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The Fabulous Architecture of the Kitchener Waterloo Area

Those of us that already live here know that the Kitchener Waterloo area is a beautiful, diverse place that has a long, proud and fascinating history.

One of the ways in which that history can be seen is in our housing stock. When you really take the time to look the variety of architectural styles in our area – and our housing market – is extraordinary.

Brand-new modern detached homes mingle with turn of the century charmers and cool condos coexist alongside neoclassical masterpieces. But which style is which? Here’s a look at some of our personal favorites, great examples of which can be easily found in our area.

Mennonite Georgian 1820s-1900

The Mennonite Georgian style of home found in the Waterloo Region usually have full-width front porches and attached “doddy houses” (now often uses as sheds) as well as lovely sash windows and gable roofs.

Neoclassical 1810-1850

Neoclassical homes are similar in style to Georgian in some ways but they were designed to be far more elegant and refined. Usually the entrance offers a stunning centrepiece that is the definition of curb appeal.

Regency 1820s-1870s

The Regency style introduced the concept of ‘lower living’, one storey homes that offered compact living but with the same glorious detailing as their bigger cousins.

The Gothic Revival and the “Ontario House”

There was no more common housing style in the whole of Ontario before 1950 than the Gothic revival. And the reason for that was not just because of the beautiful styling. Until 1950, property tax laws in Upper Canada were based on the number of stories in a house. The Gothic 1-1/2 storey cottage offered two levels, but still at a cheaper tax rate!

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Italianate- 1840-1885

This is another style you see a lot of in our area in both commercial and residential buildings. It’s rather ornate as it’s styled after classic Roman themes and the big draw for many are those striking ‘eyebrow’ windows that are a hallmark of the style.

Tudor Revival 1905-1930

The Tudor revival style revival dates back to late-Victorian interest in medieval times. It really took hold in the Waterloo Region after 1905, coincident with the Arts & Crafts movement—another medieval revival.

By the 1920s, Tudor was more popular than even the Colonial Revival style, in some upscale towns. Steep roofs and half-timbered gables appeared on small planbook houses and stockbroker manors alike. Most houses were well built but not opulent; the style hinted at deeper “roots” and lent an illusion of Anglo aristocracy to the middle and upper-middle classes moving to new suburbs.

Locals, how many of these styles have you seen in our area? New residents – or would be new residents – which of them is your favourite? Let us know via our Facebook page, we’d love to hear from you.

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