Amidst its 239 square-miles, Bergen County showcases an assortment of home styles. With such a wide variety ranging from the classic and quaint Cape Cods to larger, multi-level Colonials, would you be able to identify and distinguish one from the other? Read on to hone your Bergen County Home Styles IQ!
The origin of the Classic Cape Cod dates back to the 17th Century New England modest cottage, marked by a steep roof with a centrally located chimney, end gables, and overall simply symmetrical design. Keeping in mind Massachusetts’s tumultuous coastal weather, most homes were built facing south, thereby allowing direct sunlight to heat the home. Additionally, the pitch of the roof was essential for reducing the accumulation of snow. What has now become a trademark and more so an aesthetic element of the design, the shutters on a Cape Cod home’s original function was to be a wind deterrent.
Today’s Modern/Colonial Cape is a larger derivative of its 17th Century ancestor, typically including a formal dining room and bedrooms on both first and second floors.
The Classic Ranch, a single-story structure, is a native of the U.S., born in the 1920s. This style’s claim to fame was a result of a growing popularity amongst the post-war middle class of the 1940s and even until the 1970s. Its long, low profile of either an asymmetrical rectangle, L-shaped, or U-shaped design is a fusion of modernist ideals with a homage to an American Western working ranch style. The incorporation of designs resulted in an informal, casual living style, characterized by a simple and open floor plan with either cross-gabled, side-gabled or a hip roof and large overhanging eaves. One may also come across a Raised Ranch which, in contrast to the classic composition, is a two-story with the entry door on the first floor and living area located up a full flight of stairs. Both have attached garages.
Next stop on our stroll down Suburbia Lane is the Colonial. A two-story structure with a basement, the evolution of the Colonial has a lineage that ranges from Dutch, Georgian, Greek Revival, as well as Early Colonial Revival. Some of the more obvious, exterior identifiers include a symmetrical, somewhat boxy architectural design. Upon entering through the entry door, which could be centrally located and flanked by paired or non-paired windows, one would notice the evidence of its two-stories. Yet, there are a few subtle, more specific details that define one variation from its kin. The Dutch Colonial, built with stone or brick, is constructed with a gambrel roof and overhanging eaves. Supported by columns and ornamentations that reference Greek and Roman influences, the entrance porch of a Greek Revival could be one or two stories high. The Colonial Revival has progressed from its earlier designs to include interpretations such as the Side Hall Colonial and the Center Hall Colonial, whereby the major difference is marked by the positioning of the front entryway and its impact on the floor plan.
Breaking free from the traditional “boxy” concept, builders in the latter half of the 19th century introduced the highly-detailed, delicately decorative woodwork and asymmetrical design of what became known as Victorian. Perhaps more stoically decorative, the first story of the Tudor style home is predominantly stone or brick, while the second floor contains some timber embellishments.
The last stop on our tour and the true test of one’s Home Style IQ is the multi-faceted Split-Level, which includes the Standard Split-Level (Bi-Level and Tri-Level) and the Sugar Maple. Again, the positioning of the entrance becomes the key distinguisher. When walking into a Standard Split-Level, one would enter on the main living level. Take the stairs down one level and enter into the family room/den and garage or take the stairs up one level and find the bedroom area. The slight difference with a Bi-Level is its lack of basement and its front door is located between the first and second stories, so one level up is the living area and one level down is the family room and garage. Entrance into a Sugar Maple is on the ground level with the family room and garage, whereas one level up, one would find the main living area. To reach the bedrooms, one would travel up yet another level. Naturally then, a Tri-Level contains an additional level over the living area where one would find the bedrooms.
As you can see, Bergen County showcases an assortment of home styles. With this introduction to the variety of homes, from the classic and quaint Cape Cods to larger, multi-level Colonials, we hope you have been able to further hone your ability to spot the specifics which distinguish the wide variety of styles. So, the next time you are taking a leisurely walk or driving through the streets of your neighborhood, have some fun and test your Bergen County Home Styles IQ!