Guide to Popular Ann Arbor Home Styles


Guide to Popular Ann Arbor Home Styles

In addition to wonderful green spaces and beautiful scenery (we’re called Tree Town for a reason), Ann Arbor’s beautiful homes are a part of the fabric of our community. It’s not only one of the most beautiful cities in not only Michigan, but the entire country.

In this post, we’ll take a journey through the many different home styles Ann Arbor is known for, highlighting characteristics and key features of each style.


Tudor Style homes

With a fairy-tale quality and gingerbread-like architecture, Tudor style homes are one of the most distinct styles of homes in Ann Arbor. These quaint homes are easily recognizable and known for their steeply pitched roofs, wooden claddings, and stucco. No two are ever alike!

Tudor homes are reimaginings of medieval cottages from the 1500s and became commonly built in Ann Arbor and throughout the country in the 1920’s. That initial period of popularity lasted about 20 years, with the Tudor revival style common in the 70’s and 80’s.

These homes can now be found all over the Burns Park neighborhood of Ann Arbor.

Common characteristics of Tudor style homes

  • Inspired by medieval Europe

  • Multi-story

  • Stucco or brick exterior

  • Exposed beams, also called half-timbering

  • Steeply pitched roof

  • Large windows

  • Arched doorways


Victorian style homes

Thought by many to look like a dollhouse, these homes were influenced by the gothic styles of Queen Victoria’s England. Much in the tradition of the Victorian fashion, Victorian architecture focused on the idea that the home should be beautiful before all else.

Emerging between the years of 1830-1910, these imposing and often brightly colored homes often featured elaborate trim and unique, asymmetrical shapes. The homes often featured wood or stone exteriors and textured wall surfaces, along with steep, multi-faceted roofs.

Common characteristics of Victorian style homes

  • Inspired by Victorian era England

  • 2-3 stories common

  • Wood or stone exterior

  • Asymmetrical shape

  • Gingerbread, dollhouse-like trim

  • Multi-faceted steep or mansard roofs


Greek Revival homes

Greek revival homes hold a special place in the heart of all Ann Arbor architecture buffs, as the style grew in prominence right as Michigan and Ann Arbor were settled. It is also the most common historical style of the city.

Greek revival homes feature Greek columns, white coloring, and large framed windows and doors. This style of home was a response to a renewed global interest in ancient Greek architecture in the mid-19th century, and an American resentment towards England and Roman influenced architecture.

These homes often utilize marble and stone in the interior of the home, adding to the gravitas of the style. Greek Revival homes can be found in the Northside of Ann Arbor along Pontiac Trail.

Characteristics of Greek revival homes

  • Derived from ancient Greek architectural styles

  • 1-2 stories

  • Heavy reliance on white as a primary or accent color

  • Greek-style columns in front of the home

  • Large porches with low-pitched roofs

  • Less-pronounced chimney


Queen Anne homes

Known as a layered and quirky style of home, Queen Anne homes bring a lot of character to Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

Drawing from earlier periods of English architecture, this style utilizes ornamentation to give it the layered texture it’s known for. It also utilizes bays, towers, overhangs, different materials and various wall planes. Decorative trim is used to accentuate these features and add an eccentric feel.

The exterior of the home is brought together with overhang balconies and/or wrap around porches, adding yet another layer to the asymmetrical design. These homes can now be found in the Old West Side and North Burns Park areas of Ann Arbor.

Characteristics of Queen Anne homes

  • Inspired by English architecture

  • Multi-story

  • Steep roofs and facades that create an asymmetrical design

  • Gingerbread-like trim

  • Wood frame and varied wall planes

  • Wrap around porches and balconies


Craftsman homes

Also known as Arts and Craft homes, these quaint houses are made to present a more handmade and unique look. This custom and artistic style was common in the early 20th century and was intended to show off the materials used just as much as it was the overall design.

These low-pitched roofed homes are commonly two-stories and include a porch and exposed beams as key features. The interior layout is also a defining feature, with built-in and iconic open floor plans.

Common characteristics of craftsman homes

  • Inspired by Asian design concepts

  • Most commonly 2 stories

  • Covered front porch with exposed beams

  • Exposed interior rafters

  • Built-in features along with an open floor plan

  • Low pitched roof


Ranch homes

This simple style of home is known for its modest 1-story L-shape, but has been developed in recent years to keep it’s simplicity while growing in square feet and elegance.

Common in the mid-20th century when home developments across the country where growing, this style is common throughout America and Ann Arbor. This design was inspired by the Spanish colonial style of architecture, where single story homes made from native materials simply housed residents. Ranch style homes are now loved for the simple design and long, ground level profile.

Common characteristics of ranch homes

  • Inspired by the Spanish colonial architecture

  • Most commonly 1-story, but today often built with 2 stories

  • Long and low roofline

  • Most commonly L-shaped, though often U-shaped or even rectangular

  • Exterior made from stucco, brick, or wood.


Cape Cod homes

Known for their steeply pitched, front facing roof and centered front entryway, Cape Cod style homes are distinct, simple, and truly classic style.

The cape cod style of home was initially developed in England before it made its way to New England and Cape Cod (a coastal region of Massachusetts that it was eventually named after) in the 17th century. The style then went through a resurgence in the 1940s and 1950s, right as housing developments across the country were booming.

In addition to the iconic roof and entryway, these homes feature little ornamentation, central chimneys, and anything from a single story to a multi-story design. While Cape Cod homes are found around Ann Arbor, they are less common than other styles.

Common characteristics of Cape Cod homes

  • Originated in England and popularized on Cape Cod in Massachusetts

  • 1-2 story design

  • Steeply pitched front-facing roof

  • Symmetrical front facades

  • Centered windows and doorways

  • Closed off interior rooms and spaces


Second Empire home

Quirky, elegant, and grand, second empire homes are a unique, ornament-rich home style. Inspired by the structures of Napoleonic France, second empire homes were commonly built across the country in the mid-19th century, right as Ann Arbor was developing into the city it is today!

Featuring lots of space and distinct mansard roofs, these homes are both eccentric and functional. The mansard roof, which features two slopes on each of its four sides, actually creates attic and living space on the top floor.

Other notable features include tall chimneys and first story windows with either a square or L-shaped construction. Much like Cape Cod homes, while the Second Empire style can be found in Ann Arbor, it is less common than other styles.

Common characteristics of a second empire home

  • Inspired from French architecture from Napoleonic times

  • Feature anywhere from 2-4 stories

  • Mansard roof with aesthetically brilliant brackets and window hoods

  • Commonly feature full porches

  • Most commonly built from brick or stone


Bonus home style: Kit homes

While not technically a home style as much as a housing trend, kit homes flourished in Ann Arbor in the 1920’s given the city’s rapid expansion and access to railways.

Many different manufactures produced kit homes (including Sears and Ward’s), and came in a variety of home styles, including:

  • Bungalow homes

  • Craftsman

  • Four-square

  • Dutch colonial

  • Georgian

These houses can now be found all over the city, particularly in the University area.


Forward Design Build Remodel knows Ann Arbor homes

Whether you are looking for a custom built home in one of these styles or want to update a few rooms, Forward Design Build Remodel knows how to remodel and build homes in Ann Arbor.

Contact us today with any questions or to learn more about how we can help your historic (or brand new) Ann Arbor home!