Denver’s Architectural Flair: A Guide to the Different Housing Styles in the Mile High City

Denver’s Architectural Flair: A Guide to the Different Housing Styles in the Mile High City


Architecture in Denver is not immune to the influence of trends and styles in residential design. After all, architecture is art and each home is a reflection of the people who reside to call their place home.

Denver has a rich collection of architecture with popular housing styles defined by the era of their construction.

The Victorian

Victorian style

From the highly decorative to a more subdued style, Victorian architecture is hard to miss in Denver neighborhoods with the asymmetrical fronts, tower and turrets, wraparound porches, balconies, stained glass and high brick chimneys.

This design reflects the architectural style between the period of 1840 to 1860 and continuing through 1910. Colorado became a State in 1876, which explains the influence of Victorian style in many of Denver’s older neighborhoods

Denver localities offering Victorian-Era homes include Park Hill, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park and the Highlands


The Denver Square

Denver Square

A Foursquare home called in other parts of the United States or Denver Square as it became known locally, reached its height of popularity at the end of the Victorian period. Most were constructed after the Silver Crash in 1893 when architecture in general veered toward the less ornate and more accessible approach. From the flamboyant display of the Victorian, Denver Square is a model of simplicity and efficiency.

The Denver Square is characterized by a two-story home built of brick (though other materials were sometimes used) with matching square footage on the first and second floors. For some houses, there are smaller but finished third floors as well. The efficiency is evident in the division of space, which allows for a good amount of space that could be practically utilized.

Denver neighborhoods offering Denver Square homes are actually seen on every block within a 5-mile radius of Denver’s center. Found throughout the city, they are especially common in Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, City Park, and West Highlands.


The Classic Cottage

The Classic Cottage

 A more straightforward (and some would say, plainer) counterpart to the Foursquare is the Classic Cottage or commonly known as “Cottage Home.” It is similar in shape to the Foursquare but with a central dormer and more simple ornamentation. Other features include a front porch, hipped roof and flared eaves.

The first of its kind was constructed in 1893 following the great depression and followed through its popularity to the 1920s. The Classic Cottage is a common housing style in the working class neighborhoods.

Denver neighborhoods with this architectural variety are Globeville, Highlands, Whittier, and West Washington Park.


The Bungalow

The Classic Denver Bungalow

The original California bungalows were influenced by Queen Anne Victorian style architecture though in the form of one-story cottages. The classic American bungalow style reflected the combination of different influences in details, such as Swiss, English, and Japanese. The Bungalow design features wooden, natural beams, stone chimneys, tapered columns, exposed rafters, spacious front porch, and built-in cabinets.

This residential architecture overtook the Denver Square popularity between 1910 and 1930 when the Arts and Crafts movement spread throughout the country during this period hence, influencing the look of the Bungalow. The style was promoted as the most efficient living space. Basements were also developed as additional space at home, which is an ideal (and practical) addition for the changes in weather by providing insulated areas that stay warm during the colder months and stay cool in the summer.

There are many bungalows in Washington Park, Congress Park, Park Hill and the West Highlands


The Tudor & English Revival


The Tudor

The English Revivals happened in Denver between the World Wars. Tudor homes in particular, rose to fame in the 1920s and 1930s. Other Revivals include the Elizabethan and the Jacobian.

Dominant features include steeply pitched roofs, elaborate brickwork, half-timbering, tall chimneys, and terra cotta detailing. The interior design includes casement windows, covered ceilings, oak trim and floors, and grand front rooms or entryway.

Tudor architecture is commonly found in Park Hill, Hilltop, Country Club, and Bonnie Brae.


The International Style

The International Style

International style homes started in Denver in the 1930s when the design idea spread to the United States from Europe. This architecture was officially introduced at the first architectural exhibition held in 1931 at the Museum of Modern Art.

The International Style makes use of concrete and glass, and capitalizes on horizontal focus with flat roofs, casement and corner windows. While it can be compared in similarity to Art Deco, the International style makes do without unnecessary embellishments.

Some Denver neighborhoods offering homes with International design are Bonnie Brae and Washington Park East.




Photo from Denver Condo Loft

Lofts usually originate from older industrial or warehouse buildings with large, undivided spaces converted into a residential place. This style has carried on to today’s design philosophies where living spaces are constructed intentionally as Lofts.

Central Denver boasts of many loft style residences where the main attraction is being in the heart of the city close to restaurants, bars and clubs, sporting events, shopping venues, and all other amenities that urban Denver has to offer.

Lower Downtown or LoDo has preserved the historic world of Denver while enjoying the contemporary twist of the city.

These different housing styles speak volumes of Denver’s rich architecture history – proud and diverse, it makes for an effortless blend of the old and new, rustic and urban, and the modern and suburban living throughout the different Denver neighborhoods.



About the author

The Blake Team is a full-service Real Estate team based in Aurora, Colorado specializing in working with Buyers & Sellers, foreclosures/HUD, short sales, and luxury properties. A team with years of experience and an impressive success rate that made it the No.18 real estate brokerage in the nation, as well as the No.1 Keller Williams agent in Colorado led by CEO & Founder Lisa Blake. The Blake Team is your No. 1 choice for getting your dream home!