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Deciding on home style??

6 years ago

How did you decide what style of home to build? Has it been your favorite forever? Is it just what fit in the neighborhood? Does it match your interior style/floorplan?

Personally, I am most attached to floor plans, but they aren't a particular style. The two exterior styles I love (Victorian and craftsman) are hard to build new and usually match up to smaller separate rooms which I don't want in an interior.

What search terms did you use for finding exteriors to inspire you?

Here in new England it seems like colonial style is used with all sorts of floor plans, do some styles work better than others with a variety of floor plans? Or do you think the interior finishes are more important than the floor plan when it comes to matching interior and exterior styles??

These are my new years musings.. happy new year!!

Comments (38)

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    It's a good question. In the art world, there's an old saying, "Before one can break the rules, one must first know what they are!" Translated to architecture, it might go something like this: "Before one can have a favorite architectural style, one must first know what they are!".

    Styles come and go--some have staying power and some were merely reactions against what preceded them. And then there are all of the made-up titles, which aren't styles at all, i.e., farmhouse modern, traditional contemporary, etc.

    Back before Mr. Carrier invented air conditioning, regional climates had a lot to do with influencing and creating architectural styles--small, compact houses with central replaces in the cold U.S. northeast, rambling, open and raised houses in te humid U.S. south, adobe haceindas in the southwest, etc.

    Today, tract homes have no architectural style at all, just a bunch of exterior and interior "features" borrowed from last year's national builder's convention demonstration homes. There, the rule seems to be "the more the merrier", whether it be exterior stacked gable roof forms, as many siding materials as possible, and on the interior a range of mis-matched finishes, textures and colors.

    A good resolution for 2018? "Less is really more...!"

    Happy New Year everyone! :-)

  • 6 years ago

    Great question. What would you say are the true architectural styles? What are the true interior decorating styles?

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    I brought the lot for the privacy. There will be neighbors on one side but not the other. It is a deep lot so no neighbors even close to being seen behind and across the street there are no homes though i intend to build deeper into the lot and keep a large number of trees in the front. On the street there are 3 bigger craftsman style homes, a couple of smaller ranchers, an old brick cottage with detached guest house, 2 BIG 3 level homes on stilts and a small farm with a barn, veggies and even a couple of goats. I also brought it because it has a community pier and gazebo so I have access to the ICWW. The architectural diversity appealed to me as everything is so cookie cutter in most neighborhoods. I am looking for a home I can live in alone comfortably because I am sure in a few more years neither child will be living with me. I live simply. I don't entertain other than a couple of friends and when we do it is simple tapas food with a glass of wine sitting on the deck or the screen porch. The lot will be kept wooded except for a small area of lawn and plants surrounding the house. I don't need or want a big house and I guess that is why the home I posted above appeals to me, it looks compact and manageable. I do need bedrooms for when the kids and their friends come visit and right now I would like room for the one still at home to have his own space, but achieving that without building big. For example: To be honest most of the styles of homes that I have saved may be considered small (footprint) for the lot. The following would be ideal with the addition of a den/away room, mudroom/laundry, large 3 season room or screen porch and downstairs master bedroom & bathroom.
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  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    There’s a whole lot of No Style shelters being built out there who concentrated on floor plans without understanding that the inside and outside are connected. Avoid Mr Potatohead McMansions with pseudo style tacked on at the last minute.

  • 6 years ago

    Think about HOW you live. When my husband and I first started out, we had it in our heads to go with a Dutch colonial. Then stuff happened. In exploring that variety of home, we found that they tend to be rather formal in nature. Separating out rooms, and usually including a dining room (which we don't need). Making something that would work for our lifestyle started to become less a Dutch colonial than perhaps a hodge podge with a Dutch Colonial-esque facade glued on the front.

    And we went from looking at smaller parcels to buying 10.7 acres. The parcel has a number of features that make it ideal for morphing into the hobby farm we've sort of always talked about.

