The first dwellings were simple vernacular adaptations of the Greek Revival style, with split pilasters and simple posts supporting their ubiquitous front, or wrapped, porches, long narrow windows and matching doors, and multi-light, usually six-over six, windows with simple architraves (Hoods 2007:21). The style goes by many sobriquets: homestead, vernacular, National Folk and its sub-groups: hall and parlor, gable front, side gable, pyramidal, or I-House (McAlester & McAlester 1984:88-101). For the purposes of this survey, however, the formal name for the architectural style was used, with a discussion of its vernacular adaptation, as recommended by Architectural Historian Sally B. Woodbridge, U.C. Berkeley School of Architecture, Emeritus.
These ubiquitous first homes, which were built in cities and on ranches alike, exhibited the basic symmetry of that style, with gable roofs, horizontal siding, surrounding porches, and central entryways flanked by multi-paned windows. They usually had four rooms in the main portion of the house, with a shed-roofed kitchen attached to the rear. This style remained one of the most popular in Sonoma County from the 1850s to the early 1900s, with but a few variants such as more or less-steeply pitched rooflines, larger structures, second stories, and differing architectural decoration.
Facades usually faced the primary street or road, with full-width or wrap-around porches supported by posts or pilasters. Barns and outbuildings, including hay barns, livestock barns, smoke houses, blacksmiths, sheds, privies, and other support facilities were almost always located to the rear of the residence, but sometimes to the side, or across the road.