This style became common at the end of the 19th century, when architects began to look for a style that would allow them to keep the precedents set in the past, while still creating designs never seen before. They created a catalogue, mixing and matching designs from the past to create an inspiring new design. Whereas other professionals were engrossed in imitating the styles of the past, eclecticism was focusing more on creativity mixed with nostalgia.

At the end of the 19th century, American architecture underwent a major change. Architects such as Charles Follen McKim and  Richard Morris Hunt brought the beaux- arts approach from their hometowns in Europe, creating the foundation of eclectic architecture within America. Throughout the larger cities, a number of eclectic buildings were commissioned. The style became an instant hit, as it combined historical features with newer designs, providing a hint of aristocratic architecture found only in buildings in France and Britain. This provided a sense of culture and history to Americans. Hunt was particularly creative, altering the style according to the wishes of the clients or the particular project he was working on. This freedom was something that really helped eclectic architects.

Neo-Eclectic Style

Neo- eclectic architecture does not include any of the modern features found in split level, bi- level or ranch housing. Many Neo Eclectics usually relate to post- modern commercial and governmental architecture. This style has become hugely popular in the modern buildings. The houses consist of a number of different styles, including craftsman, cape cod, mission, colonial revival and several others. While the construction methods remain similar from the earlier modern styles, the sizes as well as the architectural features have undergone a major change.

Primary Stylistic Features

  • •Two or more stories.
  • •Imitated historic styles.
  • •Multiple roof lines.
  • •Brick or stone veneer.
  • •Large footprint.
  • •Open interior spaces.
  • •Applied decorative features.

 Secondary Stylistic Features

  • •No porches.
  • •Walkways to driveway.
  • •Unfinished attics.
  • •Vinyl windows.
  • •Mixed synthetic materials.
  • •Multi-car garage.

Neo- eclectic buildings essentially reconstruct details from the past using materials of today such as faux stone and vinyl. These details are usually picked from a catalog based upon the customer’s request. This leads to a lot of ornamentation that would not be present in the original. Such structures usually feature very high roofs with numerous hips or gables. The buildings usually go as high as two or three stories, and include at least a couple of garage bays. The buildings are usually set a bit back from the streets, since it allows for a more landscaped front yard. The interiors are pretty vast, and are painted with earthen colors.

 Identifying Features:

  • •Historic Styles are imitated in modern
  • •Details from several historic styles combined in nontraditional ways
  • •Brick, stone, Vinyl and composite materials are combined
  • •High roofs with multiple gables or hips
  • •Typically 2 to 3 stories
  • •Have at least 2 garage bays
  • •Setback from the street
  • •Earthly colors used in paints and materials
  • •Open floor plans with living and eating areas together

Spanish Eclectic Style

Before 1920, most of the home designs with influence from Spain were variations of the Mission style, which was put in place by the early Spanish missionaries. However, due to the Panama- California Exposition, all of this changed in 1915. The designs of Spanish Eclectic influence can be found usually in areas where Spanish Colonial buildings stood, such as Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.


French Eclectic Style

Throughout history, the French Eclectic architecture remains the most different. The details come from a number of different flavors, as does the form. Be it asymmetrical or symmetrical, towers with conical roofs or quoins, the scope of features is vast in this type of architecture.

  1. •The one thing that remains constant however, is the steep roofline. A number of materials are usually seen, such as stucco, brick or stone. The style can be commonly mistaken for English Tudor, but there’s a difference; the English Tudor usually has front facing gables.
  2. •In the Northern America, the style was brought by soldiers who were returning home from the First World War, since they had seen homes built across the French countryside. Many soldiers brought back their own ideas, and used them for their homes. The French Eclectic style began in the 1920s, and continued on till the 1960s.

Eclectic Windows Style