The Top 10 Home Architecture Styles in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is an amazing city with a lot to offer, which is clearly reflected in the ever rising housing prices and low inventory. We are approaching the end of January 2018 and there are roughly only 2600 homes available on the market and it costs on average $50,000 more to purchase a property now than it did last year, yet this doesn't seem to be deterring buyers from jumping into the LA property market.

If you're interested in purchasing your perfect house here in Los Angeles, you're in the right place! There are so many unique architecture styles here in LA that you probably aren't even aware of. I will be voicing my opinions on some of these styles, but note that it really comes down to personal taste and that one architecture style is not necessarily better than the other! Note that the photos used for references here are actual homes either recently sold or for sale in Los Angeles. The majority of them are also very large mansions (and expensive) to give you a clearer picture of each style of architecture and you will most likely be able to find any of these styles at your specific price point. 

This is not an exhaustive list but rather a comprehensive one that covers the most frequently seen house architecture styles in Los Angeles. 


1. Cape Cod

Cape Cod style house in Sherman Oaks. Listed for sale at $2,900,000. ( 4600 sqft)

Cape Cod style house in Sherman Oaks. Listed for sale at $2,900,000. (4600 sqft)

New construction Cape Cod style houses have been sprawling up throughout the neighborhoods of Sherman Oaks and Encino very rapidly since 2015. I'm not a particular fan of this style simply because there are so many new constructions in the Valley that use the same color scheme and materials to the point where it seems like one large cookie-cutter neighborhood. 

 

2. Mediterranean/Spanish

Mediterranean house in Beverly Center/Miracle Mile. Listed for sale at $3,100,000.  (3842 sqft) 

Mediterranean house in Beverly Center/Miracle Mile. Listed for sale at $3,100,000. (3842 sqft) 

 Without a doubt one of the most common and classic style of houses in Southern California. Easily recognizable with the red roofs and (usually) exterior white paint.

 

3. Tuscan 

Tuscan style house in Calabasas. Listed for sale at $10,995,000.  (10565 sqft) 

Tuscan style house in Calabasas. Listed for sale at $10,995,000. (10565 sqft) 

Tuscan homes look similar to Spanish/Mediterranean ones, but often have a lot more masonry and stone work on the exterior. 

 

4. Tudor

Tudor house in Hancock Park. Sold for $2,375,000 last year.  (3170 sqft) 

Tudor house in Hancock Park. Sold for $2,375,000 last year. (3170 sqft) 

To be very honest, I'm not usually a fan of Tudor style homes because the steep sloping roofs combined with the heavy looking decorative half-timbering can look...like a witch's house? (Really, just google tutor style homes and you'll find a lot of darker, scarier looking houses). However, this specific Tudor style house is very beautiful. I am very fond of the lighter, neutral color scheme and the decorative timber on the exterior being painted white. This is a great example of taking an old 1920's style house and reviving it with a more contemporary feel. 

 

5. Victorian

Victorian style (Queen Anne) house in Hancock Park. Listed at $7,999,999.  (12,147 sqft) 

Victorian style (Queen Anne) house in Hancock Park. Listed at $7,999,999. (12,147 sqft) 

There are very strong opinions and clear distinctions between those who detest Victorian style homes and those who find them them absolutely stunning. I wouldn't say I detest them, I just would prefer to never step foot inside of one.

The fact that the majority of these Victorian homes here in Los Angeles are just very old and built in the 1800's is unnerving. I also am not a fan of the interior closed-plan layouts of these homes - each room is divided, there are multiple stories including an attic and basement (no, no no). I'm not undermining the artistic qualities of the house and the efforts of the original architects and designers, but the Victorian style house just has an air of spookiness that does not sit right with me. 

 

6. Craftsman

Craftsman style house in Studio City, listed at $7,550,000.  (10,015 sqft) 

Craftsman style house in Studio City, listed at $7,550,000. (10,015 sqft) 

Craftsman style houses are known for the low pitched gabled roofs, deeply overhanging broad eaves and large front porches beneath the extension of the main roof. The exterior of the house will often consist of a combination of materials including wooden/shingled siding, stone for the porch piers and foundation as well as brick and stucco. They also are known for single dormers (the roof structure with one window) as opposed to a cape cod style house which has multiple. 

In general, craftsman style houses in Los Angeles are a lot more affordable than the other architecture styles mentioned in this article. There are a lot of craftsman style houses in areas such as Jefferson Park, Harvard Heights and Vermont Square in LA. I like the concept behind craftsman homes, however they tend to look a little heavy and bold for my taste. 

 

7. French

French style house, sold for $7.2M.  (5900 sqft) 

French style house, sold for $7.2M. (5900 sqft) 

French style homes are one of my personal favorites, as they look elegant and sophisticated. They are characterized by their very steep roofs and symmetrical proportions (which makes it really easy on the eyes). Some French style homes are made entirely of brick and can tend to look a little heavier, which is why I like this particular French Hancock Park mansion which uses it more sparingly along the sides. I also fell in love with this color scheme of periwinkle grey and blue tones throughout. 

 

8. Traditional

Traditional style house in Pacific Palisades, listed at $38,000,000  (15,642 sqft) 

Traditional style house in Pacific Palisades, listed at $38,000,000 (15,642 sqft) 

Traditional homes are often a blend of different historical architectural styles. I appreciate the warm and inviting look of a traditional house, but if you prefer open-plan layout homes, you might not appreciate the "traditional" floor plan which includes sectioned off rooms (formal living, formal dining). The traditional house is really a timeless classic and it is very hard to get bored of this style. 

 

9. Modern

Modern house in West Hollywood Hills. Listed for $36,985,000. 

Modern house in West Hollywood Hills. Listed for $36,985,000. 

Modern homes are very, very easy to tell apart from the other styles. Modern style architecture is characterized by lack of ornament (decorative design), emphasis of rectangular forms with no roof, oversized glass sliding doors and windows to allow lots of natural light to come through. Modern style architecture is my personal favorite because I enjoy having an open, airy layout. The frequent use of large areas of glass also allows the house to take advantage of any dramatic views and the surrounding landscaping. 

You tend to find a lot of multi-million dollar modern style houses in the 90069 zip code of West Hollywood. The houses on the actual hills of the 90069 area easily cost between $10,000,000 to $40,000,000, but you can also find modern (new construction) homes further down on flatter areas of West Hollywood, Fairfax, Melrose and Beverly Grove for less (they tend to range from $4,000,000 - $6,000,000). 

 

10. Contemporary

Beautiful contemporary home in Los Feliz, listed for $5,049,000.  (5049 sqft) 

Beautiful contemporary home in Los Feliz, listed for $5,049,000. (5049 sqft) 

Contemporary style homes are always changing, which makes this last house architecture style a little more complicated to define. I like to think of it as a happy medium between a traditional style and a modern style house. It often blends the exterior shape of a traditional style house with modern elements such as large multi-sliding doors, clean lines (as opposed to lots of arches, decorative molding) and a more open plan layout. 


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