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The art behind Kansas City’s historic homes: Tudor Revival

A Tudor Revival home with three steep gabled roofs, half timbering and a red door.

Quintessentially KC. | Photo via Zillow

Often described as “gingerbread houses,” Kansas City’s English Tudor-style homes are synonymous with its south Plaza neighborhoods. (Sorry, no Drury Lane here — that’s in Mission Hills).

For the second installment of our real estate series, we’re exploring another one of Kansas City’s notable architectural styles: Tudor Revival.

Where did it come from?

Anyone who remembers the chant, “Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived,” knows where these homes got their start. Fortified castles had begun to fall out of fashion in Tudor-era England by the late 15th century. Noble families began to flaunt their wealth with intricately designed manors instead, a style that trickled down to working class cottages.

Skipping a few hundred years. Tudor Revival become widely popular in turn-of-the-century America, but it wasn’t until the mid-1920s that home builder Napoleon W. Dible popularized it in KC.

Using mass-produced materials and limited layouts, Dible was able to marry the decorative charm of the Tudor-style with the needs of a burgeoning middle class. On average, these homes only cost $8,000 — roughly $130,000 in today’s money.

KCtoday_Tudor Homes

Modern colors, classic feel. | Photo via Zillow

Spot that style

As a contemporary of J.C. Nichols, Dible’s Tudor Revival revolution can be spotted in Plaza-adjacent neighborhoods — think: Country Club, South Plaza, Brookside, Waldo, Armour Hills and Tower Homes.

On the house hunt? Keep an eye out for the telltale signs of a Tudor Revival:

  • Stucco, slate, stone, or brick facade
  • Decorative half-timbering
  • Arched doorways
  • Steep gabled roofs with an asymmetrical layout
  • Prominent chimneys
  • Cottage-like details, i.e. diamond-patterned windows

Love it? Live it

If you like what you’re reading, check out some Tudor Revival homes on the market today.

  • Ward Parkway Tudor | $1,395,000 | 4BD, 5BA | 5,414 sft with $250,000 in recent remodels, all brick patio, wine cellar + finished basement
  • Oak Street Tudor | $435,000 | 3BD, 2BA | All new electrical and plumbing with same historic charm, sunroom, fenced backyard, and quartz countertops
  • Loose Park Tudor | $750,000 | 5BD, 5BA | Spacious house with old world details, brick-walled patio, first floor Master + sitting room
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