    Therefore? Farmhouse. But not the House That Pinterest Built, in the "modern farmhouse" gobbledy-gook sense. A more sensible farmhouse.

    Then I found a Swedish tile stove (something I've always wanted). That, and aesthetics, have wound us around into something of a Swedish farmhouse.

    So it went... lifestyle, land, other elements ---> Design style.

  • 6 years ago

    Might be worthwhile to read through ''A Field Guide to American Houses: The Definitive Guide to Identifying and Understanding America's Domestic Architecture'' by Virginia and Lee McAlester.

    Also worth a look -- Russell Versaci's Pennywise house plans:

    Good luck and happy new year!

  • 6 years ago

    I definitely want to avoid the mcmansion style, haha. I prefer simplicity except when it comes to original Victorian and craftsman. Since we will have a budget when it comes to building those styles are pretty much out unfortunately since it takes big $$ and amazing crasftmen to recreate them well.

    Do you go to the architect with a style in mind or let the style come as the design comes? Definiely interested in how others have worked through this!

    Nikki, I saw a cool graphic someone posted here with the main "styles" but can't seem to find it. Personally, I can't tell some of the nuances between some of the styles on the graphic in real life applications. Around here there is a lot of colonial, ranch, salt box, real farmhouse, and split level (hate those, all in 90s+ developments).

  • 6 years ago

    Thank you for those recommendations Becky! I love learning!

  • 6 years ago

    I agree with Virgil Carter Fine Art that the house style is, and should be, regional. Here in the Chicago area, Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style is fairly common, and it fits so well with the flat prairie topography. You wouldn't for example--an exaggerated example--see the southwest style home here. The adobe walls and clay roof shingles wouldn't last one midwestern winter. When I think New England, where you live, I automatically think Julia Child for some reason. Here are pics of her home - love it!

  • 6 years ago

    Do you go to the architect with a style in mind or let the style come as the design comes? Definiely interested in how others have worked through this!

    I'll let the architects here answer this, but just want to mention this (fairly recent) thread which might be useful to you, Engineered House,

    [We fit an architect into our budget and it was SO worth it![(

    The thread includes a link to this blog post about the charette process used by architectrunnerguy,

  • 6 years ago

    My current home is on a tree lined street in the historic area of our city. Most homes are 100 years old. I see many styles on our street. When building a new home in the country on acreage, it was difficult to let go of the characteristics I've come to love - beautiful picture molding trim, original solid doors and glass doorknobs, beautiful perfectly imperfect old hardwood floors, etc.

    Some things just don't seem as appropriate in a farmhouse - by farmhouse, I mean a house on a farm - complete with cows grazing in the front yard, pond, etc.

    To answer the OP question, I chose my plan based on things I see on southern houses in the country - porches, white siding, windows with a view... I wanted the house to be pretty from all angles.

    I read some comments on here and there's definitely a negative feel for "farmhouse" so there's my struggle. I want to embrace the setting while not falling into trendy decisions that I might regret 10 years from now. What would you say is timeless, southern house on a farm?

  • 6 years ago
    It seems though, that by many of the comments here (and many other threads), there can be no NEW architectural styles......that we must build a home closely copying specific architecture from the past. There is much disdain for the current trends (farmhouse, industrial, etc.). I am not criticizing the disdain, nor the love of the trends, just asking the question.....can’t there ever be a new architectural style that is different from the past, or one that even borrows certain elements? Do we have to be stuck with only what has come before?

    This is not a criticism, but an honest question.
  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I think the negative feel is not a for a farmhouse per se(especially as they all are different depending on where they stand..there's no one farmhouse), but for a farmhouse that's some imaginary farmhouse with no farm, some stereotype that might belong or not, and that people get enchanted with and want regardless where they are and what makes sense.

