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Tale of two coasts: Comparing the blurring lines between East Coast and West Coast architecture

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Tale of two coasts: Comparing the blurring lines between East Coast and West Coast architecture

More than 3,000 miles separate the East Coast from the West Coast. Culture, social habits and building styles differ between the two coasts, and things change drastically when you travel east or west. Traditionally the West Coast has been portrayed as laid back and easygoing while the East Coast is viewed as more uptight, rigid and conservative. 

For decades, these views have been reflected in the architectural trends on each coast. Traditionally, home architecture styles have varied widely throughout the United States, greatly impacted by a location’s culture, climate and heritage. West Coast architecture traditionally has a Spanish influence, and builders generally value products and designs that provide durability, affordability and flexibility in terms of design application. East Coast architecture is known for its traditional Victorian, stone and wooden buildings reflecting British and German styles. East Coast builders tend to value traditional, formal designs that boast brick construction and formal living spaces.

A recent Washington Post article shows how the architectural lines between the East Coast and West Coast are beginning to blur. Some of the traditional distinctions between East Coast and West Coast buildings are fading as buyers begin to request designs that originated well beyond their local market. This shift goes beyond the exterior of home design, impacting even minor interior layout preferences. In the article, Tim Gehman, director of design for Toll Brothers homebuilders in Philadelphia, says things as simple as the location of the master bedroom closet varies from Washington to the Carolinas. 

“Houses don’t change like hemlines, but over the past few years, trends have spread faster due to the availability of online sites like Houzz and Pinterest,” said Gehman

These online sites have encouraged more East Coast homeowners to seek the laid-back lifestyle traditionally associated with the West Coast. Recently, the informal western lifestyle has become a major national trend that continues to gain momentum as homebuyers seek open spaces focused on entertaining along with an open flow from the outdoors to the indoors. Kermit Baker, chief economist of the American Institute of Architects, told the Washington Post that “nearly all newly designed houses today have more floor space devoted to casual living areas rather than a formal living room and formal dining room.” 

As trends spread faster, homebuilders now—more than ever—have the freedom to go bicoastal with sophisticated/casual designs. Whether you specialize in designing Malibu beachfront homes or Cape Cod cottages, LP Building Products provides home architectural solutions for every region of the country.

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