Don't make you house what it isn't
House Style Definitions
Art Deco: Streamlined, modern of architecture and design that arose between the two world wars; named after a 1925 Paris exhibit "... des arts décoratifs" that featured this style.
Annex style: A building style indigenous to Toronto (especially the Annex neighbourhood), which borrows elements of the Queen Ann and Romanesque; popular at the turn of the century.
Ashlar: Large, smooth-surfaced, square-cut stone, often used as facing on rough wall.
Balustrade: A low railing supported by any number of spindles; found on verandahs, porches, roofs and stairways.
Band course: A band of brick or stone, projecting slightly for visual emphasis, usually dividing upper and lower storeys.
Bay: An opening in a wall; a five-bay house has five openings (windows and/or door) on each level of its facade.
Bargeboard: Wooden trim in highly ornamental patterns, hung along the eaves to decorative effect; also called gingerbread.
Bay-n-Gable: A style of duplex and terrace housing indigenous to Toronto, which borrows heavily from the Queen Anne mode; popular from about 1875 to 1900.
Bracket: A decorative element attached to the cornice; it serves no structural purpose but appears to support the roof.
Brace: See also Bracket. A decorative element attached to the cornice; it serves no structural purpose but appears to support the roof.
Bungalow: Originally a specific style of early twentieth-century house related to the traditional bangala of India now used to describe any single-storey dwelling.
Casement: A window hinged at the sides to swing open, much like a door.
Chamfer: A bevelled corner of edge.
Cornice: A horizontal moulded projection of pattern at tthepoint where the roof meets the wall on a building. Also synonymous with crown moulding when describing furniture or interior ceiling ornamentation.
Cresting: Decorative ironwork, usually quite delicate in appearance, lining the rooftop or accenting a bay window.
Doorcase: The wooden casing that holds a door and sometimes sidelights and transom; often decorated with a fancy crown moulding.
Dormer Window: A window projecting from a roof; usually applies to a bedroom or attic window. From the French dormir(to sleep).
Edwardian: The post Victorian era associated with the reign of Edward VII, form 1901 to 1910.
Elephant Foot Pillar: Pillar style used in Arts & Crafts architecture. The pillar tapers from a narrower top down to a wider base, with trim anchoring the top and bottom.
English Cottage: Early twentieth-century house style patterned after medieval cottages in rural England.
Fenestration: The arrangement of doors and windows in a wall.
Finial: A spike ornament at the apex of a gable, associated with Gothic style.
Flemish bond: One of a number of traditional bricklaying methods and probably the most structurally secure; creates a checkerboard weave of headers (with the end of the brick on view) and stretchers (with the long side of the brick exposed).
Four-square: And Edwardian house style characterized by simple, boxy lines and a mminimumof ornament.
Gable: The space enclosed by two sloping sides of a roof.
Gable roof: A roof that slopes on two sides.
Gambrel: A gable roof with two pitches; the lower is the steeper, while the pitch approaching the ridge is much gentler. Associated with barns and Dutch Colonial Architecture.
Georgian: A style of architecture governed by strict rules of symmetry and balance, inspired by Greco-Roman classicism. First popular during the reigns of George I through IV (1714 - 1830); revived at the close of the nineteenth century.
Glazing bar: The wooden divider that holds a window pane in place.
Gothic: Revival style with roots in medieval cathedral architecture; signature mark is the pointed arch.
Greek Revival: Refers to a revival of Greek themes in domestic architecture during the early nineteenthcentery. Characterized by colossal columns, broad mouldings and temple forms. Revived again at the close of the nineteenth century.
Half-timbering: Wooden framework whose gaps are filled with stucco; signature component of English Cottage style.
Hipped roof: A roof that slopes on four sides.
Hood moulding: An "eyebrow" moulding over a window or door; part of the Gothic tradition.
International Style: Style that began in the 20's and 30's, but who's adoption exploded in the post WWII period. Major charateristics include the adoption of glass, steel and concrete as preferred materials, the transparency of buildings and acceptance of industrialized mass-production techniques.
Italianate: Romantic Victorian style patterned after the ancient villas of Italy.
Lintel: A beam of stone, cast iron or wood spanning an opening.
Loggia: An arcaded passage or gallery.
Mansard: A hipped roof with two pitches; the lower is the steeper, while the pitch approaching the ridge is much gentler, sometimes almost flat. Associated with Second Empire architecture.
Neo-classical: Architecture inspired by classical (Greek and Roman) precedent.
Ogee: A pinched arch that comes to a more pronounced point than the standard Gothic arch.
Oriel: A "free-standing" bay window on an upstairs storey.
Pediment: Usually triangular configuration at the top of a building in classical architecture; especially an enclosed gable.
Picturesque: Romantic architectural styles of the mid-nineteenth century; Gothic Revival and Italianate are the prime examples.
Pier: Massive component that appears to bear much of the structural weight of a building.
Pilaster: An adornment designed to resemble a column, but with no reastructuralal purpose; often a "half-column," slides longitudinally and abutting a wall.
Polychroming: Decorativeve patterns in masonrachieveded with contrasting shades of brick or stone.
Porte cochère: A large shelter extending from an entrance; provides cover for passengers disembarking from carriages and automobiles
Portico: A triangular roofed shelter over a main entrance, supported by columns; integral to the Greek Revival style.
Prairie Style: Early twentieth-century architectural style with emphasis on horizontal planes and wide eaves; espoused by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Quatrefoil: A four-lobed cloverleaf motif often used in gingerbread and Gothic trim. See trefoil.
Queen Anne: A whimsical style of architecture that reached its zenith in the late nineteenth century, characterized by playful detail and a host of ornaments.
Quoin: Brick or stone masonry that projects slightly to emphasize the corner of a building; from the French for "corner".
Regency Cottage: Low-to-the-grounarchitecturalal style of the 1830s, which introduced the verandah.
Romanesque: Massive type of architecture inspired by broad arches of ancient Rome; associated with H.H. Richardson, Chicago Architect, of the late nineteenth century.
Sawtooth gingerbread: Decorative pattern in wood that resembles teeth of a saw.
Sidelight : An elongated window, usually one of a pair flanking each side of a door.
Second Empire : An architectural style rooted in France whose signature mark is a mansard roof; reached its zenith in Canada in the 1870s.
Soffit : Underside of eaves.
Shingle Style : Rustic architectural style whose hallmark is the extensive use of shingles as roofing, cladding and decorative ornament.
Spoolwork : Turned ornamentsusuallyly machine-made, used in repetitive patterns much like bargeboard.
Terra Cotta : Highldecorativeve brick moulded into ornamental patterns, textures and shapes.
Transom window : A window above a door.
Trefoil : A three-lobed motif, usually fretted, often used as a component in bargeboard trim.
Victorian : The era that spanned the reign of Queen victoria (1837 - 1901).
Whitepainters : People keen on restoring old houses.