Following the European and other historical revivals of the 1920s and 1930s, domestic architecture nationwide began a more simplified design approach following the old adage, “Less is more.” During and immediately following WWII, the WWII-era cottage and the early ranch became the house types of choice.
Prior to this era, the architecture of choice was the period cottage decorated in various traditional (period revival) themes. However, by the end of the 1930s a combination of events led to a transition in stylistic design. The nation at this time was recovering from the Great Depression. The effects of the Depression not only forced people to live with minimal resources but it also forced a change in how buildings were designed—more simple, with less embellishment.
Also by this time, European modernism influenced American architectural thought. Only a few daring individuals fully adopted the simple lines, lack of ornamentation, and machine-like aesthetics of modernism. But in a more subtle way, the sparseness of Modernism affected the general domestic architecture of the era.
Although houses still had a hint of historical allusion, it was in minor details such as a roof gable, implied porch pilasters, or quoins at the corners. Although houses continued to be built based on historical patterns, the majority were designed with only a slight nod to the past, and this affect on popular architecture would continue for decades to come.
--understated traditional detailing on smaller house form
--details typically include door surround, columns or pilaster, and quoins
--roof from is either hipped or gabled, sometimes with smaller projecting gables