A regional interpretation of the Mid-Century Modern architecture movement of the 30s, 40s, and 50s, Northwest home styles are found only in the Pacific Northwest and feature sprawling glass windows, distinctive flat roofs, and design elements that include natural materials and resources harvested locally from the home site.
Northwest Home Exterior Examples
Check out these spectacular homes showcasing Northwest-style architecture.
1. Two-Story Home with 4 Bedrooms
Beautiful wood siding accentuated with striking stones embellishes this two-story Northwest home. Sleek windows give a modern appeal while a pergola walkway leading to the main entrance creates a great impression.
2. Two-Story 6-Bedroom Contemporary Northwest Home with In-Law Apartment
A blend of gray stucco and horizontal siding lend a contemporary charm to this Northwest home. Gable rooflines adorned with decorative brackets and a portico lined with double columns complete the look.
3. 4-Bedroom Two-Story Mountain Home with First Floor Primary Suite
This two-story home boasts a stately facade complemented with lush landscaping and a terracotta walkway. It is further enhanced by rustic detailing including decorative trims, fieldstone accents, and a barrel-vaulted entry.
4. 6-Bedroom Two-Story Home with Sports Court
Steeply pitched gables mimick the mountainous landscape of this two-story home. It is wrapped in cedar shakes highlighted by beautiful stones.
5. Single-Story 3-Bedroom Northwest 614 Home
This house features a spacious gabled porch framed with natural wood trims. Stone accents add rich texture to the exterior.
6. Two-Story 4-Bedroom Dennis Home
The warm glow from the interior and outdoor lamps complement well with the cedar shake exterior of this Northwest home.
7. Two-Story 5-Bedroom Contemporary Northwest Home with Double Garage
Modern elements including wood and stone siding, large glass windows, and flat rooflines give this Northwest home a contemporary appeal.
8. Two-Story 3-Bedroom Northwest Home
Natural elements of this home’s exterior reflects its surrounding. It is then incorporated with desert landscaping which enhances the natural atmosphere of this Northwest home.
9. Two-Story 4-Bedroom Home for a Wide Lot with Cabana Clubhouse
This mansion is oozing with luxury details boasting its brick exterior, Greek columns, decorative arches, shuttered windows, and grand covered entry.
10. 4-Bedroom Single-Story Northwest New American Home with Open Concept Living
The dark exterior of this Northwest home stands out against the lush greenery. It features brick siding and multiple gables in varying heights which add character to the home.
Northwest Style Interior Examples (by Room)
The following are photo examples of Farmhouse style interiors (room-by-room). Below each photo are links that take you to extensive Farmhouse style photo galleries for each room.
This soaring living room radiates a cozy ambiance with its warm yellow walls, medium-tone hardwood floor, and an eye-catching fireplace which sets a stunning focal point to the room.
Northwest kitchen with limestone flooring, natural wood cabinetry, and granite countertops that match the backsplash. Stainless steel appliances add elegance to the room.
Light and airy dining room surrounded by massive windows and a collapsible wall. It offers cozy woven chairs and wooden benches that mirror the dining table.
A romantic fireplace along with an ornate drum pendant hanging from the tray ceiling enhances the warm atmosphere in this primary bedroom.
This primary bathroom exudes opulence with its corner shower, a sink vanity, and a deep soaking tub topped with panoramic windows. The bright natural light from the windows and skylight is balanced by the warm glow of sconces and chandeliers.
The winding staircase with wrought iron framing creates a great impression in this entry hall. A baby grand piano intensifies the elegance while large stone pillars create designation to the shared spaces.
Northwest Style Home Landscaping
Natural landscaping in the middle of the circular driveway creates an impressive focal point to this Northwest home. Lush lawn complemented with gravels and green plants complete the look.
What is Northwest Home Decor?
The Northwest home style or the Northwest Regional home style is a type of architecture found in the Pacific Northwest, introduced to the area between 1935 and 1960. This type of home architecture is often viewed as a simple variation of the International style. Further, this style is often viewed as a modernist architecture movement but is originally found exclusively in the Pacific Northwest.
Although originally found in the Pacific Northwest, this type of architecture is starting to experience a resurgence throughout the United States in modern times. There are several key features that the Northwest home style is known for.
First, the trademark of the Northwest home-style features unpainted, exposed wood components, usually made of cedar. The wood structures help to connect this type of home with the abundant trees and forests found in the Pacific Northwest. These exposed wooden features can be found both inside and outside the structure, and are a key element of this particular type of home.
