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Nashville Real Estate Home Styles

by Brian Copeland on March 6, 2010

Middle Tennessee has a plethora of home styles that reflect our history and evolution. Home architectural styles include new construction, Victorian, shotgun, ranch, atomic ranch, Tudor, cottage, bungalow, industrial, contemporary, foursquare, Italianate, pioneer, mission, colonial, Cape Cod, Georgian, neo-Georgian, farm house, split foyer, among many more.


New or newer construction: Typically, homes with foundations less than five years old will fall into the “newer” category.  In the greater Nashville area, a great majority of the new/newer stock lies in the suburban areas.  You will find limited urban infill stock in the historic neighborhoods.  Many of those have been built to meet neighborhood aesthetic guidelines.


Historic: Typically, a historic home is characterized by one that has a foundation that is over 50 years old.  Some have been completely gutted while others still maintain some historic significance.  Whether your a historic home purist or someone who just likes the style, Nashville has tons of pockets with historic homes.  You can find most of this stock in Nashville’s urban districts (Sylvan Park, Belle Meade, East Nashville, Green Hills, Hillsboro Village, Woodmont-In-Waverly, et.al.), historic Franklin, Old Hickory and a few other areas.


Ranch: A single story home with low-pitched gable roofs and long, narrow rectangular shape.  Popularized in the 1950s, they style continued to be built heavily through the 1970s.  Inside, you’ll likely find one, long, narrow hallway with rooms off the hall.  Many have only one or one and a half bath and are known for small closets.  You will find numerous “atomic ranch” style homes popping up in several areas.  The bulk of the ranch stock in greater Nashville is located in Rosebank, Inglewood, Crieve Hall, Westmeade, Green Hills, McMurray Hills, Madison, Goodlettsville, Brentwood, Seven Springs, Brookmeade, Donelson and Hermitage.


Victorian: A loosely used term in the States for an architectural style inspired from buildings from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.  One common term used for many in the U.S. is a home with “ginger breading.”  The Victorian stock is common in Historic Edgefield, Lockeland Springs, Sylvan Park, Richland Park and 12South/Belmont.


Tudor: While the name suggests these homes were built in the 1500s during the Tudor Dynasty, they are characterized by decorative timbers, brick exteriors, multiple gables and some rounded windows and doors.  This style is often jokingly referred to as Swiss Miss cottages.  The Tudor stock is heaviest in Hillsboro Village, Inglewood, Eastwood Neighbors, Richland/Cherokee Park and Belle Meade.


Cottages: Cottages are typically small and boxy, but pack a strong punch in square footage values.  The typically are square or rectangular and take up a small footprint.  The can having brick exteriors, vinyl siding or wood siding.  You’ll find cottages all over Nashville.  Some of my favorites are in Brookside, Sylvan Heights, Trinity Heights and Berry Hill.


Bungalows/Arts and Crafts: Bungalows and Craftman styles are synonymous in the greater Nashville market.  Bungalows throughout the area were built in the 1920s to the 1940s, and typically have 1.5 or 2 stories with a character window and gable in the roof line.  Craftsman homes and bungalows are isolated to certain neighborhoods including Richland Park, 12South, Hillsboro Village, Lockeland Springs, Cleveland Park, Greenwood Neighbors, et. al.


Industrial/Contemporary: Nashville’s industrial and contemporary stock is spread randomly throughout the area.  A few areas are known for their modern architecture, including Sylvan Heights, Nevada Heights, Katie Hill, 12South, Germantown and Little Hollywood.

Those are all the styles mentioned on the Buyer Survey, however, here are a few more styles we have in the Nashville area.


Foursquare: With it’s obvious namesake, a foursquare is usually a perfect square home on the exterior with a square floorplan, creating the “four squares” everywhere you look.  Known for its simple style, it was able to be built on a small city lot and could easily be ordered from the Sears catalog for assembly.  It’s characterized by a 2.5 story design, a simple box shape, four-room floorplan, full-width porch with wide starirs and a large central dormer.  Foursquares are all over the Nashville area.  You’re most likely to find one in East Nashville, Historic Richland and Cherokee Parks, Inglewood, Franklin and 12South.  One of the dream drives for foursquare is along Belmont Boulevard in Nashville’s Hillsboro Village.


