Split level homes can be a distinctive architectural style, featuring three or more levels of living space. They are rapidly gaining popularity in many areas, but have a long history that can be traced all the way back to the 17th century, when Split Level Houses first appeared in Scotland as stone cottages.

The style was designed to utilize the full floor space of the home and to create functionality and practicality for families of all sizes. With their sloping roofs and asymmetric facades, Split Level Houses were usually built with stone or brick exteriors and traditional timber frames on the interior walls.

By the mid-1800s, split-level styles had become popular around England, particularly in Liverpool where they were referred to as Upright Rowhouses. In the late 1800s, Split Level Houses began appearing in small towns across America during the Victorian era, when builders combined styles derived from Gothic Revival and Italianate architecture with traditional elements adapted from local building traditions.

The unique adaptation of two stories within one building made by Split Level Houses became popular through most of the 20th century due to its cost effective design options making it ideal for middle-class suburban homes. To this day, split level homes remain popular across America due to their attractive design capabilities which allows for multiple decorative possibilities as well as potential for expansion.

What is split level house

Split level houses are an architectural style of housing that can be found throughout the United States. Originally developed in the early 1950s, these homes have gone on to become one of the most popular styles of residential architecture.

In this article, we will discuss the history behind split level houses and how they evolved over time into the form we know today:

Pre-WWII Development

Before the 1940s, houses of mass production were built mainly in four basic architectural styles – Colonial, Cape Cod, Craftsman and English Tudor. These four types of homes shared many design elements such as symmetrical windows, doors and hallway placement.

As building materials became more readily available in the twentieth century, house designs began to incorporate more than just one level of living.

Split level houses began to be designed prior to World War II as a way for builders to add complexity and customization to traditional home models without significantly increasing costs. The two-story split was a two-story house with its main entry point between the first and second floors. This allowed for almost all rooms in the house to be accessed without stairs if desired. Later variations included adding a third level or splitting the entry level even further into several parts.

The split level style was popularized after World War II with the introduction of suburbs across America which provided larger lots for more sprawling homes plans.

Post-WWII Development

The origin of split level houses in the United States can be traced to the post-World War II suburban real estate boom. In response to the urgent need for affordable housing and modern design after returning soldiers had families of their own, enterprising developers began building homes with a space-saving construction style featuring two or three levels of living space.

Split level homes offered a wide range of benefits ranging from cost savings due to minimal foundation requirements and insulation gaps between floors to improved functionality due to their multi-level floor plans that offered multiple levels of entry into and out of the house. Split level homes allowed for a more efficient use of land than previous one story homes which could often result in larger yards for enjoying outdoor time with family and friends.

The popularity and appeal of split level houses has grown steadily over time, as sound investments as well as ideal spaces for entertaining, hosting family events and even retreats from everyday life when desired. With their unique style, layering different functions beneath roof lines, they present both structure in planning interior living spaces while still offering plenty room to customize your home’s character with your own personal touches in a modern way that feels both timeless yet chic. Over the years split level house designs have also changed adapting new materials such as siding and stucco exteriors along with updated interiors complete with luxury amenities for contemporary lifestyles all while still maintaining their fundamental configuration that made them so popular among generations before us.

Popularity of the Split Level House

The Split level house was a popular architectural style in the 1950s, and still remains popular today. This style of home achieved its popularity by allowing for more design flexibility than some other styles. It allows for a larger, more interesting floor plan, with multiple levels and varied ceiling heights, as well as for creative designs for porches and decks. It also allows for a more efficient use of land than other home designs.

Let’s take a closer look at the history of this popular style of house.

Rise in Popularity in the 1950s

The split level house style rose to prominence after World War II, when veterans returned home and sought an affordable, yet spacious home for their families. The split level house was the perfect solution with its flexibility in design and construction. Its efficient use of space allowed multiple levels to be built with a relatively small footprint, making it a popular choice for builders.

Popularized in the 1950s, the split-level quickly became a symbol of modernity in the housing market. Its iconic, multilevel design featured vaulted ceilings, distinct living spaces, and plenty of outdoor living space – all within an efficient layout that made it affordable as well as functional. Homeowners could look forward to cutting-edge features such as built-in counters and cabinets, modern finishes and fixtures, plenty of natural light from windows placed throughout the home at various levels.

This style was appealing to homeowners and builders alike due to its affordability and simple construction compared to traditional homes; it also had a unique look that set it apart from other homes on the market. The split level soon became one of the most popular housing styles in America during this era; by 1960 two out of three houses in America were of this style. Such is its continued popularity that more than 50 percent of existing American homes are still based on this design today!

