If you like to look at houses in your neighborhood, the chances are that you have spotted a house or two that is so big it has to be a mansion.
Most of the mansions we see today are modern and were built within the last 60 years. I was curious about what different types of mansions there are, so I thought I would research this topic.
Throughout the centuries, mansions have had different types, including Colonial, Neoclassical, Cape Cod, and Italianate or American-style mansions. Many mansions were built hundreds of years ago, and modern mansion styles take most of their inspiration from the beauty of the original mansions.
A mansion is considered a large and imposing house. There are various styles of mansions across the world. Some homes are called mansions but aren’t genuine mansions in every sense of the word.
While its actual mansions are all big, the idea of what can be called a mansion is different for everyone. I will share the information I found about different types of mansions.
What Kind Of House Is Considered A Mansion?
When we think about mansions, the first thing we think of is size. Mansions have more to them than size. When it comes to dimensions, there is no actual predetermined size that makes a house a mansion, but the consensus for most realtors is that houses between 5000 – 8000 square feet are generally considered mansions.
Mansion Rooms Compared To Regular House Rooms
Typically the difference between traditional large houses and mansions is not just in size but functions of the different rooms. There are around four bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms in typical large homes as a living room and family room.
Mansions typically have more bedrooms, and they are bigger than the bedrooms of traditional large homes. Most of them have bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. Mansions have dedicated rooms with a specific purpose, like, theatres, gyms, and libraries.
Mansions Always Have Extra Amenities
Mansions almost always have unique amenities that come with each home. Some of these amenities include:
Greenhouses And Libraries
Older mansions built over a hundred years ago had amenities that were popular for homes to have at the time and included things like libraries, greenhouses, and conservatories. The modern-day leisure amenities include large spas, high-tech media rooms, home theatre systems, gyms, and even high-security safe rooms that are the modern-day standard.
Lounges And Ballrooms
Older mansions had Ballrooms, lounges, billiard rooms, and salons that were all the rage over a hundred years ago. Modern mansions have feature rooms like game rooms, extensive studies or offices, specialty bars, and swimming pools with added cabanas to accommodate guests. These mansions can have up to 3 kitchens.
Using The Best Construction Materials Available
Regardless of the age of mansions, they are built from the best available materials. Older mansions were built with brick, stone, and plaster. In the modern-day construction of mansions, the desired features include sustainable building materials, elaborate security systems, and innovative home features.
Extensive Outdoor Features And Areas
Older mansions had extensive outdoor features that included horse stables, large elaborate gardens, and much more. Modern-day mansions have extensive outdoor areas like fire pits, hiking trails, guest houses, and expansive garages.
Different Types Of Mansions
There are several different types of mansions built in varying styles. We will look at each type in closer detail.
1. Cape Cod Mansions
Cape Cod mansions originated in New England in the 1600s and were inspired by British thatched cottages. These beautiful mansions have steep roofs with large chimneys to help better withstand the cold Northeastern winters. Cape Cod mansions are broad, low, single-story frame buildings.
There Are Two Types Of Cape Cod Mansion Styles
The originals were built between the 1600s and late 1800s. These original mansions were built with a single story to center around the warmth of the hearth. These were initially modest homes, but huge Cape Cod mansions soon followed as the style became more popular.
The modern version of the Cape Cod mansion falls into three versions of the original Cape Cod, the full Cape, the half Cape, and the three-quarter Cape. These modern-day versions of the Cape Cod mansions sometimes have multiple stories but still, have shingle-clad exteriors with steep rooftops and symmetrical features.
Cape Cod mansions often feature two steeped roof buildings bound in the middle by a flat roof section. They have lots of large windows that let in tons of natural light and help warm the whole house up.
These modern-day mansions offer six to eight bedrooms with double the number of bathrooms and beautiful amenities like swimming pools, guest cottages, and much more.
2. The Georgian Mansion
The Georgian mansion style originated in the 1700s in New England and was inspired by the Italian Renaissance era. The Georgian style grew in popularity until the 1780s.
These homes were typically made with little embellishment. They have multiple windows symmetrically located at the front of the house to enhance the natural light.
The multiple windows are usually situated five across and have shutters. The style relies on a symmetrical box shape, and it typically features a plain brick build. The Georgian mansion style was used for big plantation houses and homes of wealthy tobacco farmers.
It became popular to use the Georgian mansion style for the home and design elaborate landscapes and outdoor buildings to enhance its overall aesthetics. One famous example of a Georgian-style mansion is Stowe House in Buckinghamshire.
Modern-day Georgian mansions have the same plain features as the classic buildings, with a few modern touches like giant columns to enhance the front door. They can feature between 6-10 bedrooms and sometimes more, with huge walk-in closets and other stunning amenities.
3. The Colonial Mansion
They are called Colonial mansions because the United States was a British colony at the time. Colonial-style homes are some of the most recognizable mansions in America.
These beautiful homes have influences from European, English, and Spanish-style homes and were first introduced to America by the Europeans in the late 1600s.
