What is it we find so deeply alluring about homes of the past? Is it the beauty of their intricately crafted details? Is it their sheer presence that speaks of the fullness of their character? Is it their striking stature, yet the warmth of their nature that invites us inside? Is it the nostalgic feelings they stir in our memories that inevitably remind us of the homes we grew up in?
It’s all these things and more. Homes distinguished by the rich architectural traditions of countless classic, romantic, and revival eras; known for their eclectic decor and their use of a variety of finishes and textures. Today’s updated version of this styling embraces a mix of such elements, yet downplays the elaborate detailing to make everything work together.
Home Design Elements
Take for instance, homes from the early 1900’s embraced high ceilings and narrow halls to create a dramatic effect. As consumer preferences changed and the demand for homes increased, designs became more compact and streamlined to maximize usable space and keep costs down. The need to break out of the cookie cutter rut, ceiling height and vaulted/sloped ceilings have made a comeback, providing unique visual appeal and the feel of a more open floor plan.
Also, for a short time, fireplaces were replaced or minimalized by incorporating large entertainment centers. With streamlined technology and the desire to add a more cozy, inviting atmosphere, fireplaces have again become the focal point of many homes–designed and adorned as if it were the main reason for the room itself.
On the exteriors of homes you would find steep gabled roofs, corner towers, balconies, and scalloped shingles as well as brick detail applied in patterns. Since much of this exterior detail has been omitted over the years because of its expense, builders and designers are using more of a vignette (and toned-down) approach with window trim, decorative ironwork, and roofing details. Other detailing on the exterior can also add a special old-fashioned touch.
Aside from the architectural design, many homeowners find colors with muddy, time-worn hues, such as mulberry, bottle green, tobacco brown, and dull red, diffuse an essence of affluence. The colors as applied today are toned-down and lightened to coincide with simplified interiors. Furniture styles and upholstery also has a touch of nostalgia, yet blend well with modern pieces to bring a fresh updated look to furnishings.
If you’re waxing nostalgic and would love to build a traditional-style home, browse our collection of Traditional plan styles to find the home that is uniquely yours. Click here to search for Design Basics Traditional plan selections.