Gabled Vernacular1886-1915

Gabled Vernacular Gable Roof Double Hung Window Porch Cladding Column Trim Board

Gabled Vernacular Features

( )


The most common surviving houses of old Vancouver, Gabled Vernaculars are 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 stories tall with front-gabled roofs; the roof may have a skirt across the bottom of the gable. In this style, the house is usually set a half to a full storey above the ground (due to the basement space required for central heating). Its full-width front porch commonly has a hipped roof held up by posts (typically round Tuscan-style). The front door is almost always set on one side of the facade in line with the front stairs and there may be a bay window on one side of the porch, sometimes repeated on the upper storey. Dormers may be hipped or gabled. Examples of the style usually have very few decorative elements such as brackets and fretwork.


The Gabled Vernacular style drew on several popular styles, adapted them for simpler homes for everyday living in the late 19th – early 20th century. Following the rise of the Greek revival movement in the 19th century, gable-fronted houses became more common, with designs that echoed the pediments of ancient Greek temples. This style gained popularity for American homes between 1830 and 1850. Pre-fabricated houses like many of the BC Mills houses and mail-order plans made the style easy to access. Gabled Vernacular homes were common in Vancouver since their narrow two-storey form made front-gabled houses well suited for urban lots. Today, the style is one of the most common historical house styles left in the city.


  • Steeply pitched, front-gabled roof
  • Often roof skirt across bottom of gable
  • Usually 2 to 2-1/2 storey
  • Full-width porch
  • Set a half- to full-storey above ground
  • Few decorative elements
  • Drop siding or narrow lap siding, sometimes shingles


Gabled Vernacular roofs were usually made of cedar shingles. Siding was usually drop siding with a pronounced channel or concave cove shape at the top of the board.