Homes with Holly

New England Style Homes: A Guide For Buyers

Living in New England, or even driving through New England, you see beautiful homes everywhere. So how many times do you drive past one of these homes and are unsure how to describe it to your realtor? With nearly 400 years of history, New England is home to a collection of architectural styles that surpasses any other part of the country. But what are they? 

There are roughly ten different styles of homes in Rhode Island and New England that you’ll come across. Over the past hundred years or so, architects started to combine elements of these styles to create customized homes. The most common New England style homes you’ll see on the market today are Colonial, Cape Cod, Raised Ranch, and Ranch. To make sure you know what it is that you’re looking at, what you love, and most importantly, what you’re looking to buy, you need to understand what these styles are. 

Source: swenson granite 


This style of home is very popular in the US, however, it originated right here in New England in the early 17th century. The first Colonial homes, constructed by British settlers were rustic square two-story homes, with a chimney at the center of the home, and a balanced exterior- like you would see in the counties of England.  Over the years these homes have been modernized and updated a bit, but the design remains the same.

Typical Features:

  • Symmetrical facade
  • Two to 2.5 stories
  • Square or rectangular shape
  • Medium-pitch roof
  • Often paired chimneys
  • Covered front porch
  • Clapboard, shingle, or brick exteriors
  • Few to no overhangs
  • Glass-pane windows
  • Centrally located front doors that maintain the style’s symmetry

Cape Cod

Like the Colonial homes, this design was modeled after the simple and practical ones you would find in England. However, the Cape Cod-style was adapted to the harsh, snowy winters in New England. These homes are known for their steep roof, rectangular shape, and large chimney. The shape of the home allowed for additions to be easily made. Originally these homes were single-story, but have been renovated to add an additional half story, hence the dormers you will see as a part of the design. 

Typical Features:

  • Steep roof with side gables
  • Double dormers
  • Large chimney
  • Small porch
  • Front door flanked by multi-pane windows
  • Unfinished space above the first floor


Ranch homes are another common home across the US. You’ll find plenty of these in New England suburbs. This style became popular after WWII when families wanted economical homes in suburban developments. These homes are known for their one-story, L-shaped floor plan, with attached garage. You’ll find a sliding door on the back of the home that leads to a patio. Ranch homes are simplistic in design. 

Typical Features:

  • Long, low rooflines
  • Wide overhanging eaves
  • Huge windows
  • Sliding glass doors
  • Simple decorations
  • Open plan living areas
  • Single story residential design
  • Attached garages and back patio
  • A mixture of materials outside including brick, wood, stone, and concrete

Raised Ranch 

This style gained popularity in the 1950s as a modification to the ranch-style home from above. You’ll notice some similar features in the two styles, but a Raised Ranch has an extended floor plan for an additional upper level divided at the entry. These homes can also be referred to as “Split-Level” homes. The intention behind the design was to create three spaces; one for sleeping, one for living, and one for the basement. The partially below-ground basement is typically finished and furnished. The garage is also attached to the home, but unlike a ranch, will sit below the bedrooms. 

Typical Features:

  • long roof with gentle slopes
  • simple, open plan
  • recreation areas, separated from sleeping areas
  • garage attached to the house
  • sliding glass doors overlooking the patio
  • windows with a large glazing area, sometimes decorated with non-functional blinds
  • vaulted ceilings with exposed timber beams, often in combination with tongue-and-groove roof decking
  • use of a combination of plaster and brick, as well as wood or stone in outdoor decoration;
  • wide overhangs of the roof
  • cross, gable, or hip roof
  • simple and/or rustic interior and exterior decoration
  • Windows with thin-profile metal frames (steel or sliding aluminum)

There are many other New England-style homes you will find when cruising through. More often than not, these homes are typically not found on the market and have been preserved as historical homes. These styles are Federal, Greek Revival, Tudor, and Victorian. New homes tend to incorporate elements from all of these styles. Whether you want a Colonial with a large wrap-around porch, or Capes and Ranches with second stories, you will find exactly what you’re looking for in New England. 

Now that you are more familiar with some of the New England-style homes, you should have an idea of what style you fell in love with while driving through. Contact Holly Bellucci today to get started looking for your dream home in New England.