Close your eyes and imagine the most quintessentially American, Norman Rockwell-style home you can possibly think of. There’s a big, wide porch with a rocking chair, or maybe a porch swing, isn’t there? There’s a lush green lawn and a warm, inviting feel — the sort of house that no matter where it might be, will always feel like home. That’s a country-style house: a cozy slice of Americana, that is traditional, timeless, and always in demand.
What is a Country-Style House?
Country-style houses refer to a broad style of home design, drawing their inspiration from traditional barn, cabin, and farmhouse designs which reflects their rural origins. These homes are made with natural materials, particularly wood, with a large, spacious porch, and cozy, nostalgic feel.
What Makes a House Country-Style?
Typically, country-style houses are only one or two stories high, and are well proportioned. They have pitched, fabled roofs with overhanging eaves, often with windowed dormers, which add extra space and light to what was often originally attic space.
Country-style houses have at least one spacious porch area that functions as indoor and outdoor living spaces, creating a seamless transition between home and nature. These porches can be covered stoops, or full wraparounds, or may run the entire width of the front of the house. hey may be screened or open, and often have some kind of seating visible from the front of the home, like a swing or rocking chairs.
Inside, a country-style house will have large, open rooms which encourage communal living, making these houses great for families, or people who enjoy entertaining. The centerpiece of this style of house is a large country kitchen, which is designed as much for socialization as it is for cooking. These kitchens will usually be situated around a large central island, with lots of cabinets and room for cooking, an eat-in dining area, and a pantry.
Though country-style is a broad category with few firm rules, most houses in this category feature one or more of the following:
- Wooden siding
- Well-proportioned exterior
- One or two stories
- Front or wraparound porch.
- Gabled roof
- Symmetrical, double-hung windows
- Decorative shuttered windows
- Wood details
- Flexible floor plans
History of Country-Style Homes
The earliest country-style homes were built by early American homesteaders, who constructed their farmhouses with whatever building materials were available locally, and suitable to the regional climate and geography. These settlers built houses using styles and construction techniques from their home countries, which is why there is such variations in country-style homes, depending on which part of the country you’re in. In New England, harsh, snowy winters influenced the steeply-pitched roofs of saltbox houses; short, compact homes were built in the windy plains of the heartland; sprawling, low-profile ranch-style houses were built in the hot, arid deserts of the Southwest.
Country-style houses were built, first and foremost, to be functional. For early homesteaders, there was no separation between work and home, and the houses were designed to support life on the farm. Large porches gave farm workers a space to remove dirty clothes before coming indoors. They provided shelter from the elements; homesteaders could keep their windows wide open for cool air on hot rainy days, and could sit on the shady porch to keep an eye on the farm, protected from the direct heat of the sun.
Rear and side porches often opened up directly into a kitchen or washing area, which made it easier to bring food in from the farm without tracking dirt and debris all over the house.