Country living has for a long time been the love of many a Southerner, and the style has persisted for some time. From massive family ranches to small country cottages, there are many things which define a country house. Traditionally, the country style used to be typified by the period of time from which it emanated, the Colonial and Victorian Era. This particular style incorporates large ornate chandeliers, busy warm colored wallpapers and large wooden legged chairs and sofas with ornate feet. Opulence was the order of the day. Modern country homes are moving toward a more minimal style, with the focus being towards natural highlights and bright vivid color schemes, or a rustic warmth.
The house itself
American country designed homes are often vividly painted, and color palettes can vary, but there are may commonalities between these types of houses. Often times there is a stone or brick wall, used because of the strength and beauty of the natural color, as well as the energy consumption characteristics of walls of this type. Because they are usually quite thick, they contain warmth easily, and it’s not uncommon to find an open plan fireplace in a central area of the home for creating just that. There are also many country houses which use long wooden beam walls, and more often than not these are the types which will be painted in an array of different colors.
Windows are often large casement or sash style, painted white or matched to the house color. Larger windows are normally preferred, as they provide a great view of the outside, and also allow for daylight to light the home. These are often coupled with curtain rails, sporting long and often quite thick curtains. Sashes and blinds are sometimes used but far less frequently. On the outside of larger homes there are also sometimes shutters, these are usually colored to match the interior, and can be quite a nice touch, especially on the older stone walled homes.
Country homes and gardens
One of the biggest factors which any country home enthusiast will tell you about is, of course, their garden. There are many ways to set up a garden for a country home, and designs are plentiful for hedgerows, flower beds and specifically chosen treelines.
It’s important to match your garden to your house's design. If you have a more english style home, then look at the english country gardens of the early 20th century for your landscaping ideas. The same can be said of more French or Mediterranean style homes. Garden areas closer to the house itself can be nicely decorated with outside entertainment areas and long soft lit pathways leading to areas of the garden you want to show off.
Incorporating interesting water features and other items like a nicely shaped swimming pool can also add to the garden area. If you live close to running fresh water you can use this natural steam to augment your patio or deck, and entertain guests or host family events near the calming sound of running water.
Most common designs
In America there area few home architecture choices which are the most common amongst country home owners.
Craftsman homes are very popular in Indiana and Alabama, as well as some other Southern States. These houses began in the arts and crafts movement in answer to the industrial revolution. They incorporate mostly natural elements such as wood and stone walls (sometimes combined), as well as wood shake roofing.
Colonial Style homes are another type of home which stand out as being quite a popular design. These houses are plentiful in the United States, and quite common in both country living and city dwellings alike. They incorporate large wooden beams and large windows, almost always have a porch, and strive to be the most inviting of home styles available.
European style homes are another which stand out as being popular, this time in the Northern States. These homes often incorporate French and Dutch styles, which are typified by large strong wooden doors, huge shutters, and long vertical casement windows. What you often find is a singular conical shaped roof in one area of the house, giving these homes an almost small castle kind of feel. They look particularly good when coupled with forested area and a large, well designed garden.
Ranch homes are a very common Southern State style, especially in Texas. The ranch home initially was the home used by ranchers, and has since the 60’s come to define any single storey country home. Ranch homes come in a variety of designs, and are often crafted with wood accented walls and asphalt roofing. They are also quite often coupled with small, but well designed garden areas.
Other less popular designs include the Mediterranean red tiled roof homes with whitewashed walls and large pillars reminiscent of Greek and Roman temples. They often have a semicircular entrance area with a patio above the main door. Cottage and Southern styles share many similarities, with porch space (often quite generous amounts of it), held up by large wooden beams, and a second storey window (or windows depending on the size of the house) looking out of the front of the home.
Modern style homes are also something which have started to gain traction, mostly due to their clean lines and modern feel.
Each of these home types requires specific types of care and maintenance. There are elements which are very different in each, so talk to a local professional and get some advice about designing the house if you are building a new one.
The final round up:
With the sheer volume of design available to you, it may be difficult to decide which way to turn. There are many professionals who can help you decide on things, and do some research into what type of you you would like to create for yourself and your family. Keep in mind the State you live in, as well as the size of the property you want to build on, as these are factors you really need to look into before getting your heart set on a particular design. Hopefully, if you have done all of this and you know what you really want to do, you will have a beautiful country home, or weekend getaway outside of the hustle and bustle of city life in no time!