    Otherwise what's not to can always find between farmhouses the one that speaks to him:)

    As for the original question-first, I know what's been my favorite forever. Second, I expose myself, travel, read, whatever, and find out what are my other seems the more I live the more styles I love:) Third, but can be first since is very important of course-location, as mentioned by everybody. I'm drawn to locations though where my favorite style will belong. Because that's how I came to love the style in the first place. I got attached to a certain location. You love the whole-you start loving the elements.

    But if I find myself in a place where this style will look plainly weird-(and suddenly decide to build a house there lol)-I'd never sacrifice the general aesthetics of the house(the best ones look like they were born where they stand) for my own preferences.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hmmm, I don't have a negative connotation to "farmhouse" at all. It's the bastardization of the term by things like the "modern farmhouse" trend that annoy me.

    I've been in many an old farmhouse with hardwood floors, heavy doors, and glass doorknobs. So don't think that you have to let those go for a "farmhouse" to feel authentic.

    Rather, dig into what "farm house" means in your neck of the woods. In mine, that is usually Greek Revival, Four Square, or rarely an Italianate model. This will vary based on geography. Virgil is usually good for digging up examples. Also, try Gil Schafer's new book "A Place to Call Home: Tradition, Style, and the Memory of the New American Home."

    I think you're in a similar place to where I am - not geographically, but wanting something that looks and feels appropriate to its setting. And yet not having the budget for a truly authentic "New Old House" build. It's worth getting some of both Versacci and Schafer's books from the library, as well as some of the others mentioned above. Both Old House Journal and New Old House magazine can also be helpful in educating your eye about different styles. The latter is sort of a "special interest" publication that seems to show up a bit sporadically. Supposedly quarterly, but I find this a little intermittent. Both are worth following on Facebook, if you FB, for the eye candy, if nothing else.

    Oh, and was this the graphic? (Clicky for the big version)

    ETA: I lied - big version here.

  • 6 years ago

    Personally, I love the late nineteenth century Italianate design, but that wouldn't look right in the desert of Southern Utah LOL. My husband loves Craftsman style, but not the new bungalow craftsman style that is popular with the tapered columns and shingles in the gables. He likes the real deal craftsman style that was all over the place where we grew up in So Cal. These houses had exposed rafter tails, lots of natural materials, triple windows, low pitched roofs, big beams holding up the roof over the porches, wood siding and beautiful built-ins inside. Lots of these houses are two story. Initially, that is the style we were aiming for.

    However, we are building a one story and because of snow loads, we needed to have a higher pitched roof and the eaves needed to be boxed in. Alas, there went the exposed rafter tails and the low slung roof which I feel are essential for a craftsman style home. We thought about putting the tapered columns on the porch and adding knee braces here and there, but to me it just looked weird.

    So we are ending up with a simple post WWII traditional ranch style with the big picture window in front. We both are pretty happy with how it is turning out. I realized the other day that our house looks very, very, similar to the little ranch houses that we both grew up in. I guess we are entering our second childhood :-)

  • 6 years ago

    It can be new architectural styles but takes more to develop really new style than just labeling something as such. Nothing's really new about now-new. It's elements, it's not a new concept at all or distinctly different architecture or something.

    Real new will usually have many factors going into ideas expressed as a reaction to many things happenning in the world, or/and new technological possibilities.

    And many people won't like them right away either, takes time to adjust if the concept's drastically different

    Granted I'm not a big specialist ..I read this discussion with great interest and learn a lot too.

  • 6 years ago

    I don't think there can't BE a new architectural style, just that there hasn't been one for a while. I suppose one could consider the "new traditionals" on the graphic I posted sort of Revival-revival styles. And each of those admits in its name that it is leaning on what went before. However, you can point out features of those styles that are not color and interior finishes.

    The problem with "modern farmhouse" is that it's not a style that you can conjure to mind just from the name. It's taking a desired floorplan, slapping a white board and batten exterior and black windows onto it, and then using decor to define whatever "style" is there. But paint it another color, remove the shiplap, and what do you have? No one could guess.