The colonial mansion became popular in America during the early 1700s and 1900s.
There are several mansion and home types that fall under the Colonial style. Here are some of the styles that morphed out of the classic Colonial mansion.
There are many different types of colonial mansion styles. Here are six other styles of Colonial mansions.
a. The British Colonial
The British Colonial is probably the most popular of all the Colonial-style houses in America. These houses were originally built by the British settlers that came to America, and they were constructed out of wood. These houses have a simplistic design and usually have two stories with a fireplace in the middle of the house.
The standard British Colonial usually had diamond-shaped, lead-paned windows, and the side-gabled steep roof had overlapping shingles that helped keep the rain and snow out of the house.
b. The Dutch Colonial
The most distinct feature that these huge homes have in common is the gambrel roof that the Dutch settlers introduced to the United States when they first settled here. The other features that make the Dutch colonials stand out are the single dormers with three windows. Some of the houses don’t have dormers at all.
The outside of these big Dutch homes was just as unique, with shingle siding and had round windows and pillars on the porch. The homes are made of brick and mortar, have symmetrical sides, twin chimneys at opposite sides of the home, and split doors.
c. The German Colonial
The German colonial mansions were introduced to America at the same time as the British Colonial homes. These homes have a very similar look, but the German Colonials have unique features that distinguish them from the British Colonial.
These features include the material made from sandstone and not wood as the British Colonial was made of and the window casement. The German Colonial has windows that are symmetrically located at the sides of the home, with tiny arches above each window.
The other features of the German Colonial include thick walls insulated against the cold and the gabled roof.
d. The Spanish Colonial
The original Spanish Colonial style has its origins in Spain and Mexico. These homes look similar to the American-style Ranch homes with multiple doors and several small windows. They have only one floor, and the windows were designed to stay open as it gets scorching in these areas, and the open windows help circulate the air cooling the mansions off.
They were built from stucco-clad walls, and one of the most notable features of the Spanish Colonials that we still see in modern-day versions of these mansions are the big inner courtyards. They also have flat, pitched roofs and have thatched or clay tiles.
e. The French Colonial
The French Colonial mansions are found more in the Southern parts of the United States than the German, Dutch, and British Colonial homes that were more prominently built in the North. The French settlers brought their unique flavor to the typical Colonial style.
These mansions included multiple doors and windows to let cool the house off, and these doors were used to access the different parts of the home rather than using the staircases inside the home. These homes typically had two floors and wrap-around porches on both floors.
The bottom floor was used for leisure activities and other household functions, while the top floor was used mainly as the living area. These homes were mainly constructed using a mix of brick, wood, animal hair, and mud.
f. The Colonial Revival
The Colonial Revival mansions originated in America in the early 1800s, the height of the industrial revolution. These homes were a tribute to the early settlers and ended up being style blends of all the different Colonial styles; the main style that can prominently be seen, though, is the Georgian style.
These mansions were home to the elite members of society and were seen as a sign of a family’s wealth to own one. The Colonial Revivals have multiple-pane bay windows with shutters and decorative handmade moldings on the ceilings. They had rectangular-shaped, medium-pitched gabled roofs and were symmetrically shaped.
They had brick or wood sidings, stunning decorative shutters, elaborate pillars, columns, and entrances that were the norm for these homes.
g. The Modern-Day Colonial Mansion
The modern-day Colonial mansions take their inspiration from a mix of the other colonial styles but still have features that are widely associated with traditional Colonial houses, such as the home centers around the kitchen and den; there are detailed fireplaces in rooms adorned with expensive crown moldings, large staircases, and elegant entrances.
These mansions have enough rooms for a large family and several guests and feature amenities like indoor pools, detailed basements, and other recreational rooms.
4. The Victorian Mansion
Victorian Mansions are referred to as such because they were all built during the reign of Queen Victoria. These homes were huge two to three-floor homes.
They had rather large rooms with elaborate detailing in the bedrooms and reception rooms. They usually had tiled floors and running water (an unseen luxury for most homes at the time).
Some of the Victorian mansions had gingerbread trim painted white, and there aren’t very many of these older Victorian mansions left in America. Modern-day Victorian-style mansions have some of the original Victorian features like the detailed terraces and hand-carved railings.
These are not what you would call authentic mansions. They are large mass-produced homes that have the space of mansions, but all look the same.
They are marketed to middle-class and upper-class families and started to pop up around America after 1970. These McMansions might be built to look fabulous but don’t hold to the style and originality of authentic mansions.
They have large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and amenities, but some of the outer and inner features don’t match the home’s overall aesthetics. Often these homes are built in a cookie-cutter fashion, and architects are rarely used to design the homes, so the features don’t exude the authentic feel and look of proper mansions.
These homes usually come with a small plot of land that you share with a neighbor and feature outdoor amenities like swimming pools. The disproportionate size of the homes to the small plot of land they are built on usually makes these homes look out of place.
