Architectural Variety: A Look At Common Home Styles

Just as with people, houses come in a variety of styles, with each distinctive version appealing to a different segment of the buying public. But what are some of the more common types of housing design? Different styles of homes are popular in different areas of the country, but the following are some of the most frequently produced examples.

Cape Cod style homes typically feature a steep roof and have an exterior covered by shingles. Houses of this type will have a symmetrical façade and usually feature a large chimney in the middle of the house. Cape Cod style houses can be constructed with more than one floor, but a true home of this type is limited to a single storey. Inspired by the homes constructed along the East Coast of North America, Cape Cod houses are clean and simple in design without excessive ornamentation.

Colonial style houses can come in a wide variety of forms and are designed to reflect the diversity of home styles produced in Europe. A Colonial style home can be reminiscent of housing styles favoured in Britain but could just as easily bear a resemblance to those found in France or even Spain. Houses of this type do have a few common attributes such as a squarish form with a sense of symmetry and balance throughout. A Colonial home will be a two-storey structure with a portico or partially covered front door. Window shutters and large chimneys are also common features of this type of property.

Spanish style homes are not as common in Canada but do exist, especially on the country’s West Coast. A typical Spanish house will be constructed using thick, stucco-clad walls with curved (barrel style) tiles on the roof. Originally designed to keep out the heat, they are usually quite energy efficient and are built using a low-pitched roof and with a minimal number of windows. Usually coloured white or terra cotta, Spanish style homes are noted for their dark wooden doors and windows.

Georgian style homes have a British origin and feature odd-looking bricked-up windows (a holdover from a window tax that had been imposed on British homeowners). Georgian houses are multi-storey (up to four) and feature tall sash windows with multiple small panes, instead of large single windowpanes – adding a vintage look to the structure. Homes of this type are symmetrical in design and can include classically inspired elements such as columns or porticos.


Handy Tips For When You’re Shopping For A Contractor

Your home is your castle, but sometimes the castle might need a little work. Perhaps it’s no longer big enough for a growing family, or you need to add a suite for an elderly family member, or an expanded rec room is needed for your busy social life. Whatever the reason, when it comes time to take on a major home renovation project it is better and ultimately safer to leave that work to the professionals. Here are a few points to ponder when shopping for a builder.

• Know what you want before you start. Determine exactly what you need to do and let the prospective contractor know in as much detail as possible. You are the client so be very specific and don’t allow extra work to be forced on you by an over-zealous builder. If you don’t know how to turn your ideas into a tangible reality, contact a design consultant beforehand to work out the details.

• Shop around to get multiple estimates. Major reno jobs can be expensive, so if you’re not working from a bottomless budget, do your due diligence beforehand. It’s often a good idea to get cost estimates from three different contractors before beginning the project. If the projected costs are similar to all three, then that is probably the true cost. If there is a wide variation in the estimates that could be a sign that something isn’t right.

• Speaking of doing research beforehand, it’s also a good idea to do some background checks on the shortlist of contractors you settle on. Check their credentials, find out their full company name and address and ensure they are licensed to operate in your area. If possible, talk to other people who have employed them to see if their work is up to your expectations. Homework now could head off major problems down the road.

These are just a few suggestions; you’re bound to come up with some of your own. The key takeaway is before you embark on any major project requiring the services of outside providers always plan as much as possible. The effort is bound to save you both time and money.


What To Do With Pets When Showing A Home

Any animal lover will tell you that pets are as much a part of the family as children or relatives. But not everyone shares that same enthusiasm for domestic animals and that could prove costly when it comes time to sell your home. Here are a few ideas for heading-off issues when showing a pet-friendly home to prospective buyers.

If a showing of your property is planned and you are uncertain how well having your pet around the place will be received, then, if possible, find someone who can pet-sit for you. Temporarily removing the pet from the property – even next door – could make all the difference when showing your property.

It’s also important to remove evidence of the pet as well as the pet itself. Seeing a dog bowl or scattered pet toys could be a major turn-off for some purchasers. This also includes vacuuming up pet hair from furniture and around the house before any showing. Obviously, for the temporary removal of a pet from the premises to work effectively you must know in advance when a home showing is going to occur, to provide enough time to take care of the details. Make a showing schedule and stick to it for maximum effectiveness.

Another aspect of owning a pet that might play a negative role when showing a property is odour. You as the pet lover may have become so used to the smell of a litterbox or damp dog that it doesn’t even register. That won’t be the case for someone who isn’t regularly exposed to animals. If possible, open the windows to give the home a thorough airing prior to a showing.

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