    And "traditional contemporary" just gives me a headache, unless someone is building a replica of Disney's Contemporary Resort as it originally was, to live in.

    Then again, there are those of use who want "what the neighbors have, but a little nicer." And there are those of us who want something all our own.

  • 6 years ago

    Nikki, it helps tremendously to separate the "modern farmhouse" interior design style (and I'm using style loosely here), recently popularized by Barn Light Electric, Joanna Gaines/Fixer Upper and Pinterest, from the various architectural styles used for houses on farms in your part of the country 100 years ago. Farmhouse/farm house isn't an architectural style, and I say this as someone living in a western Canadian farm house, which is a 60-year-old bungalow.

    In this part of rural western Canada, and especially those in the eastern part of the country, older houses on farms do have such details as picture molding trim, original solid doors, glass or elaborate brass doorknobs, and hardwood floors. Other fairly common features included 10-foot ceilings, stained glass windows, and chandeliers; the mail-order houses as a rule had some of the most modern, up-to-date plumbing and heating of new houses in the area.

    One Saskatchewan farmer and author (he wrote a history of the Eaton mail order houses about 10 years ago) remembered his family's house in an article the other year:

    "a large 2-½ storey square house much like many of the catalogue houses of that era. Ours was built in 1917 — hot and cold running water, flush toilet, electric lights. ... It also boasted central hot water heating with a big coal and wood furnace in the basement and cast iron registers in each room." He goes on to explain, "The total bill for the house was $5,000 CAN, a princely sum in those days. But wheat was $30/bu. (in 2015 dollars) so it was no trouble to pay for such luxury."

    For reference, the current price of wheat (in Canada) is about $6 CAN a bushel.

  • 6 years ago

    It seems though, that by many of the comments here (and many other threads), there can be no NEW architectural styles......that we must build a home closely copying specific architecture from the past.

    nidnay, the original poster wrote, "The two exterior styles I love (Victorian and craftsman)". Which is what the various replies, including mine, were based on.

  • 6 years ago
    Please read on the as a starting point of what not to do.
  • 6 years ago

    we looked at our furnishings and knew we didn't want to replace a lot of it and went with a style that matched was a very good decision for us.....

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    In general, these discussions frustrate me a little because there is a lot of puritanical thought in architecture, whereby if it isn’t exactly emulating some older style it must be junk. This seems to be in response to the McMansion explosion, where homes lost their scale, sense of place, and some of their livability to trade off for size and glitz. But it’s a bit like tossing the baby out with the bath water. A home need not emulate a historical norm to be a good home. Nobody on here is precisely saying that, but it gets implied more than a little.

    What I personally think is good to remember is that a house must first be useful, then beautiful. Never trade off the first for the second, and don’t sacrifice either if a compromise can be reached.

    Now, for me, my favorite go to styles are craftsman bungalows (raised in an area with a gazillion of them), modern coastal hillside homes (lived in the Pacific {far far north} Northwest) and New England farmhouses, especially those that are Victorian to Golden Age, before the Great Depression. But none of those are things that make sense for how my family needs to live or where we personally live - we are now in the Midwest and are inundated with white farmhouses and brick ranches and side splits.

    I am struggling mightily to get what I really want to live in (a home with some traditional shapes in the design but cleaner, simpler lines and a comfortable mishmash of styles that represents my family and our personal history). I *am* drawn to a lot of the lines of farmhouses and craftsmans, with lots of texture and warmth but not the busyness or singleminded devotion to either. And the lot we are looking at is on a steep hillside, which lends itself to the more modern aesthetic we also favor.

    To strike that balance we will we will be designing, with an architect consulting, to find a style that isn’t craftsman or gabled farmhouse or sleek coastal mansion but a mix of all of those that is *us* and *home*. We want to have it be very very functional, human scaled, easy to maintain, durable, and evoke the traditional house forms we love without slavishly reproducing them.

