It’s common to focus on size, features and floor plans as you look for a new home. What’s easy to overlook is that these traits are often specific to architecture styles. By learning what makes each style unique, you can become more knowledgeable about the homes you look at. You can also make it easier to find what you’re looking for, either by pointing a real estate agent in the right direction or by narrowing down the results of an online search.
If you want plenty of options to choose from in Michigan, check out the state’s three most popular home styles and see which one best fits your personal style, needs and budget.
When many people hear the word “bungalow” they think small, quaint and efficient. All three descriptions are typically spot on. If you’re interested in a compact and inviting home that’s budget-friendly, a bungalow might be the right fit.
• 1 or 1½ stories
• Low pitch roof with overhanging eaves
• Open floor plan
• Large fireplace
• Built-in cabinetry
• Large porch
You can find bungalows in communities across the state, thanks in large part to a company called Aladdin that sold kit homes out of Bay City from 1906-1983. As the style became popular in the early 20th century, many variations of the style followed. Many Arts and Crafts bungalows – built with local materials and unique craftsmanship – can be found throughout Royal Oak, Hazel Park and Ferndale.
Benefits of Choosing a Bungalow Home
Bungalow style houses often offer a great deal of charm at a low expense. Most are reasonably priced and affordable to maintain because of their size and open concept, which keeps heating and cooling bills down. The open floor plan makes each room easily accessible, so bungalows are a good choice for elderly residents and those with small children.
Drawbacks of Choosing a Bungalow Home
As with any smaller one-story home, the cost per square foot is usually higher than two-story homes. If you have a larger family or need extra storage space, a bungalow may not provide the value you’re hoping to find. And because bungalows usually have a large living room, bedrooms and bathrooms tend to be smaller than average size.
The word alone calls to mind elegance and America’s rich history. Colonial homes are typically symmetrical with columns on either side of the front door. Expect to find two or three levels and an abundance of living space. If you have a large family or just want to spread out, a colonial is an attractive choice.
• 2 or 3 stories
• Steeply pitched roof
• Central hall floor plan
• Wide fireplace / paired chimneys
• Evenly spaced windows
• Covered porch supported by columns
Colonial style homes outnumber every other style in Michigan, with many of them springing up in the 1800s. This is mostly due to the state’s proximity to the northeast. Colonial homes made up a large portion of America’s first settlements and those who made their way west favored the style as they built many of Michigan’s earliest communities.
Benefits of Choosing a Colonial Home
Colonials are great for residents who value privacy. Unlike homes with open floor plans, colonials usually section off areas of the home. A colonial will also reward those who value ample storage space – the steep pitch roof often provides room for an attic. And if your personal style leans classical, colonials are often perfect settings for elegant décor and traditional rustic furnishings.
Drawbacks of Choosing a Colonial Home
If you value accessibility, you might feel closed off due to a colonial’s compartmentalized floor plan. There typically isn’t a convenient gathering space near the kitchen, and living rooms tend to be long and narrow which can make it difficult to arrange furniture. Bedrooms are typically on the second floor, so young children and elderly residents may struggle to get around.
Defined by its single-story structure and open floor plans, a ranch home is one of the true American architectural styles. If you’re looking for flexibility, casual living and a home that’s easy to make all your own, you should be able to find a ranch that meets your needs in Michigan.
• 1 story
• Low pitch roof with gables (often hipped)
• Open floor plan (often L-shaped or U-shaped)
• Attached garage
• Large picture windows
• Vaulted ceiling
Ranches are one of the most popular home styles in Michigan and throughout the United States. In 1950, nine out of every ten homes in America were ranches. They rose in popularity in Michigan following World War II, as suburbs took root and expanded in size across the state.
Benefits of Choosing a Ranch Home
The horizontal layout is great for indoor-outdoor living. Since most ranches are built on slabs, they’re even with yards and create smooth access to patios and outdoor areas. Then there are the many advantages of living in a one-story home, including easier exterior maintenance, maneuverability and more affordable energy costs.
Drawbacks of Choosing a Ranch Home
Ranches are more spread out, so yards tend to be smaller. This can also make it challenging to build additions, which tend to be more expensive because you’ll typically need to add foundation. When you buy the home, you can also expect to pay more per square foot than two-story homes because ranches require more roofing, plumbing and heating/AC materials.
Read about the types of homes you’ll find when you’re house hunting to learn more about ranches and common home styles.
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