The Colonial house style, particularly American colonial style is pretty self-explanatory due to its origin that can be traced back to the 1600s-1700s. All over the United States, we can identify various types of colonial house styles such as French, Spanish, British, and Dutch Colonial architecture since many settlers from those countries inhibit in today’s US.
However, when you see a typical American colonial house style, you can pretend it to be British Colonial architecture in the US. This is because a large part of America was ruled by British colonial for a long time and because British colonial architecture specializes in traditional cum modern style that represents historical presence in modern times.
Defining American Colonial house style
A traditional colonial house style is simple to identify. They are rectangular just like colonists living in England who built their homes with two stories placed fairly symmetrical. The houses have a steep, side-gabled roof that looks like a triangular portion in the roof visible from the sides. When you look at the front door, you can see only shingles. Sometimes built with stones but mostly with wood, the colonial house style homes one deep room and two or more other rooms wide with a central, massive fireplace or fireplaces at every end of the house.
The colonial houses have a centered front door and a small multi-paneled window on either side and just above the entrance door. In short, the house looks earnest and honest expressing every feature of the house in detail. I must say that American colonial house style is comparatively much more dependent on its size and rooftop proportions than specifying architectural ornaments. You will feel a minimalist modern look just like historical houses looked like, particularly the ones that had oversized glass doors along with a window opening.
How does the true American colonial house style differ from the inspired ones?
You will be amazed to know that the true American Colonial Houses have not been built since the American Revolution era. More popular building styles evolved with time and the kicking British influence curbed the true American style. Though, the essence behind American Colonial architecture has not faded and continues to be a popular architectural style across the United States.
It can be said that the new century dawn has blurred many parts of true colonial house styles and experiences. While drawing on the predecessor style, the new and revived style takes over the previous generation’s architecture while adopting the technological and current cultural style. Which means colonial house styles are reinventing according to the need of today’s generation.
The traditional layout of colonial house style
As discussed earlier, the colonial house style comprises two to three stories. The common home space has a kitchen, family room, living room, and dining room that are mostly located on the first floor of the house. The bedrooms are placed on the second or the third floors. The colonial houses follow a symmetrical pattern, the rooms are wide and deep. Their rectangular shape can make it easier for us to add another room following a partition on the back or on the sides. Another common feature you will find in colonial house style is the large central fireplace that can be either one or more on the sides of each room.
- Traditional American colonial homes have a very simple exterior design just like colonists that lived in the United Kingdom. They have two rectangular and symmetrical storeys. The roof is pretty steep which means when you look from the front they will look like the shingle.
- More commonly, you may find a colonial house with a stone or brick exterior. This kind of house is the hardest to find among colonial-style-built houses. If you find anything like this, ensure that you keep the historical integrity of the home for your upcoming generations.
- The front or the entrance door is usually located at the center position of the house. This is made the center of attraction and therefore, many colonial house styles have decorations surrounding the front door.
- The roof of the colonial house style is steep and pitched. This means you need to be very careful while climbing on them. Many colonial houses have porch also. Columns in the front door are made uniquely sometimes to make it look extraordinary than the others.
- Lastly, the exterior façade of the colonial house style usually has windows that are symmetrically placed on either side of the front door. They are too decorated well to give the house a unique characteristic.
- Inside a colonial house, you may find regular common spaces such as kitchen, dining, family room, and living room. The utility rooms are placed on the first floor while bedrooms on the other floors of the house.
- Although clapboard siding is common among ancient colonial homes, you can find many houses with brick façade as well. In this sense, colonial house style has something that may always surprise us due to change in any particular element. A straightforward design although creates an interest in the us but lacks architectural marvel.
- Regarding home décor, you may find the regular ornamental design in every floor plan. Many of the furniture placed usually represent a high-quality antique which is arranged in a clutter-free style and is well-polished.
- Rustic furniture goes very well with the colonial house style. The wood used must be either pine or birch provided you need a simplistic view.
Different Colonial house styles
As you must have seen colonial architecture follows specific characteristics, it is fair to know more about their regional nuances as well. While colonial house style in Hudson Valley and Long Island bricks, the colonial homes in England are built with wood. This is the reason colonial house style is versatile and has become a famous choice of many people who want to design their own homes. Let us see how colonial house styles have evolved with time and differ according to a different region.
New England Colonial house style
The colonial house in New England can be seen mostly in the North-Eastern part of the country. These include New York, Vermont, and Hampshire where the original settlers included English. Therefore, we can say that the first colonial house style in America started due to the origins of New England which brought their home styles.
The house has large chimneys and windows having diamond-shaped panes. Such houses are usually called Post-Medieval English houses since these structures are built by using wood only and very few are still intact. However, you may find many modern houses that have adopted designs from the New England colonial style.
Spanish Colonial house style
Spanish colonial house style is an elegant stucco house built with fountains. The early explorers that arrived from Spain built rustic homes with crushed shells and wood together with stone. We can find Spanish colonial houses in California and South-Western parts of America.
German Colonial house style
People that settled in the US and had arrived from Germany made their homes in Pennsylvania and Ohio. The colonial houses of Germans looked very similar to others but still had some unique features. For example, the thick wall of the houses was made of sandstone and they reinforced stone usage.
Dutch Colonial house style
As the name says the Dutch Colonial house style was inspired by the Dutch settlers who built their homes in America during Middle Colonies. Many of the known features of such kinds of colonial houses resemble broad and double-pitched roofs. The Dutch Colonial houses have narrow dormer windows which get integrated into the roofline. This style is also called the gambrel roof and denoted as a barn roof.
Georgian Colonial house style
The Georgian colonial house style can be dated back to the 17th century, representing the rising ambition of the Americans focussing on grandeur and ornamentation. This style of house can be characterized by asymmetrical and square-shaped floors with five windows in the house front. Chimneys are there and placed in the center end of the house. Typically, Georgian colonial houses have a minimum number of roofs overhanging the homes.
French Colonial house style
It is for sure this kind of colonial house style has been introduced by French settlers that built their homes. The French colonial houses are also known as ‘Creole’ architecture combining French, Caribbean, and West Indies influence. This housing style goes best with the wet climatic region. So, you can expect them in those parts of America where there is a lot of rain and temperature is usually high.
Stone Ender house style
Another popular form of colonial house style is stone ender. They have a realistic look and can be made by using native construction elements. The colonists began building such kinds of houses which they saw in Western England. The colonial house commonly came to be known as Stone Ender since only one end of the house was built using stone.
Many of the ancient colonial houses have disappeared due to their details and forms. In place, we see modern built homes. However, the colonial house style has inspired many architects and indeed many styles are still used. This is the reason we study more about colonial house styles and create our homes that are influenced by traditional colonial houses built earlier.