7 Custom Home Styles from Contemporary to Colonial

One of the most rewarding parts of building a custom home is creating a home that represents you: your style, your aesthetic and your interests. One of the earliest design decisions you’ll make is to choose an architectural style for your house. From ultra modern to beautifully traditional, here are some of our favorite custom home styles explained.


Here at Hensley Custom Building Group, we know a thing or two about creating unforgettable contemporary homes, and we love doing it. By definition, contemporary style homes are those that meet the trends of the present day. There’s a lot of architectural fun to be had with the contemporary style, and there’s a wide range of designs that fit within the category. In general, there are common themes of asymmetry, natural textures like wood and stone, clean lines and a flow from the outside to the inside and from the home to the natural environment surrounding it. Contemporary custom homes also tend to favor open floor plans and natural light, utilizing large windows and glass doors to let in as much as possible. They’re known for their unique shapes that sometimes seem to defy gravity.

Notable features:

  • Clean lines and minimalism
  • Neutral, often earthy color palettes
  • Homage to the natural world with textures like stone and wood
  • Striking geometrical shapes
  • Asymmetry
  • Large windows (sometimes whole walls of windows) and glass doors
  • Eco-friendly designs and materials
  • Cohesive design flow


Modern farmhouses are all the rage due to popular DIY shows on home design channels. They add a modern spin to the family farm homes of old. The most notable feature of these traditional farmhouses was a large front porch, which often wrapped around one side, and served as both a place of shade and as a mudroom before entering the home. Traditional farmhouses featured a rectangular layout, but modern farmhouses frequently incorporate more interesting floor plans. Other key architectural aspects include tall ceilings, exposed beams, traditional double-hung windows and wood siding. Modern farmhouses add updated features to the rustic aesthetic, and they’re all about creating a feeling of warmth and comfort.

Notable features:

  • Wraparound porch
  • Rustic materials like reclaimed wood, stone and exposed brick
  • Exterior siding, usually white or a neutral color
  • Neutral color palettes (and black and white frequently used for dramatic exteriors)
  • Two or more stories
  • Tall ceilings
  • Exposed beams
  • Warm but modern details


Although ranch-style homes can have a similar rustic vibe as the farmhouse and other custom home styles, these homes have distinct features that put them in a league of their own. Most notably, ranch houses put essential living spaces on a single floor, making them especially accessible. This style of home gained popularity from car culture and was big in the 1950s. While there are a few variations of the ranch house, they generally have a wide layout stretching horizontally and a comfortable, informal profile. They feature accessible, open floor plans and put an emphasis on connection to the outdoors, usually through a large backyard. Popular layouts include a rectangle or L-shape, and they’re usually asymmetrical. Though traditionally just one story, modern custom interpretations often include a finished lower level or a split-level plan featuring only a partial second story. 

Notable features:

  • One story (though can include lower level living space or split levels)
  • Wide and accessible layouts
  • Large backyards and a connection to the outdoors
  • Low-pitched roofs
  • Attached garage
  • Streamlined and informal appearance
  • Large windows and sliding glass doors (especially in the back)
  • Asymmetry and rectangular or L-shaped floor plans


Craftsman style homes are a kind of urban counterpart to the farmhouse. They too are about creating a warm and inviting environment, but they also celebrate what humans can do with their own hands. This style grew as a reaction to the uniformity of the Industrial Revolution and was all about well-constructed and handmade architecture. Though traditionally smaller houses, this custom home style can be easily translated to a bigger home. Craftsman style homes are known for their covered front porches and tapered columns, and they often include low-pitched roofs with overhanging eaves. To celebrate the handmade, many feature built-in wooden features like shelves and nooks as well as large bay windows. They utilize natural themes in their color palettes, and strive to create environments of comfort and character.

Notable features:

  • Large, covered front porch
  • Tapered columns, often with a stone base
  • Low roofs with protruding overhangs
  • Large bay and picture windows
  • Built-in features and artisanal woodwork
  • Earthy color palettes
  • Wooden siding with stucco or stone accents
  • Exposed rafters and beams
  • Warm and homey environment


Colonial style homes, as you might have guessed, have their roots in colonial eras, and include a wide array of custom home styles including Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival among others. The most distinctive design feature is a symmetrical appearance with a centrally-placed entry door and an equal number of windows on either side and above. Inside is a central stairway and frequently a square or rectangular shaped overall footprint. Inspired by Roman and Greek architecture, large, classical columns are also popular. The Colonial style regained popularity in suburbs in the middle of the century, and they still make for stunning custom homes today. 

Notable features:

  • Symmetrical exterior, often with 6-over-6 window and door design
  • Classical columns
  • Two to three stories
  • Square or rectangular shape, though additions outside those shapes are welcome
  • Grand entryways and central staircases immediately inside
  • Full-width porch
  • Exteriors of wood, brick or stone
  • Steeply pitched roofs
  • Traditional, symmetrical design

French Country

The French country style also shares some similarities with modern farmhouses, but they have a bigger emphasis on nature and thus a distinct look. If wood is the signature material of farmhouses, French country homes are known for stone work, though exteriors often mix in other materials like brick and stucco. They’re also identifiable by their tall and steeply pitched roofs as well as an intentional weathered look. French country homes strive to reach a delicate balance of rustic yet elegant and natural yet chic. It’s about the combination of comfort and beauty to create something that will last. 

Notable features:

  • Stunning stone work
  • Narrow windows and shutters
  • Pointed and steep roofs
  • Asymmetry
  • Soft lines and curves
  • Mix of materials such as brick, wood and stucco
  • Stunning driveways, patios and landscaping
  • Warm, natural color palettes
  • A lived-in and slightly weathered look
  • A charming feel that strikes the balance of elegance and nature

French Chateau

This custom home style, also referred to as Chateauesque, shares an origin and similarities to the French country home, but opts for a much more ornate style. They’re inspired by the massive French country homes of previous centuries and create a glamorous and elegant environment. You can identify them by their complex and intersecting rooflines and exteriors that create a look of grandeur. Elaborate details in the architecture give these homes the style they’re known for and invite you to pay attention to all the fascinating features. These homes celebrate indulgence and beauty and make for some truly stunning custom homes.

Notable features:

  • Intricate roofs and exterior shapes that intersect
  • Steeply pitched roofs that often feature crests
  • Exteriors of stone, brick or stucco
  • Tall windows and sometimes dormer windows
  • Two or more floors
  • Pastel or warm color palette
  • Curved lines and shapes
  • Grand staircases
  • Elaborate and well-executed details
  • An environment of grandeur and glamour

These are just a few of the custom home styles that make for special homes. Found the perfect expression of your taste? Contact us to get a conversation started about your custom home. 

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