Decline in Popularity in the 1970s

Split level houses experienced a rapid rise in popularity across the United States following the end of World War II. This style allowed for modern aesthetics and advanced homebuilding techniques to be used, offering homeowners a wider range of single-family home options than ever before. They tended to have more upper floors compared to other single family homes at the time, making them an attractive option for larger families with growing needs.

Although this style was initially popular across a wide demographic, its advantageous features meant that it was especially attractive to middle-class families. Split levels saw their greatest surge in popularity between the 1950s and early 1970s, when they were being built en masse all over the country. However, by the mid-1970s, attitudes towards these homes had changed as people began looking for differently designed styles of housing.

The decline in popularity of split levels in the 1970s can be attributed mainly to shifting architectural trends which favored more efficient building methods that focused on maximizing space and efficiency while minimizing material costs and environmental impact. Split level homes have subsequently seen less use as new building methods become more prominent, leading to their perceived old-fashioned styling being out of fashion overall. Despite this decline in interest over time, this iconic house style still has many loyal fans who enjoy its retro aesthetic charm and value its practicality and convenience for larger households or those living with significant topographical challenges.

Features of Split Level Houses

Split level houses are an architectural style that emerged in the 1950s and were popular in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s. This style of house is defined by a multi-level floor plan. It typically has three or more sections, with the middle section having living space, bedrooms and bathrooms, and the lower and upper sections containing semi-finished rooms.

Let’s take a closer look at the features of split level houses:

Multi-Level Design

Split level houses are a type of architecture that were popular from the 1950s to the 1970s. They feature multi-level designs that make the most of space, but create a unique challenge for those seeking to make interior design updates.

Split levels typically involve two or more floors divided into several levels including a main entry floor, balcony, and basement. The floorplans are designed to provide half or full stories between each level creating a number of natural separations between spaces. This allows different areas such as bedrooms, children’s rooms, or dining/living areas to have their own dedicated space while still allowing natural flow in between them.

A unique feature of split level designs is the ‘split’ staircase that makes it possible for all levels to access the main entryway without requiring a winding staircase or U-shaped stairs with landings. Floating staircases are sometimes used which gives the illusion that they are not connected to any other level – allowing all areas of the house to remain open and airy while maintaining easy access throughout each area of your home.

Other features that defines Split level homes are:

  • Large windows and decks/porches located at both front and back entrances which adds charm as well as makes them great for entertaining guests outdoors in warmer months.
  • These larger windows also let plenty of light in, providing warm and inviting atmosphere throughout each room.

Separate Living Spaces

One of the key features of a split level house design is that of separate living areas. Generally this is achieved via one or two internal walls, with each wall creating separate ‘exhibition’ spaces. These might include a kitchen and dining area, a family room and a formal sitting room plus bed and bathrooms.

This type of design has been popular as it allows for all living areas to be connected but still offers some separation between key functions such as entertaining, sleeping and eating. A further advantage is when entertaining large numbers outside at home the different spaces can act like separate rooms allowing the guests to mingle without any congestion created by merging several groups of people with different topics in one space. Additionally these divisions provide extra soundproofing – ensuring that activities taking place in one space do not affect other areas too greatly.

Separate living spaces have also been found to give very helpful privacy for households that have elderly members sharing in their day-to-day activities or in children’s playtimes, both requiring their own type of quiet environment away from distractions found in larger communal rooms.

Sloped Roof

The sloping roof of a split level house is one of the key features that makes it unique from other types of homes. The design elements include a basic gabled roof with two additional slanted sections, which create the familiar tri-level form. The top section typically covers the living area, while the lower section is connected to the garage and contains a short staircase that leads up into the main living space.

This separated design offers more privacy for bedrooms and bathrooms located on those levels, away from public areas like the kitchen or living room. Split level roofs also have larger eaves than traditional styles to accommodate higher ceilings in special rooms like entryways or dining rooms.


One of the reasons that split-level homes remain so popular is the affordability of this type of housing. It is cost-efficient to construct and almost any lot size can accommodate building a split-level home. Despite the efficiency and cost savings, split-level homes still offer an abundance of charm and architectural beauty. This style allows for larger living quarters than many other designs, lending itself to an ideal floor plan for many homeowners’ needs.

Throughout its history, some features have been updated while others have remained consistent in order to give split-level homes their classic style. Those who are looking for a “not your average house” are often drawn to the traditional design and iconic aesthetic value of split-level homes. With its mix of details, convenience, and timelessness, it is no wonder why people love them so much!