One of the Architectural Styles everyone knows are Victorian styles. Characterized by fanciful ornamentation and often colors, these homes were built in the second half of the 19th century and are most famously depicted by the so called “painted ladies” in San Francisco.
Did you also know that these Victorians are also considered Edwardian? The technical reason for the change in nomenclature, if not outright change in style, is the passing of Queen Victoria I’s death in 1901. Since the style is merely a representation of what was popular at the time, it’s name represents the a timeframe more so than any correlation between the British monarchy and the architecture itself.
As with the naming conventions, the architectural styles themselves are not set in stone. Rather, they are broad categories which tend to have certain characteristics. That’s why your average Ranch home is very similar to a Contemporary and either could be a split, depending on its layout.
While often confused by the general public and real estate agents alike, the National Register of Historic Places classifies properties by the type of architecture, which includes over 40 types. Wikipedia’s entry is more user friendly than the government’s. Not all all properties fit into these classifications and some fit into several. The National Association of Realtors created an abridged version that covers the major types in the US.