6. The Craftsman Mansion
The Craftsman mansions and homes were introduced to the American public when the Industrial Revolution took off. The idea of cookie-cutter-style fast-built homes was taking root. It had a significant impact on hard-working laborers, and some people fought against these cheaply made homes.
It was the start of the Arts and Crafts movement heavily promoted by a man named Gustave Stickley. He started the popular The Craftsman magazine, wherein he shared home styles and building plans that were plain, and simple, and made use of quality local materials and labor.
These houses grew in popularity and eventually size, creating more mansions coined Craftsman. These mansions had huge porches and over-extended eaves that covered the porches from rain and too much sun. They had thick columns around the home’s perimeter, and wood, stucco, or stone was used to construct these homes.
The homes were usually painted or built to incorporate neutral tones like beige and brown. The interior of these mansions was just as unique as the outside and had features like window seats, built-in bookshelves, and a few fireplaces.
7. Italianate Mansions
These stunning mansions had their beginning in the mid-late 1800s. These homes had the overall theme of ornamentation, not structure.
They were loosely modeled after Italian villas but became so popular in America that they are sometimes called the American style. Their box frames and embellished cornices, doorways, and entrances make these homes easily recognizable.
They have a simple shape and usually feature two or more floors. They have gently sloped roofs with deep overhanging eaves that are usually supported by corbels or brackets that are heavily decorated. There is usually one entrance with double doors. They have long, thin windows that are rounded at the top and usually spaced in sets of threes.
These mansions are typically constructed using bricks, stucco, and stone as building materials. The last distinguishing feature of these homes is a square cupola situated in the middle just above the roofline.
8. The Mediterranean Mansions
The Mediterranean mansions became hugely popular between 1918 – 1940. They were modeled after the hacienda-style homes found in the Mediterranean.
They often feature some of the original design elements like the roof tiles and red color, the carved heavy wooden doors, and elaborate decoration.
They are also noted to have lots of arches and multi-colored tiles throughout the house. They have elaborate raw iron and metalwork that adorn the windows, doors, and balconies. They have red tube-shaped tiles that are usually terracotta.
9. Neoclassical Mansions
The Neoclassical mansions were popular in the early 20th century and drew most of their inspiration from classic Roman and Greek architecture. Some of the most famous governmental buildings were built in the Neoclassic style.
The style exudes wealth, and one of the first famous people in American history, Thomas Jefferson, owned a Neoclassic mansion, the Monticello.
The most common features that these mansions have in common are the grandiose size, dramatic columns, use of simple geometric shapes. They also have either domed or flat roofs, depending on the style and the use of Doric Greek or Roman detailing.
There are three types of Neoclassic styles:
The Palladian-style Neoclassic mansions were inspired by the Renaissance area. These massive buildings were created to look like Roman temples with their wide columns and imposing size. One of the most famous Palladian Style buildings is the Capitol Building in America. This building was the realization of Thomas Jefferson, who loved the style.
These buildings were inspired by the famous works of Renaissance artist Andrea Palladio. He loved the look and symmetrical style of buildings like the Parthenon Building in Athens, Greece.
There are mansions created in the style of Ancient Greece all over the world. They were inspired by the buildings that were Ancient Greek Temples.
They all had big blocks built with flat or rectangular rooftops and were adorned with many columns and embellished carvings. One of the most recognizable buildings that were inspired by the Greek Temples is the British Museum.
This style has vast rectangular buildings emphasized by their many arched openings or windows. The mansions in this style have multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and amenities. The stately and imposing entrances are standard features of this style of Neoclassical style.
These mansions were divided into multiple levels and the exterior designs repeated in each level. This particular style was used in many government buildings from around the world. Some mansions have since been divided into significant apartment buildings, but the original style was left intact.
10. English Country Mansion
These were the classic mansions we read about in romantic and classic novels. These exceptional mansions are set in the English countryside and were home to the wealthiest members of Europe. They were usually situated on great plots of land with tons of indoor and outdoor amenities. Many of these gargantuan homes had intricate mansion layouts with many, many rooms.
Primarily used as an entertainment house, the classic English country mansion was built with up to 12 bedrooms and bathrooms, with a vast number of staff members to keep up with the maintenance of the mansion. English Mansions or manors weren’t always occupied throughout the year by the owners.
The owners of these homes usually had city dwellings, only on a smaller scale. They used these country homes as an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Usually, the style of these manors was very symmetrical, with wide arches and many windows on all levels. They had multiple floors built with quality materials like stone and brick.
There are still some of these stately homes today. Many mansions built in this style are smaller in scale but still exude the stunning look of the original manors. Sadly with the agricultural depression from 1880 to 1885, some of these beautiful manors were demolished by their owners.
The owners were forced to sell expensive features like fireplaces and other decorative pieces. They could no longer afford the upkeep as it took a vast number of staff members to maintain these manors. Some of the classic English mansions were home to royal descendants, and these mansions were passed down through the generations.