Luxury home design isn’t just about picking soothing colors or even finding the ideal amenities. It’s a matter of building something artistic and respecting the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


Understanding what sets different home architectural styles apart is essential to this quest. It’d take an entire degree program to master all the options, but this quick primer will get you up to speed on the major styles and things to know before you build.

Traditional Architectural Styles

The word “traditional” can mean many different things depending on where you live. In the American context, we’re talking about a few key characteristics: simplicity, functionality, and elegance.

When people refer to traditional architecture, they’re talking about the classics — think flat facades, shuttered windows, and symmetrical designs.

One intriguing aspect of traditional American luxury home design is that it spans a long, diverse timeframe. In other words, you should expect the Georgian and Federal styles that dominated East Coast design from the colonial days through the 1800s. Also, look out for columned Greek Revival, Gothic, Italianate, Victorian Queen Anne, and other styles that emerged as the US gradually developed a unique architectural flair.

Contemporary Farmhouse and Rustic Architectural Styles

Farmhouse and rustic styles draw their inspiration from one of America’s earliest cultural threads: the pastoral lifestyle that defined life for centuries.

Recent city homes — and even many of the traditional coastal styles we mentioned earlier — served a well-to-do populace with more leisure time. Rustic styles weren’t any less grand, but they never hid their functional elements.

So what should homeowners expect? These homes combine traditional standbys, such as woodworking techniques and exposed beams, with contemporary design elements, like clean lines, open floor plans, and modern amenities.

Rustic homes are the ultimate marriage of convenience and functionality, but they’re not all utilitarian! Stylistic features like reclaimed wood, spacious layouts, and light-filled interiors are commonplace.

Modern and Contemporary Architectural Styles

Modern homes incorporate sleek designs, bold colors, and innovative features that signaled a real turning point when they hit the scene. Why? The 20th Century was the first time the majority of architects could design for the urban, convenience-oriented lifestyle we now consider normal. This led to a broader range of fresh, invigorating ideas.

Designers like Frank Lloyd Wright and Charles Greene weren’t afraid to try things previously unknown to residential architecture. They used raw steel, structural glass, concrete, and novel techniques to push the bounds of material and form, focusing on nature and craftsmanship.

The Arts and Crafts and Prairie structures that emerged were beautiful, more energy-efficient, and more livable. As time passed, architects of all styles learned from this progression. Today, it’s easy to find semi-custom home builders who incorporate energy efficiency, future planning, and other forward-thinking concepts into all of their designs.

French Country and European Architectural Styles

Last on our list, French Country and European styles draw inspiration from the rich history of Europe’s rural landscapes. They meld elements of medieval chateaus with modern sensibilities, emphasizing balance, frills, and attention to detail.

While the traditional style exhibits some of these characteristics, it’s always been a bit more city-inspired. European country homes exude luxury and aristocratic refinement at a palatial scale.

Call Turnberry Homes for a Luxury, Semi-Custom Home!

Now that you’re a bit better oriented within the American luxury architectural landscape, what kind of dream home will you build? Are you destined for a Marie Antoinette-style provincial revival? Or does your heart pound for the modern simplicity of the Arts and Crafts movement?

Interestingly, most people find themselves somewhere between styles. This can make it tough to start your project on the right foot.

Talking to the Turnberry Homes team is the easiest way to create something that represents you. No matter where your aesthetic inspirations lie, we can conceptualize and build a home to match, so get in touch!