Italianate: As part of the Victorian housing style movement, Italianate homes possessed the most popular home style in the United States by the 1860s.  With Nashville’s housing history, only a few Italianate homes still stand.  The great fire of East Nashville wiped out several, leaving only a few behind in Historic Edgefield, Franklin, Madison, Pulaski, Rosebank and Germantown.  Italianate homes are characterized by low pitched or flat roofs, balanced rectangular shape, tall-2-4 stories, square cupola and heavily molded doors.  Several new home builders are replicating this grand style in their designs.  You won’t get the historic neighborhood feel, but you’ll get the modern conveniences with the classic style.


Adorable 1930s tiny cottage.

Shotgun: A variation of the Victorian era-style, this home’s namesake has an intriguing sordid past.  It’s a called a shotgun, because you could stand in one end of the home and shoot out the front of it with minimal windows, giving you an edge over your so-called neighbor.  Also, it’s called shotgun because if a shot was fired through the front of the home, it would go straight through the home.  I don’t know what this says about Nashville, but we do have a ton of these homes throughout all the urban districts, especially Cleveland Park, Historic Buena Vista, Sylvan Park, Woodbine and Sunnyside.  They also fit quite nicely on some of Nashville’s smallest urban lots.


Pioneer: Believe it or not, we still have several log cabins and pioneer style homes through Nashville.  In fact, one sits at on one of the busiest, most expensive streets of Green Hills.  You’ll also find newly constructed pioneer homes in areas like Whites Creek and Joelton.  Some of the logs have been covered up for energy efficiency, but the interior walls still have the mortar and logs showing clearly.


Mission: Mi casa es su casa can be truly spoken in several areas around Nashville.  With their Spanish inspired exteiors, villas, mission homes and haciendas are in interspersed among some of Nashville’s staple neighborhoods.  You’ll find a few hidden in Lockeland Springs’ Little Hollywood, Belle Meade, Inglewood, Hillsboro/Vanderbilt and even a few in Green Hills.


Colonial: Known for its majestic columns, multiple spindles, upper level balconies and rich, brick exteriors, colonial homes are a southern staple in these parts.  With plantations being common throughout the south, the style evolved and continued to exist in even the urban areas.  Just like the Cape Cods, this style is all over the Nashville area.  It’s easier to tell you where they are not rather than were they are.


Cape Cod: It’s impossible to drive down streets in certain areas of Nashville and not see lot after lot of Cape Cod style homes.  Recognizable for their multiple dormers in the roof, shutters and flat brick or clapboard front, Cape Cods not only have a home in Massachusetts, but also in numerous middle Tennessee neighborhoods.  Check out the most generous supply of Cape Cods in westside’s Green Hills, Belle Meade and Brookside.


Georgian: Now a Southern architectural staple, the Georgian and Neo-Georgian style reflects the early 1700s when King George I ruled England.  Imagine a colonial home minus the columns and upper porch.  You will still see some of these features on a Georgian, but most of our versions are known for their flat front brick or wooden clapboard exterior and two story design.  The roof line is extremely simple with minimum overhang, and the interior floor plan is formal and compartmentalized.  Historically, a Georgian has a paneled front door centered on the home, flattened columns on each side of the door, five windows across the front with nine or twelve small window panes and double chimneys.  Georgians are common in Brentwood, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Oak Hill, Southmeade, Westmeade, Bellevue, Madison, Goodlettsville, Antioch, Old Hickory, Donelson and Hermitage.an Park, Richland Park and 12South/Belmont.


Farm House: Just because it has the word “farm” in its name doesn’t necessarily mean that in Nashville or Franklin you’re going to get a farm or even a bunch of land.  Historically, this small homes were built in wide open spaces and few true historic farm houses remain in the area due to development.  A farmhouse can be one story or two story and has a super simple style.  Front porches and a simple roof line are common, as they were easy and economical to build and promoted a neighborly feel.  You’ll be hard pressed to find one with a lot of land, but you will find the style in Whites Creek, Sylvan Park, Scottsboro, Inglewood, Madison, Donelson, Hermitage, Woodbine, Glenrose and Leipers Fork.


Split Foyer: Part of the ranch family, split foyer homes are exactly what their name says they are.  You walk through the main door and land in the foyer.  That foyer splits into usually two directions.  One direction up the stairs and the other down the stairs.  You’re guaranteed steps no matter what you do in this style.  Usually rectangular in shape, the style is all over Nashville.  You’re likely to find a generous stock in Madison, Crieve Hall, Oak Hill, McMurray Hills, Haywood Hills, Brentwood, Rosebank, Brookmeade, Westmeade, Bellevue, the list goes on and on.

What is your favorite home style?  If you’re in the middle Tennessee area, what style of home do you live in or consider significant enough to add to this list?  Please weigh in the comments section below.

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