When you choose to remodel your house, whether it’s in Whatcom County or elsewhere, an important consideration can be making design choices that are in keeping with the style of your home.
However, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Home styles in Whatcom County are plenteous, and it can be difficult to tell which style your house hews to — especially if it’s been added to or remodeled over the years. Some of the styles you might see around Whatcom County include Ranch, Split Level, Neocolonial, Minimal Traditional, Farmhouse, Craftsman and Victorian. In this article, we’ll focus on the last four.
Victorian (and Folk Victorian). Victorian houses are easy enough to spot, with their decorative spindles, bay windows and colorful exteriors. The Gamwell House on 6th Street in Fairhaven is a great example. Folk Victorian houses, however, can be trickier to identify. A folk house, essentially, is a budget house that pays more attention to function than to design. They were built primarily to provide shelter, without attention to the prevailing styles. Nonetheless, many builders and owners still wanted to dress up their homes, often adding decorative trim or siding details — and the Folk Victorian was born. Folk Victorians were common until the early 1900s.
Minimal traditional. Built in the time after the Great Depression and before World War II, minimal traditional homes were designed for a budget-conscious country. These houses had barely any eaves or roof overhangs. Windows often were decorated with shutters, and rooflines were moderate. They weren’t completely without style, but their basic makeup makes them great canvases for anyone wanting to spruce up a home through remodeling.
Craftsman. Walk along Broadway Park in Bellingham and you’ll get your fill of gorgeous Craftsman (also called Arts and Crafts) houses in no time. These houses, commonly built from 1900 to 1930, are often symmetrical and minimalistic, a reaction to the gaudy decorations that were emblematic of the Victorian style in the late 1800s. Craftsman homes put a premium on gorgeous woodwork and built-in cabinetry.
Farmhouse. Many argue that the Farmhouse style and the Craftsman style are closely related. That may be true, but Farmhouse style has become more about design — comfy, traditional and approachable items that lend a live-in quality to the space. With its variations (modern farmhouse, industrial farmhouse, etc.), the style can be amended to fit almost any house design.
To identify your own house’s design, you might browse the local historic register to look at homes emblematic of the various styles. In addition, this article also offers a good overview of the various styles common in the past century. Find your home on the Whatcom County Assessor’s website to find the construction year and other important details, and then look at the details on your home — roof, door trim, siding, construction materials — to make a best guess of your home’s style. Then you can begin to decide what design choices to make when remodeling.
However, remember this: While it can be good to pay homage to your house’s history and character, it’s also important to make design choices you like and that fit your family’s lifestyle. For example, if you own an old Craftsman bungalow but feel that the Mid-Century Modern style is more your thing, go for it! Give Hudson Remodeling a call, and our Whatcom County design/build team can help walk you through design decisions that accentuate your home’s beautiful features while adding character that fits your personality.