The Architecture of Charming Old Denver
Walk (or drive) through any Charming Old Denver neighborhood and you'll see a variety of architectural styles dating back to the late 1800's. It's always struck me as amusing, however, that many blocks showcase the "tract" homes of the time - on one block you'll see one long row of 1920's Bungalows; on the next, vintage Tudors one after the other. Sort of like what you'd see driving through the neighborhoods of suburbia - four or five slightly different models and floor plans, with various "elevations" and color schemes, but essentially the same house over and over again. However, we urban snobs proclaim that our "tract" homes have much more style and flair than anything you'll find in the suburbs.
So, without further adieu, here are some of Charming Old Denver's favorite architectural styles...
The Classic Bungalow - Built between 1910 and 1930, this style is one of Denver's most popular. A well-preserved Bungalow commands top dollar, especially if it offers unpainted woodwork, a large front porch and a usable basement. Beautiful vintage fireplaces, wood floors, charming built-ins and beamed ceilings are among the features that Bungalow-lovers appreciate. Drawbacks to the Classic Bungalow include small bedrooms and kitchens, limited closet space, lack of electrical outlets and an awkward floor plan for today's lifestyle. Nevertheless, purchasing a Bungalow in Charming Old Denver is usually a safe investment.
The Vintage Tudor - Built in the 1930's the vintage Tudor is among the most beautiful architectural styles in Denver. Tudors offer exceptional detailing both inside and out, such as stone quoining around windows and entry-ways, decorative brick design, stucco accents, steeply pitched roof lines... on the inside, you'll often see beautiful mahogany doors, crystal door knobs, tile window sills and vintage light fixtures. Drawbacks to the Tudor style include low ceilings, small rooms, non-existent closet space and tiny kitchens. However, Tudors, like Bungalows, command top dollar in the Denver real estate market.
The Victorian - Denver Victorians were built before 1900. While most old house lovers profess affection for the Victorian, they are not nearly as popular as Bungalows or Tudors. Why? Several reasons. First, they tend to have sagging floors and roofs which can make the home feel unstable. They are typically built on smaller lots, often with another two story home next door blocking the sunlight. The floor plans tend to be rather formal and choppy which conflicts with today's urban dweller's desire for open entertaining space. Basements are small and cramped, good for storage only. And while many homeowners like the idea of a second floor, they soon realize that the sometimes elegant stairwells use up a lot of their square footage. All this said, the Victorian is one of the few architectural styles in Charming Old Denver that offers a second floor and certainly has a place among Denver's favorites.
The Denver Square - In other cities, this style is called a "Four Square." Thousands were built between 1894 and 1920 and, even though many "offer" the same floor plan challenges as the Victorian, a well-preserved Denver Square will usually sell quickly, for top dollar. Denver Squares usually feel structurally sound and often offer amazing interior detailing, such as tile fireplaces and custom mantles, wood floors, doors & trim, vintage light fixtures, high ceilings and leaded glass windows.
The 1950's Ranch - This style appeared on the scene after World War II. Some say that homes built during this era are some of the best built homes in Denver. Ranches typically offer brick exteriors and are often on larger lots. Inside, the floor plans are family-friendly with 2-3 bedrooms upstairs and a full, usable basement below. Total livable square footage of a 1950's ranch often exceeds 2000, large by Denver standards. Most ranches feature oak floors, often untouched after years of being protected under carpet. While the 50's Ranch has never been as popular as the Tudor or Bungalow, it seems to be gaining favor in Denver as "Mid-Century Modern" becomes vogue.
Jennifer Allan, GRI 303-947-1335