“This article is brought to you by Scott Felder Homes. Compensation was provided for this guest post.” – Texas architecture has a distinctive look among U.S. real estate. Even if you can’t name the timbers and stones that form their rooftops and foundations, you’ve probably seen their likeness in tintype photographs and museum exhibits post-Gold Rush. If you’re thinking of designing your new home like they do it in the Lone Star State, you should know right away that you’re faced with a variety of options, because no two Texas styles are identical. They may share similar features, but their histories, materials and constructions are entirely their own. Whether you’re a born-and-bred cowboy or just a fan of Old World design, here are five types of Texan architecture for building a new home.
Originally conceived in the early 20th century, ranch houses experienced a surge in popularity after World War II, especially near the border where populations began to boom in earnest. They’re best known for being long, single-story buildings that rest close to the ground, though not all ranch houses follow this design. The real power of their aesthetic comes from their cultural significance: With simple stucco exteriors giving way to carpeted foyers and attached garages, ranch houses are quintessentially American, the kind of home where families have been raised since the 1920s.
Curved archways and terracotta roofs are two defining elements of the Spanish colonial style that crept into Texas as early as the 1800s. Influenced by their southern neighbors, Texans were quick to realize that light colors and open balconies were great ways to combat rising temperatures in the days before air conditioning. Today, of course, you have other ways to keep cool, but stucco walls, iron-wrought windows and graceful indoor columns are still examples of beautiful architecture. They also invoke images of wealth and prestige.
These small, simple homes bring to mind the days of log cabins and pioneers, but they were actually designed well into the ’30s and ’40s by architects in the heart of Texas. Their beauty is in their simplicity, a throwback to older times that encompasses everything from pinewood roofs to antique brass doorknobs. Don’t worry about space, however: They’re much roomier than they look from the outside, and they can support all the lighting, plumbing and electronic conveniences of modern living.
Limestone is the key component of early southwestern design. As the name suggests, this style is inspired by the early days of Texan settlers, particularly those in south Texas where limestone is abundant. The walls provide a strong, solid foundation for metal roofs and long porches where homeowners can sit and enjoy a glass of sweet tea as the sun sets. Early southwestern architecture is also popular among those who are trying to live green and reduce their carbon footprint, because limestone is quite energy efficient.
You’ve read a lot about homes incorporating historical architectural design. What if you want something from this century? If you’re looking for a sleek, contemporary style that still retains that spark of Texas sensibility, Texas modern is the way to go. A nice split-level home, for example, will give you room to raise a family whether you’re in the suburbs of Houston or the deserts of Loving County. Brick masons in north Texas can provide rich red walls to complement white roofs and green grass. The sky is the limit!