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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

1890 - Present: Tudor Revival

Picture Dictionary of House Styles in North America and Beyond

Heavy chimneys and decorative half-timbering give Tudor style houses a Medieval flavor. The Tudor style is sometimes called Medieval Revival.

Photo © 2005 Jackie Craven

Decorative half-timbering give Tudor Revival houses the appearance of a medieval building.

Tudor style homes have many of these features: About the Tudor Style

The name Tudor suggests that these houses imitate English architecture from the early 16th century. However, most Tudor style homes were inspired by building techniques from an earlier time. Some Tudor houses mimic humble Medieval cottages - They may even include a false thatched roof. Other Tudor homes borrow ideas from late Medieval palaces. They may have overlapping gables, parapets, and beautifully patterned brick or stonework. These historic details combine with Victorian or Craftsman flourishes.

As in many Queen Anne and Stick style homes, Tudor style houses often feature striking decorative timbers. These timbers hint at - but do not duplicate - Medieval building techniques. In Medieval houses, the timber framing was integral with the structure. Modern Tudor houses, however, merely suggest the structural framework with false half-timbering. This decorative woodwork comes in many different designs, with stucco or patterned brick between the timbers.

Handsome examples of Tudor style architecture may be found throughout Great Britain, northern Europe and the United States. The main square in Chester, England is surrounded by lavish Victorian Tudors that stand unapologetically alongside authentic medieval buildings.

In the United States, Tudor styling takes on a variety of forms ranging from elaborate mansions to modest suburban homes with mock masonry veneers. The style became enormously popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and modified versions became fashionable in the 1970s and 1980s.

One popular housing type inspired by inspired by Tudor ideas is the Cotswold Cottage. These quaint homes have an imitation thatched roof, massive chimneys, an uneven sloping roof, small window panes, and low doors.

Learn More About Tudor Architecture

Tudor Style
Lush color photographs illustrate Tudor style homes across the USA. This book is an especially good resource if you're seeking ideas for paint colors and interior decore. By Lee Goff, Author and Paul Rocheleau, Photographer. (compare prices)

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1840 - 1915: Renaissance Revival Style

Picture Dictionary of House Styles in North America and Beyond

A fascination for the architecture of Renaissance Europe and the villas of Andrea Palladio inspired elegant Renaissance Revival homes.

Photo © Ben Newton

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt, Breakers Mansion is a Renaissance Revival mansion in Newport, Rhode Island


Renaissance Revival houses have many of these features:

  • Cube-shaped
  • Balanced, symmetrical fa├žade
  • Smooth stone walls, made from finely-cut ashlar
  • Low-pitched hip or Mansard roof
  • Roof topped with balustrade
  • Horizontal stone banding between floors
  • Segmental pediments
  • Ornately-carved stone window trim varying in design at each story
  • Smaller square windows on top floor
  • Quoins (large stone blocks at the corners)

"Second" Renaissance Revival Houses are larger and usually have:

  • Arched, recessed openings
  • Full entablatures between floors
  • Columns
  • Ground floor made of rusticated stone with beveled edges and deeply-recessed joints

About the Renaissance Revival Style

Renaissance (French for "rebirth") refers to the artistic, architectural, and literary movement in Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries. The Renaissance Revival style is based on the architecture of 16th-century Renaissance Italy and France, with additional elements borrowed from Ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Renaissance Revival is a general term which encompasses the various Italian Renaissance Revival and French Renaissance Revival styles, including Second Empire.

The Renaissance Revival style was popular during two separate phases. The first phase, or the First Renaissance Revival, was from about 1840 to 1885, and the Second Renaissance Revival, which was characterized by larger and more elaborately decorated buildings, was from 1890 to 1915. Due to the expensive materials required and the elaborate style, Renaissance Revival was best suited for public and commercial buildings, and very grand homes for the wealthy.

Related Styles:

Learn More About Beaux Arts:

Further Reading:

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1840 - 1885: Italianate

Picture Dictionary of House Styles in North America and Beyond

Italiante became the most popular housing style in Victorian America. Italianate is also known as the Tuscan, the Lombard, or simply, the bracketed style.

Photo © 2005 Jupiterimages Corporation

Old World ideals are transplated to the United States in this Italianate style home, located in Cape May, New Jersey.


Italianate houses have many of these features:
  • Low-pitched or flat roof
  • Balanced, symmetrical rectangular shape
  • Tall appearance, with 2, 3, or 4 stories
  • Wide, overhanging eaves with brackets and cornices
  • Square cupola
  • Porch topped with balustraded balconies
  • Tall, narrow, double-paned windows with hood moldings
  • Side bay window
  • Heavily molded double doors
  • Roman or segmented arches above windows and doors
About the Italianate Style

The Italianate style began in England with the picturesque movement of the 1840s. For the previous 200 years, English homes tended to be formal and classical in style. With the picturesque, movement, however, builders began to design fanciful recreations of Italian Renaissance villas. When the Italianate style moved to the United States, it was reinterpreted again to create a uniquely American style.

By the late 1860s, Italianate was the most popular house style in the United States. Historians say that Italianate became the favored style for two reasons:

  • Italianate homes could be constructed with many different building materials, and the style could be adapted to modest budgets.
  • New technologies of the Victorian era made it possible to quickly and affordably produce cast-iron and press-metal decorations.
Italianate remained the most popular house style in the USA until the 1870s. Italianate was also a common style for barns, town halls, and libraries. You will find Italianate buildings in nearly every part of the United States except for the deep South. There are fewer Italianate buildings in the southern states because the style reached its peak during the Civil War, a time when the south was economically devastated.

After the 1870s, architectural fashion turned toward late Victorian styles such as Queen Anne.

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