The History Behind Shingle-Style Homes in New England

What began as a variation of late 19th-century Victorian architecture now holds an enduring legacy in New England: shingle-style homes.

Marked by their colonial-inspired shingled exterior and recognizable gambrel or hip roofs, shingle-style homes have made a lasting impression on New England architecture for their representation of abundance and relaxation.

A symbol of luxury and leisure, the shingle-style home was aptly dubbed “the architecture of the American summer” by Vincent Scully. They represent coastal beauty, languid summer holidays and American individualism. The unique architectural style was developed between 1880 and 1900 and was originally most popular in coastal locations. While many of the style’s defining characteristics pulled inspiration from Queen Anne and Victorian-style architecture, its essence is distinctly American: porches punctuating the exterior, complex Palladian windows welcoming natural sunlight, and asymmetrical eclecticism representing a new genre of architecture. We frequently pull inspiration from the traditional shingle-style in our own work to keep the spirit of New England alive on the waterfront:

Pratt Island

We built this shingle-style home on a craggy New England mini-peninsula that frames the Long Island Sound’s views of New York City. We kept pieces of the original ranch house that existed on the property and enveloped it with a new structure. The result was a shingle-style home with a hint of tradition and modern eclecticism, rich in texture and representative of New England tradition.

Greenwich Cove

This shingle-style home we completed in Greenwich grows out of its environment. The home’s elements represent the natural elements surrounding it: maple wide-plank flooring echoes soft beach sand, reclaimed limestone tile gives the home a rusty and coastal feel, and high-gloss paint that accentuates the natural light in the space. This home is as calming and serene as the quiet cove it sits on.


In the Boston suburbs of Weston, Massachusetts, our team designed this traditional shingle-style home with an iconic, exaggerated roofline. It transcends three stories, complete with a frameless glass wine room, gym, spa and theater, with an outdoor yoga area and a shack that opens up to a firepit and swimming pool. Plentiful floor-to-ceiling windows maximize and manipulate the natural light that flows in during the day.

New England shingle-style is a structural style that inspires the bulk of our work, as nothing represents New England living better.

Our nod to the shingle-style home is inspired by the wish to continue its roots in New England. The homes represent, and are designed around, the distinctive New England lifestyle of relaxation and coastal contentment. Everything about shingle-style homes exude abundance: large and plentiful windows, wide wrap-around porches, their impressive size and structure. They are a legacy that has lasted for centuries, and will continue to last for centuries. To learn more about our philosophy and approach to creating luxury shingle-style homes, contact us today.

Want to Learn More About Shingle-Style Architecture?

Hallmark of a Christopher Pagliaro Architects project is the marriage of the structure and site to create a sense of place. To get started on your waterfront home project, get in touch with our team today.

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