What real estate agents need to know about architecture

The American dream has long been home ownership, but the facades and layouts have changed over the years. American housing styles have changed, and continue to change, as homeowners’ tastes and lifestyles have evolved. As the country has undergone industrial and economic changes, housing styles have adapted out of necessity.

Fortunately, Inman contributor Gerard Splendore is here to guide us through world wars, depressions, recessions, pandemics and boom times.

A basic understanding of each decade-defining architectural style will position you as a knowledgeable agent to your clients and make finding a home with your buyers easier for everyone. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of what each decade meant for architecture and how homes have evolved over time.

With its roots in the British royal family, Victorian architecture found expression in a wide variety of architectural styles. Today, you will recognize Victorian homes by their grand scale, exteriors and interiors adorned with fine craftsmanship.

Four square and kit houses in a number of variations are commonplace across the country. Today, these homes may have been updated, modernized, or expanded.

Housing styles drastically departed from traditional styles with the introduction of Art Deco design, and a new era in home architecture emerged. Here’s what you need to know about houses from this period.

The stock market crash and the Great Depression impacted everything that happened in the United States between 1929 and 1930. It was a time of great uncertainty, reflected in homes called bungalows. They were smaller and occupied only one floor.

World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945, and returning post-war soldiers were driven by victory and the GI Bill, with secured home loans to become homeowners. The term “The American dreamwas born and consisted of a house “with a white picket fence”, 2.5 children, a car and a dog. The 1940s saw a mix of influences and trends, driven in large part by the needs of a nation after World War II.

Housing in the 1950s is characterized by a homogenous style and post-WWII family sensibilities, wealth and size. This period of architecture and furnishings has become even more sought after since it became known as “mid-century modern” in Cara Greenberg’s 1984 book. Mid-Century Modern: Furniture from the 1950s. The television series Mad Men popularized this period of architecture and design. Highly sought after by millennials, any agent familiar with this style will do well.

1960s housing is characterized by innovations that made residential living more convenient than ever. Popularly known as the “Swinging Sixties”, a period of youth culture, political and cultural upheaval, housing styles remained fixed in the 1950s, with few exceptions. Kitchens became larger with adjoining dining rooms or breakfast nooks, in addition to formal dining rooms.

The 1970s housing stock combines the aesthetic of 1960s remnants with a new emphasis on organic and global elements. Gerard Splendore offers a guided tour through the houses of “the decade that taste has forgotten”.

You may have noticed that we haven’t quite finished today. Stay tuned. We’ll keep adding to this week after week until we know today’s trends.

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