When you take a drive through Pittsburgh’s older communities, what stands out is that very few homes look like their neighboring houses. Pittsburgh’s historic homes tend to eschew the cookie-cutter look, allowing each home to shine on its own.

These houses fall into a number of architectural categories, from American Foursquare to Tudor Revivals. Our region’s historical homes also can be Italianate, Second Empire, or Queen Ann in style—and that’s just a few of the options.

Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty has a special interest in the history and value of these beautiful homes—so much so that it has its own accredited Architecture & Historic Homes Division. It’s a first-of-its-kind offering by a brokerage in western Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh’s historic home architecture styles include:

Tudor Revival: Following the Great Depression, the Tudor Revival style gained momentum in our region’s middle-class neighborhoods. Tudor style evokes images of timber blended with stucco or masonry in a classic brown-white contrast. The homes also sometimes feature a very pitched roof, modeled after homes built in early 1500s England.


American Foursquare: This style of home dates back to the late 1800s and is generally square or rectangular—allowing a large home to be built on a relatively small lot of land. According to BobVila.com, these prefabricated homes were often sold via mail order retailers like Sears Roebucks. Over 75,000 were sold in 370 different designs over the first 40 years of the 20th century.  

Italianate: With its focus on the family, Italianate-style architecture was marketed toward people who wanted to get out of the city and live a peaceful, quiet family life in the country. Appealing mostly to the middle-class of the time, these homes featured asymmetric floor plans that made it easy to fit a growing family. Ornamentation and color on the outside of the home added appeal and visual interest.

Second Empire: With ties to French style, Second Empire architecture was very popular in the midwestern US during the mid 1800s. At that time, the homes were considered to be very modern, and took off in numbers during and after the Civil War. According to the PA Historical and Museum Commission, the style was so popular, it was called “General Grant Style” after the well-known Civil War general.

Queen Anne: These stately Victorian houses often look like a small version of a castle. Generally built prior to 1910, Queen Anne homes are probably best known as the type of houses lining the streets of San Francisco. They often feature colorful paint and intricate painted designs that add to the feeling of opulence.

In the market to sell a historic home? Then let’s talk! We’re highly skilled sales professionals who provide distinctive representation for architecturally significant homes. We even work in partnership with the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation for continuing education in architecture, preservation, restoration, and the history of Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

We’ll create a dedicated, specialized marketing strategy that effectively communicates your historic home’s value with exposure on sothebysrealty.com Historic Homes section, syndication to architecture and historic homes websites, and custom branding pieces. We can also add additional cache to your listing by researching your home’s previous owners, the original architects, interesting historical facts, an Architectural and & Historic Homes sign rider, and preferred vendors for renovations.

Contact us today to learn more: mindyanddarla@piattsir.com.

Images: Tudor Revival – The Education Journey | American Foursquare – Old House OnlineItalianate – PA Historical and Museum CommissionSecond Empire – This Old House | Queen Anne – Wikipedia