I live in an interesting neighbourhood. Should you go for a walk in it, you'll eventually come across examples of just about every kind of architecture. There's also a fair bit of construction going on as old (thankfully, not usually the good kind of old) houses are torn down and replaced with new, bigger houses. The new homes are usually attractive, if not particularly unique. Occasionally, however, you find something that renews your faith in contemporary architecture and design.
I actually noticed the house above about five or six years ago and had to stop and take a picture. It remains one of my favourite new houses ever. Notice the gothic arch windows, the copper details, and the offset entrance (which takes focus away from the garage). If it ever went up for sale, well, I'd have to drool at it from a distance as I lament my lack of funds. (I would also have to sneak in during the open house so I could check out the interior!)
The house below is one I stumbled across on the weekend. It's another new one, built last year (according to the date on the new curb in front). Done in the Arts and Crafts style, attention was really paid to detail. The windows, porch, front door, porch light, and even the house numbers all adhere to the style.
You can see some of the details here, despite my not-great photo (I was afraid the owners would show up and chase me off). If you ever have the opportunity to design a house, I think this place offers a lesson in why it's best to stick with one cohesive look. It's fine to mix different styles and eras on the inside, but outside it would just be a confusing mess. Sticking with one look makes shopping easier too (it does if you're me, anyway!)
The photos below show a good example of messy design. Currently under construction, it's part of a new development of similar homes. You can see Tudor elements, as well as Victorian, and what I can only describe as barn-style shutters. I hope the interior makes more sense.
Now this last house (also discovered on the weekend) has to be my favourite new house of all time. The effort that has gone into the details of this place left me insisting for about half a minute that it had to be an old house. The shingles, the inset carvings, even the bricks (a much more interesting colour in reality)--beautiful. It's true there is a mixing of designs here as well--Queen Anne and Gothic, in particular--but they're all aspects of Victorian, so it works. I would love to see what they've done on the inside (note to self: make friends with the owners).
The moral of this post, if you insist on one? If you're going to build a house, do it with style.