House-hunting is a complex process. There are so many factors to balance, from your budget to the area to the condition of the place you’re thinking to buy.
And that’s without taking into account the style of the house itself! Perhaps you have big ideas about how you’d like to decorate or the amenities that you need, but if you’re new to the market and you haven’t given much thought to architecture in the past, it can be a good idea to do a bit of research into the kinds of features you might expect to see on different houses.
How many floors would you like?
When we think of family houses, two-storey homes (plus maybe a basement and/or attic) seem to be the norm, though there’s something romantic about a house with a third floor tucked away at the top. When you take your budget into account, you’ll probably find yourself trading off between height and width, with comparable square footage. In other words, you might end up in a tall, narrow house or a short, wide one.
This latter style is exemplified by Australian ranch-style homes, which work particularly well because there is so much space around, with the climate allowing for a greater crossover between indoors and outdoors. You don’t want to be trapped up in a third floor bedroom when all the action is going on downstairs in the garden or patio!
Perhaps this is the reason that bungalow style homes have also been popular in California. Entrance paths that were integrated into carefully-cultivated front gardens emphasized the great outdoors, while interiors were decorated in dark shades to promote coolness and offer some respite from the bright world beyond.
Maybe you’re more concerned with aesthetics than with these practical considerations – nothing wrong with that! Little can fill a person with more pride than owning a ‘statement’ home that catches eyes and turns heads. The art deco style of the thirties and forties is one such example.
The designs were simple yet bold, calling to mind the jazz age and finery of progressive America while being produced on budgets that reflected a tightening of purses, post-great depression. Hipped roofs with terracotta tiles paired classical textures with modern shapes. Whether their imposing facades were of any practical benefit was quite beyond the point!
Have a look around the neighborhood before you make any big decisions regarding your big purchase – you might just find some fresh inspiration.