Imitating the great cathedrals and castles of Europe, the Gothic Revival overtook the United States during the Victorian era. Picturesque Gothic Revival style ranges from grand and glorious stone castles to adorable gingerbread cottages. The common thread is the pointed arch window, which lends a church-like appearance to Gothic house plans (picture the farmhouse in Grant Wood’s American Gothic). These distinctive homes typically feature a steeply pitched roof with one or more cross gables and a one-story porch. Wood frame examples, also called Carpenter Gothic, may have vertical board-and-batten siding and gingerbread or stickwork in the gable ends and along the rooflines. In contrast, high-style urban residences are typically built of brick or stone and sport romantic crenellated towers and parapets.
On large rural lots, Gothic Revival home plans can offer the grandeur of a castle or the comforts of a farmhouse with a dressed-up exterior. They can also blend into historic neighborhoods in cities and small towns.