Architectural Home Styles

Craftsman / Bungalow (1890-1925)

The most commonly found architectural style in Whittier’s historic neighborhoods, the Craftsman Style, characterized by a rustic aesthetic, was popular from 1900 -1925. The style was derived from the English Arts and Crafts Movement which emphasized handcrafted materials and simple detailing partly in a reaction against the elaborate, mass-produced ornamentation found on Victorian style homes at the turn-of the century.

Gamble House – Greene and Greene, ArchitectsIn Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene designed both simple Craftsmen bungalows and high-style interpretations from 1903 -1914. Their intricately detailed designs were published widely in magazines and the Craftsman style became popular across the country. Prominent front entry porches, sleeping porches, breakfast nooks and inglenooks are characteristic of their wood frame structures, typically clad with earth toned wood shingle or clapboard siding.

In Whittier examples of Craftsman style homes range in size and level of detailing from one-story bungalows to larger 2-story homes, all with the typical Craftsman characteristics. These homes often incorporate elements from other architectural styles or have other cultural influences. Some Craftsman homes have elements of the Colonial, Spanish and Shingle styles, while others have features of Chalet and Pueblo revival styles or elements of Asian cultures. 6318 Washington Avenue - California Bungalow - Whittier Historic Landmark #27

Distinctive features are:
• Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement
• Gabled roof facing the street
• Wood shingle siding
• A porch with tapered posts
• Wide window openings with grouped windows
• Exterior chimney

Classical Revival (1895-1950)

The Classical Revival style, also known as Neoclassicism, is based on classical Greek and Roman orders. Classical Revival buildings share many characteristics with the earlier Greek Revival style popular in the first half of the 19th century. The style is characterized by symmetrical buildings of grand proportions usually built in smooth or polished stone. Classical Revival façades are usually dominated by a full height porch with Ionic or Corinthian columns.

Distinctive features are:
• Ionic portico
• Attic story
•Unenriched entablature
• Parapet
• Pilasters
• Smooth ashlar finish

Colonial Revival (1870-1920)

The Colonial Revival style, introduce around 1876, was derived from houses built in the eastern United States a century earlier. The style has been popular ever since. Between the World Wars it was the most popular historic revival house style in the United States. Colonial Revival houses, like their models, are usually two stories, with a ridge pole parallel to the street, a symmetrical front facade, and an accented doorway with evenly spaced windows on either side of it.6056 Friends Avenue - American Colonial Revival - Whittier Historic Landmark #38

Architectural details which distinguish Colonial Revival buildings from earlier colonial buildings are:
• Elaborate front doors, often with decorative crown pediments and overhead fanlights and sidelights, but with machine-made woodwork that had less depth and relief than earlier handmade versions.
• Window openings, while symmetrically located on either side of the front entrance, were usually hung in adjacent pairs or in triple combinations rather than as single windows.
• Side porches or sunrooms were common additions to these homes, introducing modern comforts.
• Also distinctive in this style are multiple columned porches and doors with fanlights and sidelights.

Eastlake (1868-1890)

The Eastlake architectural style was derived from a style of furniture design and interior design popularized by English architect Charles L. Eastlake in his influential 1868 book, Hints on Household Taste in Furniture, Upholstery, and Other Details. Some architectural historians maintain that Eastlake is not actually an architectural style. Rather, it is a distinctive family of surface ornamentations applied to houses built in other Victorian styles such Queen Anne and Stick. Other historians characterize some buildings, or parts of buildings, as pure Eastlake. Porches and verandas were especially suited to the style.Pedigrift House - Eastlake Style

Eastlake is angular, notched, carved and rejects the curved shapes of French Baroque Revival Styles. Eastlake decorative elements are made of wood turned on a powered lathe or cut by a powered jigsaw.

Distinctive Eastlake features are:
• Oversized porch posts, railings, balustrades, bargeboards, braces and pendants shaped by a lathe.
• Wooden forms cut by a jigsaw. Curved brackets, scrolls, and other stylized elements were placed at every corner, turn or projection of the façade.
• Perforated gables and pediments.
• Carved panels.
• Beaded spindles and lattice work along porch eaves.
• Strapwork (interlaced strips of wood).
• Mansardic porches with wrought-iron cresting.
Lighter elements such as spindles, lattice and strapwork were combined with heavier and oversized architectural members to emphasize the three-dimensional quality of a building.  Eastlake components were often ordered from a catalog and assembled at the site. Some Eastlake houses were painted with traditional earth tones, and others were painted in multiple colors which emphasized the structural and decorative elements. Lighter detail or trim against a darker house body became the norm.

