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Pacific Northwest Style Adapts Architectural Designs to Region’s Landscape & Climate


Pacific Northwest Style Captures the Character, Diversity and Lifestyle of the Region


A style where architecture does not get in the way of nature, Pacific Northwest designs accent the region’s natural beauty and landscapes. Whether it’s a rustic cabin, a bungalow, an Arts & Crafts or Craftsman, Queen Anne, modern contemporary home, or a houseboat, the Pacific Northwest home is built to work and adapt to its environment.



An attractive two-story three-bedroom bungalow has a roomy covered front porch.  The roof is of asphalt shingles and the exterior walls are of wood siding. Notice an abundance of glass windows on both floors and the deep overhang typical in a Pacific Northwest home plan. (Plan # 149-1009)



While homes around the country are built mostly on flat plots, Northwest homes are constructed on hilly slopes and along the coast. With the mountains, forests, valleys and coastlines surrounding Washington State, Oregon and British Columbia, architects built simply designed homes with very little exterior details - that fit the region’s varied terrain and climate. What emerged is a style that connects the outdoors with the indoors and is sensitive to the environment.


Glass windows provide a great picture of the outdoors from the spacious kitchen/dining area of a three bedroom ranch. (Plan #176-1012)




Characteristics of the Pacific Northwest Home


In an area where there is so much rain throughout the year, homes are designed with an eye toward capturing sunlight and providing shelter from the elements.



1.  Open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling glass windows capture the sunlight. Wide glass windows open up walls and invite the outdoors inside the home.



2.  Exposed structural components like rustic wood beams



Two views of the Great Room of a two-story, four-bedroom Craftsman home shows high ceilings with exposed rustic wood beams and an open floor plan. Large windows capture natural sunlight and provide a peek into the outdoor living areas.  (Plan 153-1781)



3.  Deep overhangs provide shelter from the elements; trees, shrubs, trellises give shade and protection from the sun and wind


The one-story, five-bedroom Craftsman bungalow gets a lot of shade from the large trees on the property. A deep overhang protects the glass windows from the rain that abounds in the Pacific Northwest. (Plan 115-1434)



4.  Simple exteriors and interiors made mostly of wood


The two-story, five-bedroom bungalow with a classically simple exterior façade has a gabled roof and wood shakes on its exterior walls. (Plan #119-1221)



The gorgeous wood staircase to the second floor living quarters is a wonderful display of hand-hewn craftsmanship.  (Plan 115-1000)



5.  A combination of muted yellow, red and orange hues are used to brighten up the homes against the sometimes gray skies


A splash of muted tones of red and orange makes this two-story Arts and Crafts home plan a delightful sight – especially in the rainy Pacific Northwest.  (Plan 115-1000)



Architectural Styles in the Pacific Northwest


Given the unique terrain and climate of the Pacific Northwest, what kind of architectural plans can one expect to find in the region? A variety of architectural styles exist in Pacific Northwest neighborhoods. However, some are more popular because their basic designs and structures are more adaptable to the landscape, geographical characteristics and weather of the area.



Arts and Crafts


The stone foundations and wood exteriors of the Arts and Crafts style homes are very attractive to residents of the Pacific Northwest. The gabled roofs, wide porches and exposed rustic beams are always a welcome sight. Add the bright exterior colors and you have a home that offers a great contrast to the often gray skies.



106-1276 front rendering

A one-story, three bedroom Arts and Crafts home has an inviting front porch and gorgeous picture windows.  Check out the exquisite detailed woodwork of the exterior facade.  (Plan 106-1276)





The Craftsman style, with its use of local materials, especially wood and stone, is another appealing choice – because of the abundance of natural resources in the Pacific Northwest. Like the Arts and Crafts style, Craftsman homes have exposed beams, foundations constructed of rock and large porches wrapping around the home. Simplicity and functionality merge into the style and the result is a classic architectural beauty that blends into the Pacific Northwest’s landscape.   


This is a photo this 109-1013 house plan.


A Craftsman home with rock/stone exterior features a covered porch that leads to the spacious dining and family areas. Overhangs protect the home from excessive rain.  (Plan 109-1013)



An offshoot of the Craftsman and Arts and Crafts style is the Bungalow house plan. Typically one level, some bungalows may feature one-and-one-half stories of living space. They are have low-pitched roofs, covered porches and large stone/brick bases – again ideal for the climate in the Pacific Northwest. The bungalow also features colorful exteriors like the Arts and Crafts design.


A bungalow designed for Pacific Northwest living: wood exterior, gabled roof a covered porch, wide windows for lots of natural sunlight, an overhang and trees to provide shelter against the rain and shade.  (Plan 115-1370)



Victorian Style


The Victorian style, which flourished in the 1900s, continues its timeless appeal across all regions and populations. With its turrets, dormers, towers, balconies, and colorful decorative features the Victorian plan stands out against a backdrop of mountains and coastlines in the Pacific Northwest.


Main image for house plan # 7019

A two-story, four-bedroom Victorian home comes with a porch topped by a metal shed roof and lots of windows for a profusion of natural light. The gabled roof and dormers add color and personality to the home.  (Plan 136-1001)



Log Cabins/Retreats


In a place with mountains, forests and valleys, it makes sense to have a cottage or a log cabin. Easy to build and with readily available materials, log cabins are more common in rural areas of the Pacific Northwest.


A log cabin with an open floor plan is ideal in most coastline areas of the Pacific Northwest. This two-story, two bedroom plan features a fireplace in the Great Room and a spacious rear deck – great perch for stunning outdoor views.   (Plan 160-1012)



Modern Style


A style of the ‘60s and ‘70s, the modern house plan finds its way in every region of the country.  Attractively simple with clean lines, the modern home is usually designed with a hipped roof and large windows. The exteriors may be of wood, brick, rock or stucco.


A classically simple contemporary home comes with an open floor plan and three bedrooms. The covered front porch is flanked by attractive stone columns. (Plan 149-1193)


This modern home, built on a sloping lot, features a roof of asphalt shingles and a rock/stone exterior. Large glass windows give the house plenty of light and a breezy, airy feel. (Plan 149-1187)



The beauty of the Pacific Northwest style is not in the design itself – but in how it fits into the beautiful natural surroundings. If you’re ready to adapt to the Pacific Northwest aesthetic, there are great architectural styles waiting. Search our entire collection of Pacific Northwest homes here.

November 03, 2014

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