Finance Property Understanding architecture: what home do you have?

Understanding architecture: what home do you have?

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Getting to know Australian architecture is tough.

Our property market is made of a mish-mash of styles, beginning with the Victorian and ending with the double- and triple-fronted brick veneer homes you see today.

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To help you gain a better idea, has put together a list of the 10 most common architecture styles, and what key features you should look out for.

Queenslander (1940s)


Queenslander architecture is a distinct and unique style originating from the state. This style was originally developed in the 1840s to survive the wet climate.

Key features

Primarily of timber construction and can be low or high-set, one to two storeys.

The house is raised off the ground, held up by vertical stumps that give the appearance that the house is ‘floating’. This is both a stylistic and practical design to accommodate to areas prone to flooding.

All Queenslanders have one or more veranda spaces (a sheltered edge of the house that is typically only part-enclosed and can be used as another living area).

Victorian (1860–1880)


Generally, this style conveys a simple elegance and respectability that is demonstrated from the small Victorian terrace house.

Key features

The facade is often stucco (rendered with a decorative coating), with cast iron lacework to verandas and balustrades.

The roof is usually slate or corrugated galvanised iron, with timber eaves.

Double hung timber windows that are often arched in shape.

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Italianate (1870–1890)


Italianate is a style in the Victorian period which exhibits classical features that resemble the Grand Italian Villas.

Key features

The roof is usually shallow and made from slate or corrugated iron.

The external facade consists of walls that have been decoratively rendered (stucco), as well as a veranda featuring cast iron lacework.

The windows are double hung with timber, and usually have decorative window hoods.

Boom Style (1875–1890)

boom style

The Boom Style shows off the prosperity of the Gold Rush and the resultant economic boom of the 1880s.

Key features

The roof is usually made of slate roof tiles which are scalloped in pattern.

This style often has a veranda, which has tessellated roof tiles (tiles in a mosaic pattern) as well as fluted cast iron columns.  The veranda is also heavily decorated with cast iron lacework.

On the external facade, it is common to see polychromatic (several colours) solid brick walls, that have been rendered and textured.

Federation/Queen Anne (1895–1915)


Federation homes borrow from the Queen Anne style, and the design celebrates the Federation of Australia with its lavish timber ornamentation to the external facade.

Key features

Most Federation homes have front verandas with decorative timber features, tiling on the patio floor and prominent entry paths.

Externally, red bricks are usually featured, and sometimes weatherboards are used.  It is also common to see painted ornate timber detailing with Australian animal and flower motifs.

The roof is usually steeply pitched and multi-faceted, and is often integrated with the veranda roof.

Roof tiles are commonly unglazed terracotta Marseilles roof tiles, corrugated galvanised iron or sometimes slate roofing.

Internally, Federation homes also have decorative internal features in the plasterwork, high ceilings and timber features.

Edwardian (1900–1915)


The Edwardian style is classified by the reign of King Edward VII. The houses are similar to Queen Anne, however they have less ornamentation.

Key features

Externally, it is common to see red bricks or painted weatherboards.

The roof is made from slate, terracotta, or corrugated galvanised roofing and is usually gabled in form, often with finials (decorative ornaments that emphasise the apex of the roof).

Many Edwardian homes also feature roof shingles, which is a type of roof covering consisting of overlapping flat tiles.

Californian Bungalow (1920s)


The Californian Bungalow style was ‘imported’ from America in the 1920s and became very popular in Australia.

The most recognisable features of this style are the thick columns that hold up the front veranda area.

Key features

The front veranda is predominantly held up by large, chunky columns.

Generally, the roof is lowly pitched and gabled, and is tiled with terracotta or concrete roof tiles.

The windows are double hung and timber, some with decorative leadlight.

Art Deco (1930s)

art deco

The Art Deco style was very modern looking at the time, and pulled together a number of features from the German Bauhaus School of Modern Design.

Key features

Art Deco homes usually have a heavy and solid appearance with geometric shapes set against curved porches and walls.

The walls are solid brick or weatherboard, with double hung windows.

The roof is usually ‘hipped’ (all sides slope downwards to the walls) with terracotta tiles.

Many of these homes also display Art Deco ornamentation, such as unique angular leadlight windows and low-relief sculptures (sculptures that shallowly protrude from the background).

Contemporary (1950s)


Contemporary 1950s houses are characteristically low pitched roofed houses, and were often replicas of the architecturally designed modern buildings of the time.

Key features

Externally, this design featured either vertical weatherboards or light coloured brick or cement sheet exterior walls.

These houses had large windows, often at the corners of the house.

The roof was low pitched with corrugated iron or steel deck roofing.

Double and triple fronted brick veneer (1960s – 1970s)

double and triple

The 1960s saw the establishment of a standard ‘brick veneer house’ – a relatively plain style, however effective and built on a relatively small budget.

Key features

Brick veneer homes feature a roof that is ‘hipped’ (all side of the roof slope downward to the walls) and tiled with concrete tiles.

The external facade consisted of a brick veneer wall, usually made from wire cut bricks that were light tan, light red or brown.

The interior usually consisted of a timber floor and very little decoration to the inner rooms.

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