The evolution of homes over the past several decades has been constant. Part 4 of our series takes a look at exterior styles. It seems that what goes around, comes back around albeit in a modified fashion, particularly given enough time. Here’s a brief look at changing elevation styles from the 60s to the possible next trend.
How Exterior Styles Have Evolved Over the Past 60 Years
Elevation styles are constantly changing. We often find a style originating in one part of the country, then migrating to other regions. In different parts of the country, we also see regional variations to a style. Certain styles were region-specific like Prairie, Cape Cod, or Low Country. At least they were…
We also find styles are often tied to certain time periods. In the fifties and sixties, we had mid-century modern (probably was just called modern then). This style often featured extremely low-pitched roofs with trapezoidal glass transoms. In some regions of the country, these houses featured diagonal wood siding, shed roofs, and clerestory transom windows. They were brown or rust in color. Equally uninspiring to me during this era, was the very timid style featuring all brick with hip roofs all with the same plate height.
Then came the eighties, a period of big hair and giant half-round windows with two-story foyers! Boy, were these windows were super popular. We saw them in just about every style house, traditional, Mediterranean, and houses with no discernable style at all. The more half-round windows you had, the better – apparently.
Soon after the half-round window craze, you could guess the year a home was built based upon the exterior style. No one wanted a “dated” looking house. Enter the period of “timeless” styles. This period also corresponded with traditional neighborhood developments.
Recently, we entered the Modern Farmhouse style era. It was the perfect combination of new and nostalgia. How “modern” depending on where you were building – more modern near the urban core, less so in the suburbs. Popularized by HGTV, this style swept through the country like wildfire.
Alas, time stands still for no one. By now, my designer friends in California and Colorado say they’ve moved on from this style and are moving on to more modern and daring styles. Will those “new” modern styles be accepted in places like Birmingham, AL or Baton Rouge, LA? Fast forward ten years from now, will these new modern styles become dated and tied to 2020? Isn’t that the age-old dilemma? The desire for something that pushes the envelope but retains a shelf life of longer than 5 years.
Adapted from Housing Design Matters October 19, 2020 Blog