Minimal Traditional (1925-1950)

According to “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past” by Alan Higgins,

“Minimal Traditional residences were built extensively in the years preceding and following World War II. These simple forms provided an economical means of developing large tracts of residences since they were cheap to build. The Minimal Traditional developed from basic bungalow and cottage forms and was adapted to meet the budgets of developers and owners alike. The Minimal Traditional was also similar to the Federal Housing Authority’s minimum house created during the 1940s, which dictated a standard square plan of approximately 750 square feet. These forms provided the basic design that would transition into early ranch houses.

The Minimal Traditional features a square or rectangular plan with small rooms situated around a central point. Unlike the similar Tudor Revival popularized during the 1930s, the Minimal Traditional features a low or intermediate roof with closed, shallow eaves. The simple structures lack any major architectural or decorative details and typically feature only a small awning or gabled projection over the central entry. Typical construction materials include asbestos shingles, wood, metal siding, and brick.”

Identifying Features:

  • Boxy appearance with minimal architectural or decorative details
  • Square or Rectangular Plan
  • Small, typically one story
  • Rectangular Plan on Concrete slab, although porch or front window area might project
  • Low or Intermediate Pitched Roof
  • Typically Side-gabled, some hipped
  • Closed eaves, little or no overhang
  • Generally no porch; Small awning, hood, or front-facing gable projection over entry is typical
  • Central Main entry with flanking windows
  • Early forms have wood frames sheathed in horizontal wood siding, shingles, or asbestos shingles
  • Later forms have bricks and decorative accents
  • Aluminum siding common


  • Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past Guidebook”, PDF


  1. Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past Guidebook”, PDF
  2. McGovern, Melanie. “Untitled.” February 24, 2010. Photo
  3. Mid Century Home Style. “Weyerhaeuser Plans,”
  4. Higgins, Alan. “Architectural Movements of the Recent Past Guidebook”, PDF