Most popular house styles in the Twin Cities
If you’re in the middle of a house hunt in the Twin Cities, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. In addition to the many financial issues you’ll have to contend with, there’s also the fundamental question of house style. Given the variety of house styles out there, we put together a short primer to help you in your search.
When looking at a colonial house, you’ll notice the front door is a distinct focal point, typically centered between two large windows on each side. In a traditional Colonial house, you’ll see five windows on the second floor, including one that is prominently located above the front door. In the Twin Cities, many newly built Colonials maintain a focus on the front door, but you also notice an exterior that’s somewhat different than in the older houses. Now, it’s common to see three “Dormer” windows or even a balcony over the front door.
A recent report by the Minnesota Association of Realtors® found that colonial houses are typically found in the oldest parts of Minnesota. In St. Paul, you’ll find them in the historic Mac-Groveland area.
Traditionally, Victorian houses are very ornate, featuring decorative trim, also known as “spindle” work, around an offset front porch. A steep and asymmetrical roof also characterizes Victorian houses.
In the Twin Cities, most of these houses were built between 1840 and 1900, at the growth of the Industrial Revolution, which led to the mass production of affordable ornamental house features.
In St. Paul, Victorian houses are numerous in the Crocus Hill Neighborhood and in Minneapolis you’ll find them in the Kenwood neighborhood near Lake of the Isles.
In the late Victorian era, many designers were alarmed by the mass production that was the result of the Industrial Revolution. They felt that this mass production would diminish quality design, so they launched what is now known as the Arts and Crafts movement.
Craftsman style houses came out of this movement, which focused on high-end craftsmanship and a return to simple design. Craftsman style houses feature overhanging eaves with rafters exposed, as well as low-pitched roofs. Often, they have a wide front porch with elegant tapering pillars. Also, you’ll find that a mixture of materials typically characterizes the exterior, including wood stucco and stone. Exposed beams and woodwork are standard features of the interior, as well as built-in bookshelves and eating nooks. Craftsman houses are designed with high functionality in mind, and this functionality and usefulness are what still draws new buyers to these houses. In the Twin Cities, Craftsman houses are desired not only for their beauty, but also for classic design elements that are attractive to families.
Craftsman houses are very popular in the Twin Cities metro area, with most built between 1915 and 1927. In St. Paul, you’ll find a multitude a Craftsman houses in the Mac-Groveland and Merriam Park neighborhoods. In Minneapolis, there are many in the South Minneapolis neighborhood, particularly in the area of Linden Hills.
So what style of house is the best for you? Ultimately this will come down to your tastes and needs, as well as price point. As you can see however from this short list, the Twin Cities offers plenty of options when it comes to finding the house style that best suits your needs.