house nearby is the first image below. We are building a 2 story house with a front porch, such as the second image below.
My question: is there a single style which we can use which will not require significant changes to our floorplan or porch, complies with the covenants requiring stone or brick, and will not stand out tremendously in our neighborhood?
Thanks for any thoughts you have!
Example of style of nearby houses:
General shape of our house (except we will have a front-loading garage):