Foursquare  (1895 to 1930)

Foursquare, a type rather than a style,  is characterized by its cubic form and simple, economical floor plan. It is a cross-pollination of the Queen Anne style with the Colonial Revival style that became popular during the later half of the 1890s as a result of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Initially, the most common plan was a formal entry with stairs to the second floor and a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the main floor. On the second floor, most plans had a bathroom in one quarter and three bedrooms, though four bedroom variants were common.6055 Bright Avenue - Whittier Historic Landmark #61

Featuring  details that were most often classical or Colonial including  Doric columns on the front porch, a pyramidal roof and a 1/2-to full-width porch, many Foursquare homes adopted the open floor plans of bungalow-type homes. Foursquare accepts a variety of different styles, including Prairie and Craftsman. The Prairie Box usually has square columns and simple  horizontal lines evidenced by banded trim and ribbons of windows as well as stucco siding.  A Craftsman version may have design elements such as exposed rafters and clustered or battered porch pillars.  Rooms are often spacious with built-in cabinetry, window seats, and buffets.

Characteristics are:
• 2 – 2 1/2 stories
• Simple floor plan usually quartered; plan is often two rooms deep by two rooms wide on both floors
• Cubic shape
• Pyramidal, hipped roof, often with wide eaves
• Roof generally has at least one dormer, but one per plane of the roof is common
• Full or partial-width front porch with either classical columns or boxed columnar supports; wide stairs
• Offset front entry in an otherwise symmetrical facade
• Large central dormer on one or more sides of the building
• Large single light windows in front, otherwise double hung
• Design elements from other styles are incorporated; usually in restrained applications

Georgian (1870-1920)

Georgian buildings are symmetrical boxes, usually two stories high and two rooms deep. The main entrance is often a projecting pavilion with pilasters, a paneled door, and a Palladian or Venetian window.Martin Luther Marsh House – Georgian Style

Characteristics are:
• Coursed ashler walls or simulated ashler walls with quoins.
• Dormer windows.
• Double hung sash windows with multiple panes of glass in each sash.
• Cornice molding, typically dentils.
• Multiple chimneys.

Italianate (1840-1880)

The Italianate style was inspired by villas and townhouses in Tuscany, Umbria and Lombardy. Italianate buildings are rectangular with two or three stories and wide eaves usually supported by brackets. Windows are tall and thin.Beamer House – Italianate Style

Distinctive features are:
• Wide eaves
• Large brackets
• Tall first floor windows
• Low pitch hip roof
• Cupola
• Double door with glass panels
• Rusticated quoins
• Round arch
• Hood mold or eyebrow window heads
•Enriched overdoor

Mediterranean Revival (1890-1940)

The Mediterranean Revival style was especially popular in coastal California and Florida. Inspired by European palaces and seaside villas, the style incorporates elements of Spanish Renaissance, Spanish Colonial, Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance, and Venetian Gothic architecture.6042 Bright Avenue - Craftsman wth Med. Revival - Whittier Historic Landmark #60

Characteristics of the Mediterranean Revival style are:

• Rectangular floor plan
• Massive, symmetrical façade
• Stuccoed walls
• Red tile roofs
• Windows in the shape of arches or circles
• One or two stories
• Wood or wrought iron balconies with window grilles
• Articulated door surrounds
• Simple or dramatic ornamentation
• Lush landscaping

Mission Revival (1890-1920)

The Mission Revival style originated in California and was inspired by the state’s Hispanic heritage. It was popularized by the many train depots and hotels built by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads throughout the Far West. The Mission Revival style peaked after World War I and was superseded by the Spanish Colonial Revival style which attempted a more faithful rendering of New World Spanish prototypes than the more romantic Mission Revival style.6011 Friends Avenue - Mission Revival - Whittier Historic Landmark #68

Characteristics of the Mission Revival style are:
• Red tile roofs with wide, overhanging eaves
• Shaped mission parapet and dormers
• Smooth, stucco walls
• Arcades and porches supported by large columns
• Quatrefoil windows
• Bell towers
• Coping
At the end of the 19th century  Mission Revival was considered to be the architectural style most congenial to the landscape and heritage of California. Books and periodicals romanticized the lost Spanish past and commercial brochures promoted an arcadian present to lure business, residents, tourists. Tiled roofs, stucco walls, arches and arcades were soon popular elements seen in railroad stations, schools, commercial buildings and houses all over California.

