Getting to know our beloved structures
For the design lover in all of us, Part Select has crafted a handy chart of the styles and types of homes we’re likely to see around the US in any given neighborhood.
This is beautifully done, it’s a drool-worthy graphic, and, of course, it helps the dream of one day living in a Victorian get a little more specific (Queen Ann, naturally.) But as I searched the list for my home – possibly a ranch, but not really anything, I struggled with the idea that any home could really fit into this narrow variety.
What about Frankenstein homes?
What do we call the Frankenstein homes? The ranch home that sports a turret, the post war quick-build boxes, heavily renovated by previous owners, painted orange with a mid-century interior?
As I walk around my neighborhood, there are only a handful of homes that fall into one of these categories. Even as I drive through Beverly Hills, I’m hard pressed to find even one home that fits into the confines of our current home style definitions. There are some homes, obviously, that are perfectly Victorian, or exactly bungalow, or uniquely storybook, but so many homes are some combination of the styles of variety of owners.
Especially the newer monstrosities, which stole the best elements of every style and then made them bigger.
Maybe we’ve evolved beyond classic terms?
It’s not disappointing, exactly. It just means we need to figure out broader parameters for the bastard amalgamations that populate our neighborhoods. I can’t call my home a ranch without garnering the ire of ranch home lovers, and I certainly can’t call it anything else. However, it still has its place in history.
A track home built to accommodate a growing population after WWII. It is it’s own invention. One built in a time of scarcity. One built in a time of need. One built next to hundreds of others just like it.
It seems to me, that we’ve grown out of the basic terms we used to use for classic homes.
At least here in Los Angeles, these definitions are obscured by a classist smog, one that prioritizes uniqueness, of course, but one that also ignores a history of housing need. Homes that were built for everyone.
As our houses become even more diverse, as a new style of homes are built, and as we update our kitchens and add additions, perhaps the classic home categories will serve fewer and fewer purposes. Maybe one day they will simply be defined by the content of their characters, and not the stucco siding of their exteriors.