June 5, 2015

Some (David and best friend Elysia) have brought the charge against me that I am too particular on home exteriors. Other things should be prioritized. Or at least that (especially for a 10 year home) I do not have to love a listing’s curb appeal or attempt to do major exterior renovations. Lots of debate and discussion and googling has been done lately regarding them.

David and I have been helped by looking at (relatively) smaller exterior projects and other people’s before and afters. This helps with house shopping because if we see a house with a bad exterior, we know some tricks that could prevent ruling it out. We are obsessed with this one.

Before and After

Are you not screaming? And the changes they made are really not much (again, for an exterior). They painted everything and made the porch smaller. They also added some architectural details (some I care for, some I would skip). I would have made that horizontal white beam the same gray and had the first floor windows be symmetrical, but still I think they did an impressive, creative job. We saw this and felt so inspired. Especially because we see a million houses like the one on the left for sale and they do not really send my heart aflutter.

Also, I have learned that painting homes all white often single-handedly makes me like it way more.

BA 2

You can see a lot of pinteresting has me open minded about what homes could work. But I still have my mental countdown of favorite and least favorite types of homes.

This is how I personally rank the exteriors (common to our region) from favorite to least. I must note that if you have a house I gave a criticism of and you love it, more power to you and just blow me off as some weird girl with a keyboard.

big colonial small colonial


I love the timelessness of this style. The first one is my “dream house,” but the second one is a realistic application that I would love to live in all my days.

Colonial homes are characterized by a rectangular, symmetrical facade, two story, brick or wood siding, and simple detailing.

cape cod


The more cottage-y the better for me and a Cape Cod. They are very sweet and quaint and I see lots of good ones for sale if you do not mind usually smaller square footage.

Cape Cod homes are characterized by a low broad frame, steep roof, chimney, and one and a half stories. A white fence is sort of a must too.



We imagine a farmhouse in the country where you can look out your window and not see anyone else’s house. David would be all over the homestead lifestyle and would probably not shirk away from raising any animal I would be willing to give the okay on.

Farmhouses are characterized by large or wrap around porches, detached barns, symmetrical profiles, and shuttered windows.



These are totally great, but I think it is unlikely to find one built in the last 60 or so years.

Victorian homes are characterized by a square, symmetrical shape, brackets under eaves, and porches with spindlework trim.



I read in HGTV magazine that this is most people’s favorite home type. They are very pretty, but I think what I mostly like about them is that they are sort of like farmhouses.

Craftsman homes are characterized by a porch with thick columns, wide eaves with triangular brackets, numerous windows, and open floor plans.



The brown and white contrast on these homes is harsh to me; I find it is often hard to look past. I have seen some dramatic remodels, but they usually took big budgets.

Tudor homes are characterized by stucco exteriors, steeply pitched cross gables, rounded doorways, wood trim, and stone chimneys.



Most of the time, ranches leave me feeling drab. Often they have that cramped, L-shaped floor plan that I cannot get past. There are occasional gems I see, however.

Ranch homes are characterized by wood or brick exteriors, a built in garage, one story, and L or U-shaped floor plans with casual living styles.



This is a popular look in furniture and decor right now, but I do not often care for it when I see it in an exterior. Would you feel stylistically constricted in this house? Like you would have to live with the Mad Men trend forever?

Contemporary homes are characterized by large, irregular shaped windows, multiple sloping roofs in different directions, and clean lines.

new build


This one is surprisingly low and I know many people would look at this and think of it as a dream home. But, I am the strange one who wants a fixer upper, so a perfect new build is not right for me.

American New Build homes are characterized by a center entryway floor plan, great rooms, siding made with vinyl or faux stone, semicircular fanlight windows, and portico entrances.

raised ranch


Trying to be nice while sharing I do not find this home appealing. Critics would suggest that they are dated and style-less. Again, see note above about blowing me off if you are rocking this and love it.

Raised Ranch homes are characterized similarly to a ranch but with the foundation serving as an additional level.

split tri


Not much to add that was not said about the raised ranch. I would love to see more amazing transformations of these two because you can often buy them for a good price.

Split or Tri-Level homes are characterized by half staircases at entry or off of living area, lower ceilings, and a finished basement area.

Photo credits: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14

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  • Love that you covered different home styles! My husband and I are going to enter the process of designing our home in the next few months. His father is a custom home builder and I am super excited (and also slightly overwhelmed). I really love the colonial style as well as french cottage (kind of like tudor without the weird light/dark contrast and wood trim). Good luck in your search – I’m sure you will find something great and renovate it into something wonderful!

  • laurah05

    I’m a former interior designer who owns a raised ranch basically because those and itty bitty capes are the only affordable houses in our area. It is awful to work with. We’ve made some progress, but there is not a lot you can do without throwing a lot of money at it, and I would guess that is why renovations of them are so hard to find. The interiors are just as difficult as the exterior. I actually prefer split levels, I think those lean more 50s/60s than the 70s/80s raised ranches, so they sometimes have a wee bit more character and the levels have a more connected feel. As much as I dislike our RR, I detest American New Build even more. Overpriced for the quality in a lot of cases and tough to find ones that have real character and are not cookie cutter developer standard. Tudor – the white/brown is less harsh on a lot that is forested – very storybook in that case. Not a fan when they are not on those type of lots.

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