Love Ranch, Cottage, or Cape Cod Homes? Choosing the Right House Plan.

Each home has a style; and often, a combination of more than one style. In part two of this series, we will review the style and origination of the ranch, shingle, cottage, and Cape Cod.


The ranch style of home was originally inspired by North American Spanish Colonial architecture, which often included single-story options to help with the heat in the southwest. The rise of the ranch started in the 1920s, when ease of construction and customizability was a top priority for soldiers returning from the war. By the 1950s, nearly every home being constructed in America was a ranch, which typically included an attached garage, separate bedrooms, and a back patio. Within a couple of decades, two-story living became popular again, but ranch homes remain popular today due to their cost-effective construction making them a great starter home. 

Ranch Home Plan 51800HZ


The shingle style of home was first seen in America between 1880 and 1900. These enormous, horizontal structures borrowed from other Victorian styles, and could be found off the coast of New England, serving as summer homes for well-to-do families. The complex forms gave architects creative freedom, tying the diverse forms together with wood shingles that were either stained or left to weather from the elements. Often built on a foundation of rock or stone, these homes seemed to rise from the earth; completely comfortable in their natural surroundings.


Cottages are typically modest and comfortable homes. They became popular in the 1920s and 30s, derived from the larger, Tudor-style home. Originally created for the peasant workers on English farms known as “cotters,” their small size is well-suited for small families, or vacation homes. A picturesque countryside or a landscape surrounded by lush gardens best suit this style of home. A popular cottage-style home is the Cape Cod found in the Northeast.

Cape Cod

When you think of a classic, American cottage, the Cape Cod style of home may come to mind. Named after their hometown in Massachusetts, Cape Cod homes were practical; unadorned, simple, and sturdy, and built to weather colder climates. The typical, flat facade was covered with clapboard or shingles, and a central front door was bordered by windows. This style of home blanketed New England until the mid-1800s, when the Victorian style surpassed its popularity. The style re-emerged in the early 20th century when people regained interest in colonial-era, architectural traditions. This time the Cape Cod style was built larger than before with more bedrooms and ornate exteriors.

For additional info on styles, continue to part three, jump back to part one, or visit the Architectural Designs Styles Collection.