Secondly, these homes often feature asymmetric floor plans that use an extensive amount of glass. The homes are usually wrapped with large and sprawling glass windows that really help to take advantage of the picturesque settings in the Northwest. The glass can be featured on either floor of the home, and the windows do not have to function.
These homes are often precariously placed on steep, sloping embankments around the Pacific Northwest. This means that the homes are often tiered or terraced, introducing several different levels as the home is literally built into the side of a hill or cliff. For this reason, though, these homes are able to take full advantage of the beautiful views and vistas that are often only seen when placed on the precipice of the mountainside.
The final key element for a Northwest-style home is a flat roof. The roofs rarely are pitched, and the flat roof can span the entire footprint of the home. The flat roof often will overhang the eaves slightly and will include very minimal decoration or additions. The roof should simply serve a purpose and is not meant for additional ornamentation.
Interior Style Features
- Natural Materials: One way architects working in the Northwest home-style were able to differentiate themselves from other architects in the United States was to use natural materials found locally at the home site throughout the design, both inside and outside the home. These homes typically see a tremendous amount of wood throughout the home, including as paneling for the walls and the ceiling. The wood was usually harvested directly from the home site. Also, these homes usually feature a great deal of local stone that is included in everything from supporting pillars to fireplaces inside.
- Natural Light: While the Pacific Northwest is certainly beautiful, there are plenty of rainy and dreary days. To combat this, architects took full advantage of integrating natural light wherever possible in their designs. This meant that the expansive use of glass throughout the construction was not only decorative but also functional. On sunny days, the use of glass throughout the home is able to simply bathe the interior with beautiful and natural sunlight.
- Simple, Clean: The overall architectural style emerged from the Bauhaus movement, which later spurred Mid-Century Modern into creation. For this reason, there are several simple and minimalist design features found throughout the interior. The interiors are understated, with true form over function throughout the design. There is minimal ornamentation or decoration, and everything found within the interior is suited for a dedicated purpose.
- Open: Generally speaking, the floor plans for a Northwest-style home is open, with very few impediments interrupting the line of sight through the sprawling windows throughout the design.
Exterior Style Features
- Unpainted Wood: One of the key defining features of this style of architecture is unpainted wood. The original architects of the Northwest home-style took great pride in harvesting the build materials from the home site, which meant featuring a great amount of unpainted, local wood in the overall structure as well as the design.
- Asymmetric Style: Often, these homes are asymmetric and are precariously perched atop steep slopes. This is mostly a necessary design feature in order to fit in well with the rugged and often steep Pacific Northwest terrain. These homes often feature multiple, asymmetrical levels that are terraced along a steep hillside. The terrace design feature also allows these homes to take full advantage of the beautiful vistas surrounding these homes in the Pacific Northwest.
- Glass: To take advantage of the beautiful vistas and surrounding forests, architects of the Northwest style integrated huge amounts of glass throughout their designs. The glass in these homes is absolutely sprawling, turning traditional walls into entire windows to better view the surrounding beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
- Flat Roofs: Gone are the pitched and traditional overhung roofs and in our flat and simplistic roofs. The trademark Northwest home-style features flat and simple roofs that often slightly jet over the eaves. Roofs can be made of any material and are usually meant to serve a purpose rather than contribute to the decorative design.
- Stone: The use of natural stone throughout this design is pivotal, and often the stone will be collected from the original build site. Stone can be used for any portion of the home, ranging from a stoned support pillar on the exterior to a stoned fireplace on the interior of the home. The stone should be local to the area and left rough and unfinished.
- Wood: The key building feature of any Northwest home is wood. Usually, the wood is sourced from the original build site and features only local species of wood. The wood is heavily featured on both the interior and the exterior. Wood is to be left unpainted and natural, allowing the beauty of the color and grain to show through in this home design. Many of the best Northwest home designs feature huge wooden components with large and sprawling natural beams. Wood can be decorative on the interior as well, acting as flooring, paneling, or ceiling material. The wood should be left unpainted and natural, building a connection between the interior of the home and exterior surroundings.
- Glass: The Pacific Northwest is dreary and rainy, with minimal amounts of sunlight. To allow the most amount of natural light to penetrate through the home, expansive use of glass is used throughout. Entire walls are glass in this style of home to serve both form and function. Not only is the glass beautiful to look at, and to view the surrounding natural elements, but the glass is an excellent way to capture as much natural sunlight as possible. The glass on these homes allows the inhabitant to take advantage of the natural resources surrounding the home by naturally lighting the home with the few sunny Pacific Northwest days.
