Defining Features

This Historic District Profile was developed to help property owners. It explains the typical features of buildings found in Norhill. This can be helpful when you are planning a project that would change your home’s exterior.

One of the defining characteristics of a home in the Norhill neighborhood is its front porch. Bungalows typically had a large front porch, either under the main roof or under a projecting gable. Houses are clad with wood siding as well as (to a lesser extent) brick veneer. Many of them have fireplaces and chimneys.

On the Tudor cottages, the chimneys often take center stage next to the front door. Tudor houses typically have arched doorways and prominent front gables. The roof line along the gable, or above the porch, may be curved.

The neighborhood contains mostly single-family homes, with some duplexes. One-story garages and carports are usually plainly constructed, with no specific architectural style.

Once an Historic District is created, certain rules apply to the entire neighborhood. These rules require that changes to properties in the District must be appropriate. In other words, the historic character of the property must stay the same.

Exterior changes must be approved in advance. The Planning Department can help with this process. If the project is approved, the property owner receives a Certificate of Appropriateness. In many Houston neighborhoods, deed restrictions require that the neighborhood civic association also approve changes to a property. The civic association’s regulations and standards may differ from those of the City. The information shown here refers only to City requirements. Property owners should check with their neighborhood association before beginning any project.

When planning a building project within the Norhill Historic District, please refer to this chart. It shows which building elements are compatible and which are not. Definitions of common architectural terms can be found in the glossary.

Compatible Incompatible
  • Raised pier and beam
  • Slab on grade
  • Front porch (may be large or small)
  • Square or round columns
  • Squared/tapered porch supports
  • No porch
  • Hipped or gabled roof shapes
  • Low or medium pitch
  • Gable ornamentation
  • Wide or shallow eave overhang
  • Boxed eave overhang
  • Open eaves with exposed rafter tails
  • Dormers
  • Composition shingles
  • Shed, flat, gambrel or mansard roof shapes
  • Slate or tile roof
  • Cupolas or towers
Exterior Wall Cladding
  • Horizontal lapped, bevel, or drop wood siding
  • Patterned or plain brick masonry
  • Vertical siding
  • Corrugated metal
  • Flat modular panels
Front Door
  • Single door that faces street
  • Single door that faces side property line
  • Recessed panels
  • Glass lights
  • Sidelights
  • Masonry arches
  • Transoms
  • Double doors
  • Round fanlights
  • Pediments
  • Pilasters
  • Large, vertically proportioned
  • Double-hung, single-hung, or casement
  • Wood or wood clad
  • May have group (ribbon) of two or three windows in a row
  • Aluminum
  • Large plate glass
  • Patterned upper panes
  • Masonry arches or hoods
  • Pediments above windows
  • Fanlights