Roots of Style: The Indelible Charm of American Tudors

They may be found across the country. You might have seen them in older neighborhoods close to the city centre, or you might have seen them in semirural areas on large plots of land. They maintain a distinct identity. You may be fortunate enough to have grown up in a single or own one now.

These will be the Tudors. Not the popular television show set in the 16th century, but those wonderful American houses inspired by late-medieval English architecture that exude as much personality and produce an unforgettable feeling.

These American antiques of the first Tudor homes started appearing in the U.S. from the late 1880s and peaked in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Many have been lovingly cared for or revived, and also the detail contained in them may be marvelously implemented. Key features include steep gable roofs, tall and narrow casement or double-hung multipane windows, leaded or stained glass, fictitious thatched roofs, parapet gables, notable brick chimneys and elaborately patterned brick veneer. The design faithfully reproduces, and even tracts occasionally mimic it.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Though the style attracts less focus now, its freely formed masses and mixtures of materials enchant; American Tudor homes are warm, inviting and charming. Infinite versions of those forms and materials allow an unusually intricate mixture of components under a single fashion umbrella, as you’ll see in this particular tour of examples from across the U.S.

Los Angeles. This superbly scaled and comfy Los Angeles area house exhibits several key attributes common to American Tudors. The redbrick lower flooring combines with a visually milder second level half coated in fictitious timber; stucco fills the voids.

Notice that the complexity of the roofline. Steep gables unite in varying eave heights with a shed roof shape within the centered entrance. A shed roof dormer contrasts using the lower-level window set on the left. More attention occurs in the small overhang above the entry and also the use of herringbone brickwork across the two stained glass windows.

Peabody Architects

Washington, D.C. Several distinctive Tudor characteristics combine in this new D.C.-area home. Though it’s branded English cabin, the impressive stone and brick chimney illustrates a touch of several ancient grand Tudor examples.

Notice the way the stucco can help to highlight the richness and complexity of the chimney and beautiful slate roof. A curved gable extending to make an entry porch and a notable forward-facing gable that is a story and a half indicate that the recognizable Tudor form.


Minneapolis. This handsome Minneapolis house feels balanced and snug on its narrow lot. False half timber wraps the house, while the stone-detailed entry provides an intimate welcome. Notice the small overhang of the second floor and the oriel window to the right. These well-executed details validate its style. A hip roof, another variation on the theme, covers the primary body of the house.

CARNEMARK design + build

Washington, D.C. Variations of Tudor details differentiate this comfy D.C.-area example. Lacking the typical forward-facing gable, the stylish roof helps to highlight the splendid brick patterns put in half timber on the primary second-level elevation.

Notice also that it slightly overhangs the lower level, detailed with wood mounts. A neutral paint color and grey slate roof unify the variants in window shapes and dimensions and dormer configurations.

Cramer Kreski Designs

Omaha, Nebraska. The low-descending gable roof shape on this Omaha residence is another uncommon and one of a kind feature of the design. This play in roofline conveys familiarity in an otherwise overwhelming and tall form. Many Tudors were created like this, with a second level tucked beneath the primary side.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Los Angeles. This Los Angeles area house has a faux thatch roof variation; it’s found in just a couple of American Tudor examples. Appearing complicated, the shingles are just rolled around to the fascia boards in the eaves, leading to a softened profile.

This exquisitely detailed house includes many of the previously mentioned characteristics, and is distinguished further by aluminum finish details in the chimney and bay window. These kinds of houses are sometimes referred to as storybook, for their resemblance to examples found in early-20th-century kids’s books. Notice that the clipped gable at the highest ridge ends.

JB Architecture Group, Inc..

Chicago. With a different thatched roof interpretation, this Chicago house rambles and is layered upon itself in an asymmetrical and whimsical fashion. Charming characteristics combine to present a intricate elevation in a mixture of half timber, stucco, brick and stone. The gable and hip roof kinds are accented with curved and shed dormers, and smaller retractable entry roofs.

Steven Corley Randel, Architect

Long Beach, California. Notice the absence of half timber details. Elegant layering of stone, brick, stucco and clapboard siding specify specific portions of the facade. Even the brick of the chimney contrasts with the brick of this lower degree. Substantial and significant cases of the late 1800s were often masonry structures. Advances in building techniques allowed the building of brick veneer over a wood frame that is so typical of several 20th-century houses.

Fusch Architects, Inc..

Dallas. This significant late-20th-century Dallas example alludes more specifically into the English Elizabethan and Jacobean periods that established English Tudor architecture. Several notable forward-facing parapet gables (the roof finish abuts the higher-reaching gable wall) extend out of the bigger side gable sort of the house. Renaissance-inspired details accentuate the doors and windows across the entire front elevation. Stone veneer covers the walls from base to peak, contrasting with comprehensive redbrick chimneys. Also observe the oriel window above the entry and the division of windows by the cast stone, which are characteristics of higher-style examples past and present.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

San Francisco Bay Area. Dominant half timbering defines this Northern California house. The nearly symmetrical front is odd, although closer inspection reveals that the symmetry lies in the middle section. Inset gable dormers align with lower doors and windows and supply personality. Notice the overhanging second levels, which provide cover to your bay windows on the 2 sides. Leaded glass details provide even more personality.

Rice Residential Design

Houston. This newer Texas house clearly draws inspiration from first American Tudor style. A mixture of stone, brick and brick designs exuberantly adorns the front of this house. Notice the absence of half timber or other wooden details, which generally lighten the general appearance.

Tudor remains an indelible American design, although its current popularity primarily resides with people wishing to restore early cases, or people with the capacity to custom build within an high-style fashion. Its appeal lies in the flexibility innate to the design and the romantic scale it accomplishes. Whether or not a modest cabin or a billionaire’s mansion, the distinguished American Tudor makes a strong impression.

More photos: Browse more photos of Tudor-style homes

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