With crains hovering over construction of apartment and condo buildings, it’s easy to assume Arlingtonians only prefer high-rise homes. However, even in this densly populated county, a handful of home styles, most pre-dating the 1950s, remain timeless and popular.
The word “bungalow” comes from the Indian word bangla, which, in the 19th century, referred to houses built in the Bengal style. Bangla were thatched-roof cottages that had low roofs and porches built around them.
The Clarendon and Lyon Park neighborhoods are filled with post-World War II bungalows and newer versions like the townhouses at Market Common Clarendon.
Local architect Mickey Simpson has created many of the reproduction bungalows throughout Arlington.
The most popular house style in the Washington metro area, the colonial is characterized by its simple two-story box style with a centered panel front door flanked by rectangular windows.
Because this design is sought after, sometimes real estate agents loosely refer to homes as colonial, even if they are split-level ramblers.
True colonial homes were built before the 1800s and can be found in historic districts in Alexandria, Georgetown, Boston and New York. Georgian and federal styles are subcategories of colonial homes.
Colonial Revival homes emerged in the 1990s with the explosion of McMansions. Most newly constructed homes in this area are some version of a colonial. Mansions along Arlington Ridge are mostly some form of colonial architecture.
Sometimes mistaken for the bungalow, the craftsman style home originated in Southern California during the early 1900s. Rich in wood trim, craftsman houses are like bungalows with a better wardrobe.
They feature a low-pitched roof with columns for supporting the porch. Some porches have low piers, exposed trusses and wood beams. This style home is sprinkled throughout Arlington in neighborhoods in Clarendon and near Crystal City.
This uniquely American-style house is sometimes called a rambler or rancher. First built in the 1920s, the ranch style was extremely popular during the 1940s to 1970s, as new suburbs were built to meet the demands of the baby boom. The ranch house is noted for its long single-story profile and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration. A modern take on the Western ranch, these homes were designed to be affordable and easy to construct.
In Arlington, ranch homes can be seen along George Mason Drive.
Farmhouse homes are a less formal traditional home; a simpler version of a colonial. These homes usually have large front porches that wrap around the house. The railings on the porches are thinner, less substantial than those found on bungalow or craftsman porches. The historic Maywood area has the best examples of farmhouse style. Clarendon Architect Michael Sauri of TriVistaUSA has remodeled a 100-year-old farmhouse.
Cape Cods originated in, you guessed it, Cape Cod, Mass. Typically these simple structures, with wood or wood-like shingles and siding, appear to be single-story ramblers, but have a half-story in the form of an attic room. This quaint style can be found in the Claremont Historic District.