What is your favorite architectural design?

How do you decide what home is right for you and your family?

Connected North Idaho is here for you and your family’s best interest.  Every family has different needs in a property depending upon size, financing, and style.  Let’s begin with the most popular architectural design of homes available in North Idaho.


Contemporary architecture borrows many of its core elements from the long history of modern design, including clean lines, open spaces, and minimalist design. Many contemporary homes emphasize natural light through the installation of large windows and outdoor entertaining areas, as well as highly functional interior spaces with sparse ornamentation and a focus on intelligent materials.

Elements of design:

  1. Open floor plan
  2. Large windows, natural light
  3. Clean geometric lines
  4. Outdoor entertaining space
  5. Feeling of spaciousness
  6. Emphasis on intelligent materials, green building practice, and products

Northwest Contemporary

Both “Northwest” and “Contemporary” are broad terms used to explain an eclectic and diverse architectural style of an equally eclectic and diverse region. The climate and influences of the Pacific Northwest have led to home design that enhances the experience in a region where much of the season is spent indoors. Modern architects influenced much of the Northwest’s home design, especially the international design movement led by Frank Lloyd Wright, because of the incorporation of natural elements in the construction. Indigenous tribal art and Japanese design aesthetics are also commonly found in Northwest Contemporary homes.

Elements of design:

  • Large windows
  • Open spaces
  • Minimalist design
  • Incorporation of the natural landscape
  • Indigenous art and Japanese design influences

Cottage / Bungalow

Commonly considered the pre-cursor to the Craftsman, Cottages and Bungalows are both architectural styles that describe a small, cozy, single-family dwelling. Historically, these types of homes were more commonly found in rural or semi-rural areas, but nowadays cottage-style dwellings and bungalows are popular choices in cities as well.  The footprint of these homes is typically small with low-pitched gabled roofs and small covered porches at the entry.  Interesting historic fact: the Bungalow became so popular in the early 1900s that Sears and Roebuck sold ready-made kits to homebuyers through their mail order catalog.

Elements of design:

  • Small, single-family living space
  • Wood frame
  • Low-pitched roofs
  • Sheltered interior with small spaces
  • One to one-and-a-half stories


The Craftsman originated in Southern California in the early twentieth century, and quickly became very popular along the west coast, influenced by rapid industry and population growth. Craftsman homes featured techniques inspired by the arts and crafts movement, using natural materials and techniques to highlight the true qualities of these materials, such as staining wood rather than painting it. Common features include handcrafted wood, glass, and metal work, and objects that are simple and elegant, yet highly functional.

Elements of design:

  • Low-pitched, gabled roof with a wide overhang
  • Deeply overhanging eves
  • Living room fireplaces
  • Front porches with thick columns and exposed beams.
  • Hand-crafted wood and/or stone work
  • Built-ins in the form of furniture, cabinetry, and lighting fixtures

Ranch House/Rambler

Generally referred to as the “California Ranch”, this single-story sprawling home became popular in post-war America. The home takes cues from modernist homes with its open layout, indoor/outdoor entertaining spaces, and large windows. The ranch/rambler style house experienced the height of success in the 1950s and 1960s with the boom of the suburbs, and can be found all over the United States.  As the style evolved, split level homes became available. The ranch/rambler style home was also one of the first architectural styles to incorporate a garage into the housing design to accommodate the needs of the modern American Family.

Elements of design:

  • Influenced by modern architecture with open living spaces
  • Single story with large footprint
  • Outdoor entertaining space
  • Building materials dependent on region: wood, stucco, or brick
  • Large windows
  • First home design to incorporate attached garage

Work Cited: http://www.yourwindermere.com/buying_and_selling/architectural_styles

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