    Doing this right will not be easy - it will most definitely take everything my husband has in him for actual management and calculations of the design (he’s a PE/SE) plus all the skills of an excellent, responsive, flexible architect to give us the inspiration and marry the way we live with the aesthetic we have never quite seen anyone else achieve. And on a real world budget.

    It’s going to be a huge task. But I hope when it is finally done we will have a home that nobody points to and says “oh that’s ____ style”. I hope they look at the home and lot and how they fit together, before proclaiming them beautiful. Even if you can’t name the style out of the field guide ;)

  • 6 years ago
    When working with our designer we showed her images of homes that had elements we liked and we described our family and our needs. She then pulled what was important from what we said and started pLanning. After several drafts and back and forth we got a design that worked on our lot, in theory fits our budget, and meets our needs. It’s not one particular style or way but I feel like is what we want so am happy.
  • PRO
    6 years ago

    I would never choose form over function OR function over form! A house MUST have BOTH and both ARE possible!

    I hate to see a mishmash of styles all in one house. To me, it's sort of like wearing wingtip brogues with an evening gown - both are lovely, just not together. There are so many variations of just about all styles, that surely one can find something one wants without having to take a bit of this, a dash of that.

    I live in a 1 1/2 story traditional house. It has one more gable than necessary and the gutter of that gable is a pain when leaves come down. If I send my yard man up on a ladder, he will put a dent in my new gutters - I don't have a "roofer's ladder", nor money to buy one, nor room to store one. So, I wait for a really heavy rain and hope the last of them come down before they're frozen there for the winter. It's not a house style I would ever have built, but when one is moving from CA to KY and has one weekend in which to buy a house, it's April and most people put their houses up for sale AFTER Derby, one takes the best of what is available. This one worked for me. But it's not what I would build.

    "Farmhouse" style has gotten a bad name as what is being built is about as far from resembling a farmhouse as it is a hacienda. And as others have said, farmhouses vary tremendously depending on the part of the country. My grandparents lived in a farmhouse style house in a tiny town in southwest Missouri. It probably had it's roots firmly planted in a scaled back Victorian, as that's what the others are on this street. Less money, fewer frills, but Victorian in its inspiration.

    But a farmhouse in rural Maine will look like a 2-3 story traditional colonial house, only it will be attached at the back to the barn. No one wanted Dad lost in the snow until the spring thaw! So barns were always attached with a long one story corridor. Such houses look quite grand an imposing from the outside but when one goes inside, one quickly realizes this is a farmhouse. No fancy moldings/trims, no front parlor, no formal dining room, but an enormous kitchen with a table big enough to feed at least a dozen people as workers on the farm where usually housed upstairs where in a grander house, there would have been servant's rooms, and they were fed three meals a day, thus the huge kitchen. The town in which we lived had a main street with many such houses, and the back all faced down to a river and a flood plain, and in the distance, the Mt Washington Mtns. Gorgeous, spectacular views, but in Maine the only view from the house in back was of the barn! Mainers didn't go in much for views - if one wants to see it, go outside!

    In Georgia, one sees some pretty gorgeous Greek Revival farmhouses. As has been said, it so depends on the part of the country, But they were nearly all white or yellow, and they did not have black windows, often no shutters, and if there were dormers, they were real - no Disney involved.

    Obviously, people in the US are free to build pretty much what they want unless harnessed by a historic district or a HOA. Unfortunately, that often means a mishmash.

  • 6 years ago

    a lot of puritanical thought in architecture, whereby if it isn’t exactly emulating some older style it must be junk

    I'm interested in design but am not an architect or designer, and while I do prefer more traditional/classical styles of buildings to more m(M)odern styles, I would have to say that my overarching preference is always for good design -- meaning I'd much prefer a well-designed modern/new house to a poorly-designed older one. In both architecture and design, good design means adhering to the basic principles of balance, mass, proportion, the golden mean, and so on. These are basic principles for a reason, and buildings designed in accord with them are pleasing to the eye and to inhabit.