The Northwest home style of architecture is simple and modern. There are natural wooden elements that are meant for functional purposes with minimal decoration or ornamentation. Northwest home-style evolved from the larger Mid-Century Modern movement, and so it follows that typical Mid-Century modern decor will fit very nicely with this type of home style.
Consider adding natural wooden furniture with unpainted wood as the predominant feature. Styles should be simple and elegant, while still able to provide the right amount of form to function as intended. A person should be comfortable while relaxing, but chairs and couches shouldn’t be overstated.
For wall decor, consider pieces that will reflect the geometric elements found throughout the home. Simple, yet functional is the name of the game. Find decorative pieces that will not only function well for their purpose but will blend seamlessly with the overall design, allowing the simplistic lines of the home architecture itself to shine through. If possible, find unpainted natural wood elements that are reflective of the beautiful landscape just outside the front door.
Lastly, art should be equally simplistic, yet still able to convey the beauty of the natural world. Consider art pieces that reflect the natural setting with simple geometric shapes and patterns. If possible, keep colors muted to better blend with the surrounding natural elements throughout the home. Take advantage of landscape artwork that will seamlessly blend the exterior surroundings with the interior feel.
Styles that Mix Well with the Northwest Home Style
The Northwest home-style evolved entirely from the Bauhaus and Mid-Century Modern movement with its functional, and simple lines. The difference though is that the Northwest home style is regionally unique to the Pacific Northwest for its expansive use of local and natural materials.
For this reason, though, typical Mid-Century Modern designs and styles will blend seamlessly with the Northwest home style. Each has very similar lines and features, with the only difference being the Northwest style features indigenous materials found only at the home’s build site.
Further, because of the overlap between the Pacific Northwest and Japan, Japanese styles will also fit well with the Northwest home style and design. Japanese art, furniture, and architecture share similar features that will help the two styles mingle and overlap with one another. Consider adding an element of Japanese artwork or furniture into your Northwest style home.
Brief Historic Overview
The Northwest home style is completely indigenous to the Pacific Northwest, taking great cues from the surrounding landscape and setting. However, the ideas for the movement were spawned by the Bauhaus movement, a key design practice that helped to form modernist architecture around the world. The philosophy shared between the Bauhaus movement and modern architecture is to have clean, and simple designs.
As modern architecture design philosophies swept the world, similarities started to emerge between the Pacific Northwest and Japan. Both of these regions have very similar geography, and often feature similar plants and settings. The build materials are similar, as well as the varied landscapes found in these two regions of the world.
For this reason, the Northwest home style was greatly influenced by not only the Bauhaus movement but also Japanese architecture. It is evident that there is a tremendous amount of crossover featured between these two regional styles of architecture.
Although it may look very similar to Mid-Century Modern homes and architecture styles, the Northwest home-style took on a look and feel all it’s own. This is because the local architects that helped to create Northwest home-style regularly pulled inspiration and materials from the home site, exclusively found in the Pacific Northwest. This means that the Northwest home style can simply be viewed as a regional interpretation of Mid-Century Modern architecture.
Unsurprisingly then, some of the greatest Northwest home-style architects are based in the Pacific Northwest. Two of the most famous pioneers of this style, Paul Hayden Kirk and Paul Thiry, were both graduates of the famed University of Washington architecture program. Portland, Oregon also was home to several famous architects who regularly worked in the Northwest style such as the Italian Pietro Belluschi.
Why Does Northwest Home Style Look Great?
Aside from hearkening back to a modernist period, the Northwest home style is a wonderful and beautiful style of architecture that is found exclusively in the United States. This regional twist on a larger global architecture movement is able to make the Northwest home-style special, unique, and found only in the Pacific Northwest.
Taking full advantage of the beautiful setting, Northwest home style is able to integrate the natural surroundings into a simplistic and cohesive design. Utilizing large unpainted timbers and stone from the home site is a way to connect the home with nature, and create a completely unique design. Further, to combat the dreary Northwest days, the expansive use of glass creates a stunning and functional purpose.
The asymmetric home-style gives interest to the overall build, but yet adds an element of practicality. The homes are able to be terraced to not only put them in a more sound position on their home site but allow them to take full advantage of the naturally beautiful vistas surrounding the Pacific Northwest. Not only is the Northwest home-style stunning, but it is practical too. Evolved out of the modernist movement, the Northwest home style is completely unique and indigenous to the Pacific Northwest.