Queen Anne / Victorian (1880-1900)

Whittier’s earliest residential buildings represent Victorian-era architectural styles popular throughout the United States from the1880s through the early1900s. Emerging during a period of rapid industrialization, evidenced in Whittier and throughout the United States, as industrial advancement allowed for factory production of building materials and rapid home construction, Victorian-era styles sought to evoke a nostalgic, picturesque image of how a home should appear, serving as the “Romantic opposite of the industrialized, urbanizing, and modernizing world.

13648 La Cuarta St. - Strawbridge House – Whittier Historic Landmark #30 While some Victorian-era homes in Whittier featured highly detailed ornamentation, including friezes, brackets, and fish scale shingles, most Whittier homes of this period were simple in design,reflecting the community’s agricultural character and economic constraints facing new residents. The American Victorian typically took the form of a two-story square house with a hip roof disguised behind a variety of two-storied bays, with an assortment of gables as well as octagonal or round turrets and wraparound porches presenting a complex facade. There is a wide variety of Victorian styles, each with its own distinctive features.

The Queen Anne style was the flamboyant culmination of the building styles today grouped as Victorian. These architectural styles are Second Empire, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Stick and Eastlake.7758 College Ave. - Simon Murphy House - Whittier Historic Landmark #14

Distinctive Queen Anne features are:
• Asymmetrical facade
• Dominant front-facing gable, often cantilevered out beyond the plane of the wall below
• Overhanging eaves
• Round, square, or polygonal tower(s)
• Shaped and Dutch gables
• A porch covering part or all of the front facade, including the primary entrance area
• A second-story porch or balconies
• Pedimented porches                                                                                            •Differing wall textures, such as patterned wood shingles shaped into varying designs, including resembling fish scales, terra cotta tiles, relief panels, or wooden shingles over brickwork, etc.
• Dentils
• Classical columns
• Spindle work
• Oriel and bay windows
• Horizontal bands of leaded windows
• Monumental chimneys
• Painted balustrades
•Wooden or slate roofs

Spanish Revival (1915-1940)

The Spanish Revival style includes Spanish Colonial Revival and Spanish Eclectic. The Colonial style is based on Spanish architecture in the New World and the Eclectic style is based on Spanish architecture in Europe. Spanish Colonial Revival  followed Mission Revival and shares many of the same architectural elements. It was popularized by the 1915 California-Pacific Exposition in San Diego and by the depots and hotels built by Fred Harvey for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in the Southwest. For many years it was the style of choice for the mansions of the Hollywood stars.5810 Bright Avenue - Spanish Colonial Revival - Whittier Historic Landmark #43

Many Spanish Colonial Revival buildings have courtyards and enclosed gardens. The orientation is private and inward with simple, undecorated street façades. The style borrows from many sources: California missions, New Mexico pueblos, Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance, and Mexican Churrigueresque.

Some distinctive features of Spanish Colonial Revival buildings are:
• Smooth stucco walls and chimneys
• Ornaments of terra cotta or cast concrete
• Decorative iron trim
• Arcades supported by columns
• Carved and molded capitals
• Hipped, red tile roof
• Shaped parapet with coping
• Loggia
• Arched windows
•Casement windows
• Tall, double–hung windows
• Quatrefoil windows
• Paneled doors
• Balconies or small porches
• Canvas awnings
• Bell towers

Tudor Revival (1890-1940)

Tudor Revival mansions of the late 19th and early 20th century were inspired by English Renaissance buildings of the 16th and 17th centuries including the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. These grand, asymmetrical buildings had steeply pitched roofs with one or more intersecting gables, decorative half-timbering and long rows of casement windows. By the early 20th century, the style had been adapted to more modest houses and has remained popular ever since.6354 Painter Avenue -Tudor Revival - Whittier Historic Landmark #93

Tudor Revival buildings are characterized by:
• Steeply pitched roofs with wooden or slate shingles
• Intersecting gables
•Stacked chimneys or chimney pots
• Half-timbering
• Casement windows with leaded glass and six-over-one double hung windows
• Oriels and one or two story bay windows
• Multiple materials including stucco, rubblework masonry, patterned stonework or brickwork, clapboards
• Vertical plank doors
•Asymmetrical floor plans


Celebrating the History and Historic Homes of Whittier, CA