About House Styles

Vancouver Heritage Foundation has developed an online webtool that defines, details and illustrates local house styles and their architectural elements.

In our most recent changes to the layout you will find a more didactic approach to learning. You can find styles using step-by-step tools like our Era page, where we have clustered together styles based on time periods, and our Key Features page where you will find a visual glossary of features that links to the styles corresponding!

This webtool is a valuable resource for homeowners, professionals, students or anyone interested in the domestic architecture of Vancouver. Launched in 2010, this guide was updated in 2022 with new house styles, new images and additional resources.

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A recently renovated large home featuring style markers from Edwardian, Victorian and Queen Anne architecture. The house features a small staircase leading to the entryway in a large porch area, with a front facing bay-window and cylindric columns holding the next level of this 2 1/2 storey home. The main floor's roofline features a front-gabled roof covering the entryway and upholding a circular balcony with similar columns. There is fretwork throughout the roof skirt of this home. To the right of the balcony there is another front-gabled roof piece with a dormer for the half upper floor.

In Vancouver there are few ‘pure’ examples of styles. Builders and architects have drawn from many sources of inspiration, and over the years houses have often been changed to fit the needs of the people living there. Updates may have mixed styles of windows, cladding and even shape of a home. In these cases, identification can be based on the building’s main characteristics, even if not all features match exactly.

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Discover House Styles

Each house style is linked to the cultural context in which it was built, reflecting not only the materials and popular designs of the time but also glimpses of things like personal history and social status. We have grouped here all Vancouver House Styles by era, introducing you to the major contexts of development of these styles by time period.

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This Glossary is divided in sections of a house, such as Roofs or Façades, and each presents a carrousel of images highlighting a key feature. These images can be clicked to enlarge and to browse through the key terms, definitions, and which styles commonly showcase the features portra

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Additional Resources

We have compiled here a concise list of web resources on house styles, architecture and architects, archival house plans and books for reference and further study.

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Share your Story

Why do VHF’s house styles matter to you? Tell us your story or help us with more information. Please note that your story and/or photo(s) of houses could be added to the webtool. Thank you!