Historic New England Style

New England home design ranges from coastal to primitive, farmhouse to Colonial, yet there are certain elements that evoke that quintessential New England look, and these homes show it off in style.

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Keep It Simple and Timeless

This contemporary take on a Cape Cod house pulls in classic design elements, such as the cedar shake shingles, a high-pitched roof with little space between the window and roofline and no overhang on the gables. Located in the coastal town of Sagaponack, N.Y., the home pairs its shingle exterior with blue-gray window trim, and native wildflowers add softness to the landscaping.

Why They Opt for Cedar

New Englanders have turned to cedar shake siding for generations because cedar has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that make the wood less likely to warp or crack from water damage. Not only is that an important trait for the wet, coastal climate, but cedar is also an effective insulator, keeping heat from escaping the home during cold winters.

Consider the Weather

Most architectural design choices find their origins in helping the home withstand the region's weather and elements. When coastal New England rains set in, you don't want your guests to get wet. A covered portico keeps everyone dry as they come and go. Instead of a more modern paved driveway, the HGTV Dream Home 2015 features a traditional New England pea gravel driveway, which also improves drainages and prevents erosion.

Mix Up the Exteriors

Combining two New England faves — vertical board-and-batten and white plank siding — this farmhouse feels right at home on the Rhode Island coast. Lantern-inspired outdoor sconces flank the Robin's egg-blue front door, and traditional columns define the narrow porch area.

Rebuilding the Past

Farmhouses have a centuries-long history in New England, so when the designers at Garrison Foundry were tasked with renovating this Garrison, N.Y. home, they wanted to bring it back to its original architecture. The front porch was reconstructed, and a standing-seam metal roof pairs with classic white shiplap. Pretty detailing on the main gable add a touch of Victorian charm.

Landscaping That Matches Your Home

This Cape Cod home makes a great first impression. Quintessentially New England, the landscape features neatly trimmed hedges, rows of hydrangeas and a welcoming arbor covered in rambling roses. The hardscaping choices also boast a northeastern aesthetic with a pea gravel driveway that leads to the front brick walkway.

Reimagining Colonial

Colonial homes were originally a product of necessity, but toward the end of the 1700s became more expansive and detailed. Most played host to a traditional gable roof, clapboard siding, double-hung windows and a simple covered entrance. As time would pass and families changed, people added extensions on to their existing homes. This new construction establishes a sense of the Colonial history with its front façade and then gives the impression of add-ons, stretching past the stone chimney to the garage.

All About the Shingles

Shingle-style homes are often considered a solely American design, though they're reminiscent of Queen Anne- and Victorian-style homes. Incredibly asymmetrical with visually complex gambrel roofs, the homes are wrapped in continuous wood shingles. The classic-lined exterior combines with weathered, laid-back materials to make shingle-style a favorite architecture for coastal and country homes.

Back to Basics

Primitive style is a predecessor of farmhouse with raw wood, weathered hues and an air of simplicity. Located in Cape Cod, Mass., but without the typical trappings of a Cape Cod home, this rustic dwelling still embraces a moment in history. Minimal landscaping doesn't overwhelm the straightforward home's wood plank siding, stacked stone chimney and metal roof.

Remember the Originals

The Farley Garrison House, built in 1665 in Billerica, Mass., is thought to be one of the oldest homes in America. Originating in Colonial New England, saltbox architecture gets its name from its roofline, a sloping gable roof that mimicked boxes used to store salt. The homes achieved the roof style by adding on a lean-to or extension to the back of a one-and-a-half or two-story home.

Update the Traditional

With views of the Hudson River, this Craftsman bungalow seamlessly blends into its natural surroundings. The charcoal gray shingles deliver a modern twist, and metal bi-fold doors completely open up to the deck, merging the interior living room with the outdoor space.

Let There Be Light

Well, it's hard to beat a New England home that has an actual lighthouse attached to it. Blending Colonial and farmhouse architecture, the house is finished with the requisite wood shingles. As with most older New England homes, additions were built on to the original structure as families and finances changed.

Say Yes to the Barn

With its rich culture of farming, barns dot the scene of many New England pastures and fields. This New Hampshire residence embraces the characteristics of a barn — shiplap exterior, metal roof, wooden shutters and a cupola — to create a modern home that feels timeless.

Embrace Natural Materials

A mix of gray and sand-colored stones are stacked to create a rustic garden wall around this New England house. Inspired by the barns of the region, this home has a decidedly farmhouse aesthetic with a gray wood exterior and metal roof.

Neutral But Not Basic

This historic Massachusetts home pairs neutral clapboard with black shutters for an eye-popping, contrasting design. The always-classic gambrel roof mimics the style of a barn and brings an utterly New England vibe to the home.

From: William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance and Luxury Portfolio International®