    To me at least, it seems that in the last 70 years, with the advent of mass production in all things, a general understanding of and appreciation for the basic principles of design seem to have gone out the window. So much of "small m" modern architecture has been "designed", or I suppose constructed, with little consideration for those principles, that when faced with some neighborhoods in North America, the older buildings dating from a time when these principles were respected and honored are head and shoulders above the newer buildings built without any respect to the form.

    I'm not sure where or when the trend to disregard these principles took root, if it came out of the mass production/rapid construction of housing after WWII, or something else -- I'd be very interested to hear what Virgil and others have to say about this. And then, much like those who with a diet almost entirely of processed and fast food, the palate becomes much less discerning. Which reminds me a quote from UK (fabric) designer Peter Dunham: "I see a lot of people in the States, who basically want to live in a hotel or have the look of a hotel. I think this comes because, and this is a really snobbish thing to say, the American experience is much more limited. I mean compared to England, where there is always kind of a fancy house in the country near where you grew up, even if you grew up in a little village. In Europe, at one point or another, you are exposed to these palettes and you see the pinnacle of the amazing beautiful chateaus in France or the great country houses in England. Whereas I grew up thinking my inspiration is Lord and Lady something-or-other, who had an incredible house with incredible colors and beautiful paintings and furniture and it was all mixed together, and it was kind of roses and 17th-century Chinese porcelain. A lot of people here want what they last saw at the Four Seasons Hotel."

  • 6 years ago

    Loving this discussion!!! Thank you all for participating!!! So glad I asked this here.

  • 6 years ago

    Nidnay & Dsnine, excellent points.

    Virgil, you must start listening to Bob, there is much to learn from him. When you get into a new car with safety, airbags, legroom, room for 7, great MPG, bluetooth, and navigation, that it is a travesty...that just because it doesn't look like a 41 model T or a classic old pick up truck there must not have been a qualified vehicle architect/designer involved.

    There is a very strong current from the architectural crowd on here to keep everything neatly organized into what is acceptable and what is an awful displayt at trying to color outside the lines by building something that doesn't fit into the quintessential template. As stated above, lets all throw the mcmansion nightmare into a bonfire for good. Makes no sense to keep referencing that so often. Everyone agrees they were a failure on many levels.

    But now it seems a select few are clumping the modern farmhouse into the trash heap at every opportunity. Whats wrong with the modern farmhouse having an elastic design? It is fun, it is american, it is gorgeous. It's like the apple pie from 1776, but with a little more flare than just granny smiths...throw in some empires, fujis, jona golds, and cosmic crisp.

  • 6 years ago

    Modern “farmhouses” look ridiculous in McMansion neighborhoods or other forms of suburban sprawl. From my perspective “modern farmhouse” in the suburbs is as ridiculous as a French Chateaux in Texas.

  • 6 years ago

    I'm not even sure where to start...

    I love many architecture styles and could be happy in many of them. But I've always loved brick colonials and so has my husband. So that was easy for deciding the exterior design.

    But even though I'm going with brick colonial on the exterior does not mean it will be 100% Colonial Williamsburg and we'll have an outhouse and cook over the fireplace. It will be a transitional 'design' on the inside, with modern comforts like indoor plumbing, central air, and an ice maker in the fridge. But I do not want anyone to enter my home and feel like Frank Gehry was my architect- too dichotomous.

    I live in the midwest and my sister lives on a farm, with a true 3 generations farm house. But that would be weird on my infill site. So while geographically it might make sense, it doesn't on my specific lot.

  • 6 years ago

    It’s not the architectural crowd on here discussing architectural design principles. It’s all of those who abide by the principles of architecture, which does include some drafters and builders as well as interested homeowners. Just as we all abide by the principles of botany and horticulture, even the law, when we talk about Granny Smith, Empire, Fuji, Jonagold, and Cosmic Crisp. Insisting that “modern farmhouse” is an architectural style and not a design trend is akin to insisting that any apple in someone’s backyard that looks like an Empire or a Cosmic Crisp is an Empire or a Cosmic Crisp. When the Empire is a clonally-propagated cultivar of apple derived from a seed grown in 1945, grown and tested until 1966 when when the final version was released to the public at a NY Fruit Testing Association meetings.

