The Shingle Style Home

Hi, friends! I hope y’all had a lovely weekend! After a slow week of relaxed days and less blogging, we’re back to our regular schedule. For today I’ve prepared a post that has been on my mind for quite a while. My love of beautiful homes and architecture determined me to look closer at an architectural style that is stunning, both inside and out. It is Architectural Digest’s favorite home style featured, the shingle style home (or better said, the shingle style mansion).

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One of the first distinctly American architectural styles, the shingle style home was developed in New England between 1880 and 1900. Although it generously borrowed details from other Victorian styles popular at the time, it is deeply rooted in the American vernacular. Porches, shingles and an asymmetrical layout were inspired by the popular Queen Anne; Palladian windows, gambrel roofs and the extensive use of stone pillars and foundations were typically used in the Richardson Romanesque style homes. All these different architectural elements found a harmonious expression in a new style that is both informal and eclectic.

The majority of shingle style homes are massive and emphasized on the horizontal. They have a strong indoor-outdoor connection with ample windows, wrap-around porches and balconies – details that made the shingle style particularly popular in sea side resorts. A freedom of design is encouraged – unexpected rooflines, intricate shapes and asymmetric floor plans as well as architectural curves, are only a few key characteristics of the style.

Although it can be difficult to pin-point at times, all shingle style homes share a few details that make recognizing easier:

  • In contrast with other Victorian-era styles, the shingle style has very little applied decoration. The intricate detailing that most Victorian style homes are known for was replaced with simple cedar shingles that was either stained, painted or left to age beautifully in the proximity of salty water.
  • Natural materials like wood and stone were used for the exteriors. The roof and walls were covered in cedar shingles. The more expensive homes had ample stone foundations and pillars that extended through the first floor.
  • Complex roof shapes, Palladian windows, towers, gambrels are all typical to the shingle style.
  • The interiors are ample, with vaulted ceilings and plenty of natural light.
  • Windows are in general large, double-hung with a single-pane sash at the bottom and a multi-pane sash at the top; clustered in pairs or in rows of three.

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Overall, the shingle style home is a beautiful expression of a fine, rustic elegance. The complexity of its shapes and its massive size, as well as the quality of materials used, make the style more costly and therefore, less accessible. But it sure looks incredible!



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  1. March 27, 2017 / 11:39 am

    Although I live in a stucco mid century home in California now, I grew up in a shingle style home in the Northeast and spent many summers on Nantucket so that style home will always hold a special place in my heart. Love these photos!

    • Eva Contreras
      March 27, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you, Elizabeth! How wonderful that you grew up in one! It is one of my favorite American architectural styles, though slightly more grand-looking that the Cape Cod cottage I love so much 🙂 Have a great week! xo