Architectural Styles of Charlottesville and Albemarle

Everyone has a vision of their dream home. We don’t all have the vocabulary to describe it though. Having a basic understanding of architectural styles can help you identify your preferences when going to buy or build your perfect home.

Here are some local examples of popular architecture with a short hand guide to what makes each style unique.



This traditional style was made popular in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. These homes are commonly 1.5 stories with a centrally located chimney and dormers.

Thimble MJN_5312 grass yard



ext_4Many homes in Charlottesville are referred to simply as Colonial to signify clean lines, box like shape, and traditional style.

2600 Wind River Road




This modern style of architecture is more varied than others with asymmetrical rooflines, use of mixed materials, and more creative window placement.



(Arts and Crafts)


Roofs can be distinctive with eave overhang, exposed rafters, and decorative beams or braces. Square tapered columns are a signature craftsman detail as well as mixed use of materials such as stone chimneys and columns pictured above.

Moriah, near Charlottesville, Va.



front_view_angled BSimple lines, gable roof, chimney, and columned front porch define this classic American architectural style.




Georgian homes are symmetrical box shaped homes of 1 or 2 stories. Paneled front doors are enhanced by a decorative crown, as seen in 1124 Hilltop (below), and often columns as seen in Hilltop Farm (above)  along with characteristic rectangular glass detailing. The symmetry of the Georgian style can be seen in the single windows in vertical and horizontal rows with the door at the center. In our area you will see brick Georgians though other varieties exist farther north.




Ranch was the dominant architectural style of the 1950s and 1960s. These homes are typically brick with low pitched roofs and commonly asymmetrical design as seen in 612 Grove Ave, pictured above.




For further reading you should check out Virginia and Lee McAlester’s A Field Guide to American Houses which I referenced in creating this article.

sydney for blogBy Sydney Tenhundfeld, REALTOR ®