Choosing an Architectural Style for Your Custom Home or Remodel

From the wraparound porch of a traditional farmhouse to the smooth textures and lines of a contemporary build — there’s something to love in just about every style of architecture. Each style has its own history and rules governing what makes the type of home it is. When it comes to choosing an architectural style for your custom home, there are a lot of options!

Luckily, there are some things you can count on, like French country homes including natural stone and walls of sunny neutrals. Or the timbering style of the Tudor. And even better, a home is what you make of it. To help you get started, let’s look at some of the popular architectural styles of today. We’ll outline a few of our favorites, with input from KGA senior partner and architect, Paul Mahony. At KGA, we pride ourselves on our design versatility and ability to design in many different architectural styles. The following are just a handful of what’s out there. Enjoy!

The Modern Farmhouse

You might recognize this type of home by its outdoor porch, reinforced clapboard exterior, and steep pitched roof with gables and dormers. If you think this might be your style, check out any of our farmhouse builds, including our:

Contemporary Farmhouse

This contemporary farmhouse is arranged into 5 pods with gable roofs: the great hall, master suite, guest suite, laundry and garage. The pods are linked by flat roof connectors. See more pics.

Traditional Farmhouse

Traditional farmhouses often feature large wraparound porches. Historically they had two primary functions: a place to cool off in the summer and a year-round place to kick off dirty work boots before going inside. See more pics.

Modern Farmhouse Remodel

The original home lacked outdoor living and a connection with the 5-acre lot. Adding a wrap-around deck to the main level creates outdoor living opportunities and takes advantage of the spectacular views. Oversized floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors create an indoor-outdoor connection from every space. See more pics.

From KGA senior partner and architect Paul Mahony: “The modern farmhouse remains popular, but we are seeing clients wanting to make it their own. We believe they are drawn to the classic shapes of the farmhouse — like pitched roofs, gable ends and porches — but looking to blend old with new in unique ways for a timeless, modern style. This has taken the term ‘Transitional.’”

The Transitional Home

Is it modern or traditional? The great thing about transitional architecture is that it can be a little bit of both — which is actually how we get a lot of the “hot” new trends. “We’re seeing some clients that want something different,” Paul says. “So, we’re sharpening authentic classic styles of French and European and adding modern lines or materials.”

A transitional home is great if the vision for your custom home lies somewhere in-between styles or categories. Here is one such home, originally built in 1937, this remodeled classic Tudor seamlessly blends old and new.

Staying true to the historic architecture, we re-created and repaired all of the chimneys, old and new, right down to the flue tile; and found brick and clinkers to blend the additions with the original portions. The black steel windows are inspired by the windows in the tea room, which are the only remaining original windows. See more pics.

The European or Old World Home

 “As an architect, I gravitate to graceful designs that showcase a noticeable sense of proportion and attention to detail that reacts to its surroundings in a peaceful way,” Paul says. “That style almost always finds me drawn to old world, traditionally styled and scaled homes. Roofs with pitch and negative space that will play with shadows. They’re traditional, authentic, and modern woven together.” Some of our favorite examples of this style include our:

Traditional Cherry Hills Village Custom Home

Front elevation of a traditional english cottage style custom home by KGA Studio Architects
Two second story bedroom suites are tucked into the attic-like space below the steeply sloping old world European style roof. See more pics.

Traditional Cherry Hills Village Remodel

We updated the exterior elevation of this home with authentic detailing including removing and reworking existing overhangs, replacing clipped hip roof forms with gables, and replacing the original concrete roof with slate. See more pics.

French Country Remodel

Tall windows and rounded arches are typical of French country styles homes. A warm, neutral color palette and natural materials such as stone are also typical of this style. See more pics.

The Contemporary Home

The contemporary home is often known for its geometric shapes, large windows and aesthetic that include metal, concrete and natural wood or stone. Contemporary architecture is all about clean, smooth textures and lines, which we adhere to in both our:

Buell Mansion Contemporary Custom Home

Used to the desert sun of Las Vegas, the clients requested the porte-cochere be sized for 4 cars to park comfortably underneath, shaded from the elements. The clients gravitated towards contemporary architecture with sloping roofs and a slightly disorganized feel, which contrasts perfectly with clean materials and clean lines throughout the home. See more pics.

Contemporary Boulder Home

Clerestory windows let in natural light without compromising privacy on the street facing side of the home. See more pics.

The Modern Rustic Home

The modern rustic – or mountain modern – style home looks like it would be comfortable nestled into the side of a cozy mountain or at the edge of wild, natural grasslands. You might recognize a modern rustic home due to its exposed natural architectural elements (think: stone and wooden beams), sloping roof to accommodate snow load, and a more rugged exterior. They also typically have large, oversized windows overlooking amazing views. For a peek at some of our favorite mountain modern homes, check out the:

Modern Rustic Home

Large windows with consistent proportions are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also take advantage of incredible views and natural light. See more pics.

Colorado Golf Club Custom Home

Rear elevation of custom home with pool at dusk in the Colorado Golf Club
Located in the Colorado Golf Club, the architectural style of this custom home features mountain modern vibes and a strong emphasis on outdoor living. See more pics.

Bozeman Custom Home

Custom home designed by KGA in Bozeman, Montana
This custom spec home will be located on nearly 6.5 acres in Gallatin Gateway with private access to the Gallatin river and stunning views of the Spanish Peaks. See more renderings.

Winter Park Custom Home

Custom home in Winter Park, Colorado, designed by KGA
Oversized windows, sliders, and French doors all provide the perfect opportunity to either take in the views in cozy comfort or open up the house and let the outdoor in. See more pics.

Ask an Architect: Insights on Choosing an Architectural Style for Your Custom Home

The above is just a taste! There are endless wonderful options when choosing an architectural style for your custom home or remodel. We tapped Paul for more insight around the custom build process and house styles.

Is any single style of home better than another?

I really believe that the best design is the one that suits the client. In other words: it’s really up to you to decide what’s best — it is your home after all! One other thing that’s important to account for rather than one “best” style of home, is how it fits the region or landscape. A farmhouse with its traditional, covered wrap-around porch is great for locations that rely on the home providing shade, for example.

If a client wants to do something really different, is there a style you’d recommend?

That is a hard question when taste is so personal and subjective. I think Scandinavian or Coastal styles can evolve into many different arenas and can fit in or stand out, whatever your goal or region.

What happens if a client and architect have different opinions on styles — can you ever combine them?

Absolutely. The client should always be a design driver in the process. The architect should lend expertise on all levels and provide good information to make qualified and informed decisions. This of course goes along with vision and design sensibilities to arrive at that well-proportioned and detail-driven project.

What else should clients think about when considering the architectural style of their custom home or remodel?

As far as other things prospective clients should know, think about or keep in mind when considering architectural styles: be flexible but stay true to why you chose to embark on a design and build project. Choose an architect willing to listen to the why and support the design as an opportunity to help with that choice. There are a lot of good design ideas out there and they don’t always come solely from the architect.

One of the best things about custom home design is that it can be exactly what you want it to be. Choosing an architectural style for your custom home or remodel is just the beginning! From unique outdoor living spaces to creating the perfect spot for your favorite piece of art, there are endless opportunities to make your home one of a kind.

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