Hottest Architectural Styles in Forest Hills

Robert Antonini

Forest Hills is a welcoming suburb filled with lavish green spaces and striking natural beauty. Those fortunate enough to call this community home are favored with a small-town atmosphere while benefitting from the many urban amenities in nearby Grand Rapids. Locals enjoy hiking in nearby Cascade Peace Park or attending community events at the Ada History Center. Forest Hills is also home to some of the area's most popular architectural styles.

Forest Hills has something for every taste, ranging from modern farmhouses to sleek and minimalist designs. Among the most popular styles is the Craftsman-style home, which emphasizes natural materials and handcrafted details. Another popular style is Colonial-style, characterized by elegant details and classic symmetry. Clean lines and a focus on functionality make Mid-Century Modern an excellent choice for those who prefer a contemporary look. Forest Hills architecture offers a variety of styles to suit every taste.

Craftsman style

Many homes in Forest Hills are variations of classical styles. Homes built more recently combine chic contemporary elements with characteristics of other styles. Craftsman-style homes, popular between 1900 and 1929, have reemerged as a significant home style. More likely, the style has never really lost popularity.

Overhanging eaves and wide front porches are common features of Craftsman or Arts and Crafts style homes. Generally, the roofs are low-slung and gabled. Most of them are crafted from wood, stucco, or stone. These homes are built with simplicity to allow them to blend into the landscape. In the beautifully lush Forest Hills surroundings, Craftsman homes look sophisticated and natural.

Mid-Century Modern

During the mid-20th century, modern architecture emphasized clean lines, muted curves, and simplicity over ornamentation. While large windows let in natural light, the interior design focused on purpose and utility, and open floor plans blended indoor and outdoor living spaces. These homes have more polished lines with contiguous organic shapes.

Mid-Century Modern houses still have appeal due to their clean but interesting look. Forest Hill's leafy trees and blue skies provide enough elaboration for aesthetic expression. This style alone, or in combination with newer designs, can be found in existing Forest Hill homes or those listed on the market.

Colonial Revival

Colonial houses date back to the American Colonial period. Even though actual Colonial homes were not built after the Revolutionary War, their basic framework has remained a widespread influence on residential architecture ever since.

The Colonial Revival style is known for its mix of elements and wide range of options. Many Colonial characteristics combine with ornate Victorian features, including intricate detailing, porticos, moldings, and large windows. This home style combines symmetry and structure from the colonial period with fanciful tastes from the Victorian era. Contemporary versions of this style look stunning and classic.

Ranch style

Ranch-style houses are a prolific style in owned homes and searched-for houses. They are always one story and usually have an open layout. Many have patios as well. Roofs are typically long and low-pitched, and the front of the house is usually lined with large windows. Ranch homes can be rectangular in shape or even U- or L-shaped.

Many Forest Hill homes are situated on large lots. The sprawling layout of the Ranch style is well suited for these larger yards. You will often find this style of home with sliding glass doors that access a large patio where homeowners can sit and enjoy the beautiful southeastern Michigan summers.

Greek Revival

Between 1840 and 1860, the Greek Revival style was trendy. Architects in France and England created heavy temple-like buildings during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and American architects, builders, and homeowners adopted the style. Typically, box-like buildings were designed in the style of ancient Greek temples. In smaller domestic structures, simple ornamentation was used.

A characteristic of the Greek Revival style is the use of multi-paned windows and rectangular transoms at entrances. Low-pitched gables, similar to those of classical temples, were topped with substantial cornices. Greek Revival buildings often have columns and pilasters that mimic ancient structures. Contemporary homes built in this style have a clean, classic look.

Georgian style

Georgian houses are characterized by their exact symmetry and proportion and their use of the Golden Ratio. Many English-speaking countries and colonies constructed them between 1714 and 1830 during the reign of Britain's four King Georges. It is typical for Georgian homes in the United States to have either a side-gabled roof or a hipped roof, which slopes inwards and upwards from all four sides, with roofs appearing more symmetrical from a distance when hidden behind decorative parapets and walls. Occasionally, there will be a sash window in a dormer.

While there are a few Georgian-style homes in Forest Hills, many were built with Georgian-style influences. These homes have doors and windows that allow abundant natural light. The symmetry and order of this style of home create a grand presence. When built on a larger scale, they resemble stately mansions.

The architecture of nearby buildings

Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton: This stunning building was originally The Pantlind Hotel, built in 1913. In 1981, it opened up as the Amway Grand Plaza after being renovated. The building is built in the Beaux Arts style. This style emerged from French Classicism and then Neoclassicism. The style features a flat roof, a raised first story, arched windows and doors, classical details, and symmetrical design, and often includes statuary or sculpture.

Cathedral of St. Andrew: This dazzling, ornate church still functions today. It was built in the Gothic Revival style, characterized by distinctive pointed arches, vaulted roofs, cross gables, towers, and framing timbers that are exposed. Its front entrance was remodeled in 2009, and the piazza emulating Michelangelos’s Capitoline Hill piazza was laid.

McKay Tower: Built first as the Wonderly Building in 1890, the building was bought by Frank D. McKay in the 1940s. The building is an excellent example of the Greek Revival style.

Explore Forest Hills' architectural styles

Forest Hills is a stunning place with unique charm and beauty. Architecture styles in this area range from historic and traditional to modern and cutting-edge. Exploring the tree-lined streets or admiring its picturesque homes is always exciting. If you are ready to explore this special place, full of natural beauty, contact Robert Antonini.

*Header photo courtesy of Robert Antonini

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