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Top 10 Exterior Styles

By: Jeannie Matteucci
From farmhouse to midcentury modern, learn what architectural details make up these popular designs.
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Midcentury Modern

Among some of the country's best architecture, this midcentury bungalow features cast concrete blocks laid in a brick-like pattern and a gently sloped low-profile roofline.

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Photo: Robert Linton

Cape Cod

Cape Cods originated in the 1600s and were designed to withstand the sometimes-stormy weather on the Massachusetts coastline. Cape Cods are traditionally modest boxes with few exterior details — simple gray shingles and a dormer window or two — but they have evolved over the years, now incorporating different styles and influences.

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Contemporary homes are a broad category that often feature an interesting mix of natural materials, horizontal lines and flat or low-pitched roofs. These homes often emphasize a strong connection between the indoors and outdoors, with large walls of glass that allow natural light inside.

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Photo: Chipper Hatter


Cottages are smaller-scale homes that are charming and cozy. Used for everyday living and as vacation homes, cottages often include dormer windows, an inviting porch with wicker furniture, or a casual garden with a picket fence and bright flowers.

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