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Different Styles of Home Architecture

Updated: Apr 23

Which House Style is Right for You?

If you’re planning to buy a new home, one of the big factors influencing your decision will be what you want your new home to look like. You only need to look around your local neighbourhood to see there are a huge variety of house styles, each with their own architectural features.

When it comes to home architecture, there are many different styles that can be used. Some people prefer the traditional look of a house with a white picket fence, while others may prefer more modern designs with glass walls and open spaces. There are also variations that cater to different lifestyles, such as country homes that are rustic in appearance, or coastal homes that have a more relaxed feel. Whatever style you prefer, there is sure to be a design that fits your needs and desires.

Some house styles can also reflect a particular period in time, or the needs of a certain location and climate, which is why house style trends can differ across the country.

Current new build homes offer a version of these traditional or historical styles with a modern twist, reflecting the requirements that today’s homebuyers desire such as eco-friendly materials and built-in technology.

Commonly Seen Architectural Home Styles

The following house styles are ones that are commonly known and seen across North America, although not necessarily found in all communities.

You may see examples of some of these styles in older neighbourhoods or reflected in custom built homes to reflect the home owner’s taste.

  • Art Deco - Flat roof, smooth stucco walls, rounded corners, bold decorative lines on exterior walls

  • Cape Cod - Steep roof, large chimney, dormer windows in roof, windows either side of central front door

  • Colonial- Symmetrical look, shutters on windows, dormer windows in roof, columns

  • Contemporary - Emphasis on energy efficiency, made with sustainable materials, lots of glass for maximum light, open plan interiors

  • Craftsman - Wide front porches, use of natural materials such as wood, stone and brick on exterior, single story with low pitched roof, exposed beams and fireplaces inside

  • Greek Revival - Stucco exterior (usually white), tall columns, horizontal beam over front door, bold embellishments

  • Mid-Century Modern - Large windows, simple design with geometric lines, functional materials such as steel and concrete, open plan living space

  • Victorian - Ornate design features such as door trim and window frames, bright colours, multi-faceted rooflines and turrets, asymmetrical shape

  • Farmhouse - Simple design, wood featured heavily, window trim or shutters, wrap around porch, practical interior

Check out this HGTV gallery for images of these home styles. Looking at different styles of home in your neighbourhood can help you identify which you prefer and would look for when choosing your next home.

Home Styles Most Commonly Seen on the West Coast of Canada

If you’re looking for a new home in the Greater Victoria region or anywhere on the west coast of Canada, you might like to know the types of architectural home styles you are most likely to come across. Of course, in older areas like Victoria, BC you will see many historical styles such as:

  • Arts and Crafts - Born from the arts and crafts movement in the mid-1800s prioritizing handcrafted and personal design. Low pitched roof with large overhang, windows with small panes, prominent porch with columns, open plan interior with exposed beams.

  • Victorian - Some of the earliest home designs in West Coast cities. Original examples still exist, many protected. Characterized by peaked roofs, picture windows, decorative trim and stained glass.

  • Vancouver Special or BC Box - Built heavily between 1965 and 1985 this style maximizes floor space on narrow city lots. Two stories, shallow roof, full width balcony on second floor, decorative brick cladding on second floor, sliding windows and doors.

For a full overview of the historical house styles found in the Vancouver area, see this interesting summary of Vancouver Architecture Through the Ages by the Vancouver Heritage Society.

If you’re looking for a brand-new home, you’ll find the more popular and common contemporary styles often still give a nod to some of these older styles. Commonly seen contemporary styles on the west coast of BC include:

West Coast Style

  • Built for the west coast weather with influence from modernism. Flat roofs with generous overhangs for rain protection and large windows for maximum light. Unpainted wooden exterior, open floor plans, open terraces.

  • Modern versions of this style incorporate corrugated metals, wood and concrete to the exterior and skylights. This style works well on uneven or stepped plots.


  • Developed from the arts and crafts style. Asymmetrical designs with full front porch under extended pitched roof, feature natural materials such as wood and stone on exterior.

  • Modern craftsmen style homes feature mixed exterior materials such as vertical siding, shingles and faux rock as well as double hung windows.

Millennium Contemporary / Modern

  • Most recent version of the Millennium Builder style first appeared in 1980’s. 2 story box style with shallow roof and bay windows. Stucco cladding and decorative brick exterior.

  • Millennium contemporary is more geometric in style with lots of glass, flat roof and mixed material exteriors including concrete, stucco, wood and metals.

New Build Home Styles Combine Past, Present and Future

New home style trends are constantly evolving as they are influenced by demand for integrated technology, environmentally conscious design, plot size and landscape. But they are also influenced by the successful and popular styles of the past.

Builders of brand-new homes such as White Wolf Homes, are combining styles in their designs to produce contemporary homes that may still include some of the characteristics of the more historic styles.

This is resulting in modern homes that suit the landscape, environment and needs of today’s buyer but still bringing some individual personality.

View White Wolf Homes’ recent home designs for some examples of combined modern and traditional styles.

Which Home Style Is Right for Me?

There are some things you can consider when deciding which home style is right for you, for example:

  • Do you prefer open plan or compartmentalized living?

  • Do you like a lot of glass or do you prefer smaller windows?

  • Do you have an architectural style preference?

  • Would you like a home that stands out from the rest or blends into the street?

  • Are you a minimalist or do you enjoy decorative flair?

Answering these questions should point you towards a style, or blend of style that would best suit your personal taste when choosing a home.

White Wolf Homes Building Stylish New Homes in Greater Victoria

If you are looking for a newly built home in the greater Victoria area that blends contemporary architecture with the best historical elements, look no further than White Wolf Homes.

White Wolf Homes has been developing, designing and building homes since 2015, and we pride ourselves on building homes for families to live in and enjoy.

See more detail of our upcoming builds, or contact us today for information.

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