    And the Cosmic Crisp, or rather Cosmic Crisp®, is a particular cross (Enterprise x Honeycrisp) after 20 years of testing now trademarked and patented under the name WA 38 by the Washington State University Office of Commercialization. Who can grow the trademarked and patented apples and trees s strictly concerned -- in 2017, the first WA 38 trees were released only to those Washington State growers who appeared on Washington Apple Commission assessment records, had a federal EIN, and were selected in a random drawing conducted by WSU; and for the next 10 years, the Cosmic Crisp® will be able to be grown only by Washington State farmers. The name of the apple itself wasn’t natural or random or organic but the result of statewide focus groups, co-ordinated with trademark and patent plans. For better or worse, this new fragmented approach of the apple industry is becoming the norm, with growers moving away from standard varieties in the hope of getting premium prices of licensed niche apples. And when all is said and done, the Cosmic Crisp® is getting the big push -- all the money and research and legal resources -- not because it has an amazing new flavor, but simply because it is slow to brown and so can be sold sliced. The head of the standards committee for the Cosmic Crisp® has in fact stated, "We think there’s a lot of potential there. It gives us an economic driver, a home for a lower quality apple". Well then.

    So we should consider ourselves lucky that the architectural crowd here is just trying to ensure that we all speak a common language (in order to better understand each other), adhere to time-tested harmonious and pleasing ratios, choose styles that suits our various sites, make sure that the interior of the built suits the exterior, and end up with well-designed houses for ourselves and our families, rather than making sure, like the apple crowd, that those interested in building houses build a trademarked and patented Victorian® or Mid-Century Modern® to industry specifications only after completing assessment records and winning a random draw : ) . Because, in the end, we can all build whatever we want. But most people end up in this forum because they've identified some sort of problem with their plans, whether or not they can put their finger on it (and often they can't -- they just realize that there's something off). And the professionals and talented amateurs here, for the umpteenth time in a month, will give their advice, often in an unflinchingly honest and blunt form, not just because umpteenth, but because the house building process is expensive and time consuming, and they’re hoping to save people time, money, and energy toward building the best possible house.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My point that good design centers on concepts of design, scale, flow, and place.

    Losing that is a problem. One which is compounded further by making personal stylistic preference into insulting what other people like WITHOUT communicating why something does or doesn’t work. When it devolves in something being too ‘HGTV’ or ‘boo modern farmhouse’, it fails to actually communicate the issue and just offends.

    The best and most helpful people on here aren’t the ones who criticize, one-liner, and badger others into submission so much as those who explain the why. And they’re measured enough to be pithy WITHOUT slamming every design that doesn’t pass their personal test of quality. It’s the difference between a pontificator and a teacher. This is a great forum but it has flaws too, and certainly has entrenched biases at a given time. That’s human nature, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to address them when they pop up either.

    Some of those modern farmhouses are junk. Some are glorious bastions of good taste and functionality. Some of those old/new homes look good but don’t live well compared to a tract home with a better floor plan for the person who bought it. The etiology of the home really isn’t as important as the guiding principles and concepts that the home does (or doesn’t!) follow.

  • 6 years ago

    Well I'm not a pro..I think: every great design will be somewhat elastic since the house should sit best on a specific will be flexible because of the settings, first and will reflect needs and tastes of a homeowner too..will reflect many things..thus some flexibility is actually an essential part of a good's not coloring beyond the lines, it's coloring pretty much within the lines, within the lines of the main thought on what good design is.

    Good design will have something about it that will always make sense and be pleasing. Then you won't hear "arches are out!" twenty years after they apparently were "in". They're out because they didn't belong where they were put in the first place. When they belong, they're not out. Etcetera.

