Mid-Century Vernacular1950s

Mid-Century Vernacular Hipped Roof Picture Window Screen Door Front Stairs Lap Siding

Mid-Century Vernacular Features

Origins

American influence – with the flight to the suburbs after WWII, builders looked to simple forms (such as in the first large suburb of Levittown, N.Y.) on wide lots. Builder driven in design, materials are inexpensive and locally sourced.

Form

At least 3 types:

  1. Bungalow
    Simple side gables or hipped roof. 1 main floor (2-3 bedrooms) with partially sunken basement generally rectangular, asymmetrical front façade with one large “picture window”. Generally no attached garage.
  2. Split Level
    Asymmetrical massing with main floor consisting of an entry/living/dining/kitchen layout with bedrooms on a floor a half flight above and basement below. Family room and sometimes a garage placed a half flight below the main floor and directly under the bedrooms. Hipped or cross gable two level roof form.
  3. Raised Ranch
    The main floor consists of the living and bedrooms raised up one storey from grade. Entry is either on grade or split level. Roofline runs parallel to the street, usually with open side gables. Garage/car port incorporated into basement level with front access.

Details

  1. Bungalow
    “L” shaped layout for living room dining room kitchen. Bathrooms clustered together back to back; large picture window in living room. Few windows on side elevations. Chimney usually on side exterior wall rather than interior.
  2. Split Level
    “L” shaped living room, dining room kitchen layout. Large picture window in living room. Masonry chimney on side wall. Bump out of side wall for dining room buffet. Sliding glass doors to rear deck/patio off dining room. Stairs run parallel to street, half flight up and half flight down. Rarely, back to front split level has the main floor in front on the house and two level at the rear.
  3. Raised Ranch
    “L” shaped layout for living room, dining room, kitchen. Bedrooms on upper level with windows having a higher raised sill on the front façade (one exposure only). Balanced by living room picture window. Masonry chimney on side wall. Usually carport underneath living room.

Materials

  1. Bungalow
    Sometimes called “strawberry box”, the partially sunken basement level is expressed in wide lapped siding with a stuccoed main floor and wide lapped siding sometimes appearing in the open gable above front roofline. Roofs are usually asphalt, chimney brick masonry. Windows and doors have minimal wood trim. Shutters are not operational and used to bracket oversized windows.
  2. Split level
    Wide lap siding covers the basement level and up to the floor line on the main floor. Stucco is used on the main and upper floors. Roofs are usually asphalt, chimney and foundation work are brick or stone masonry. Sometimes brick masonry replaced the lap siding and matches the chimney.
  3. Raised Ranch
    Lap siding on both floors or masonry on lower level façade. Also stucco on main level with masonry or siding on lower level. Roof asphalt or tar and gravel on low pitched roofs. Minimal wood trim around metal framed doors and windows. Chimney are usually brick masonry. Double doors common on split level entries.