    How to know what belongs where? Well extensive decorative woodwork on exterior looks a bit strange where trees don't grow much..:)

    There's a reason, idea, concept, inner rhytm to every style out there. There's authenticity in it. Even when it's borrowing-and of course as people travel they get inspired and they borrow. But there's a difference in how things are borrowed too, and how one interprets them in a new setting.

    Like in an essay-most likely anything you can think to write about, was written about. By someone, somewhere. It's how you handle it makes it for a bad essay or good essay, your inspiration, your skill in translating your feelings, developing your thoughts, your concept, your authenticity.

  • 6 years ago

    I had the same problem. I started by looking at all of the house plans website on google. I have narrowed down my style and will take a basic floor plan and look to our architect and make it our own. I do like the modern farmhouse look but I agree it has to be built in the right atmosphere. We are building on 12 acres with wooded areas around the house. If I were to build in a neighborhood I would not go with this style.

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    In both architecture and design, good design means adhering to the
    basic principles of balance, mass, proportion, the golden mean, and so
    on. These are basic principles for a reason, and buildings designed in
    accord with them are pleasing to the eye and to inhabit.

    Vitra Design Museum, Frank Gehry.

    Not to the deconstructivists, whose designs dominate on the institutional side. Typical homeowners simply can't afford the materials, workmanship and engineering to support the deconstructivist vision. (Let alone adapt or exempt them from simpleminded building codes.)


    Given an appropriate budget, I'd reproduce some of the buildings I grew up with, particularly the Richardsonian Romanesque monuments that I remember from my stay in the Toledo State Hospital in the mid-'50s.

    Demolished in the 1990s.

    FWIW, I've spec built a number of Neo-eclectics while attempting to avoid the worst excesses of the style.

  • PRO
    6 years ago

    Romanesque...a lost art...sadly!

  • 6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Do you go to the architect with a style in mind or let the style come as the design comes?

    I, personally, decided to pick a style first.

    The first thing I'm going to see when I drive up is the exterior, and since I want the house to invoke a certain emotional response before I even walk through the door, I felt it was important to assign priority to style. This has a lot to do with being surrounded by a bunch of "no-style" suburban houses and naturally being cursed with a personality that is drawn to things I find exotic or different, lol.

    Choosing a style also helps to narrow down architects -- I want someone who knows how to apply the appropriate details to the house *as well as* someone who will have fun designing my home and pour their heart into it. A passion for modern design won't translate into the same kind of "new old house" that a passion for historical design would. Even if I couldn't tell the difference in the finished house itself, the architect would *feel* a difference, and I want him (or her) to be just as excited about my house as I am.

  • 6 years ago

    When we sat down to start on our house plans with the architect, we did not have a particular style in mind. We had specific requests for the interior, based on land views and our personal functionality preferences. We let the interior design dictate some of the exterior.
    We are building on an old 30 acre farm, overlooking a 2 acre pond and a wooded area where you can see deer walking through the yard. (Side note -- I really can't wait for my two baby boys to grow up there!)
    So, naturally I felt like our house would lean towards the farm house style, as we need the home to function like a traditional, old school farm house. For reasons like ---- The ability to go outside and check on chickens, go hunting in the woods, etc. and be able to hose off boots by the back porch with easy access into the main parts of the house.
    BUT, where we live we are surrounded by Acadian style homes (which is common all throughout Louisiana) with a few "modern" French Country style homes. (They're not traditional French Country... but I'm not really sure what to call them.) I've never seen a traditional-looking, white farm house in this area! So we don't want to stick out like a sore thumb.
    We're actually going to do a conglomeration of the two... it will function like a farmhouse and will have Acadian style features. (Instead of white siding, we'll have brick with wood accents. Instead of a full front porch, we'll have a smaller porch by the front door. etc.)

    Sure, we may be breaking some rules. But, as long as YOU love it... WHO CARES?!