July 20, 2022

Colonial Style Homes


What is a Colonial House?

Colonial houses are built utilizing a traditional architectural design that dates back to the American Colonial period. They are designed to comfortably serve as a family home and frequently have a rectangular shape, gabled roofs, symmetrical windows, neutral color schemes, and level outside walls.

Elegant crown molding, intricate fireplaces, and formal entryways are frequent features of these mansions. Modern Colonial homes frequently include four upstairs bedrooms and full basements that provide additional space for hosting guests and leisure areas, providing ample space for big families to live in. Like many other houses from the time, their primary living rooms are designed to center primarily around the kitchen and den.

The History of Colonial-Style Homes

Spanish, French, Dutch, and British immigrants all settled in America throughout the Colonial Era, bringing with them architectural elements and techniques from their native countries. The typical British Colonial design has been the foundation for several popular home types with Colonial influences, such as the Cape Cod and Saltbox styles, even if numerous forms are still in demand in some regions of the United States.

Colonial houses have evolved and altered over time, like many other residences from this era. The initial plans had two straightforward rooms - one upstairs, one downstairs - each with a central fireplace to keep the house warm during chilly winters before electricity was invented. Early houses were often constructed in a reduced British Colonial design since colonists used the basic architectural plans when they built.

Colonial houses were built much less over a brief time of American history as the Queen Anne design gained popularity (with Victorian-influenced architecture that featured wrap-around front porches, ornamental colors, conical roof towers, and detailed, patterned trim). However, the Colonial Revival, a revival of Colonial-style architecture that served as the impetus for the construction of contemporary Colonial residences, emerged in the late 1800s.

What Makes a House Colonial-Style?

Over the years, new building methods, materials, and technologies have been used to adapt and recreate the Colonial home. It gradually developed into the "Colonial Revival" style in the late 1800s, which is still popular today.

The front entrance, which is placed directly in the middle of the house and is flanked by windows, serves as the most identifying feature of a Colonial-style home. Upon entering, you'll notice a central staircase leading to two sizable ground-floor rooms. The second story's stairway leads to a corridor that connects the bedrooms and at least one bathroom and spans the whole level.

Traditional Colonial houses' initial designs were about as straightforward as one could imagine, making them the ideal foundation for further modifications. These homes' focal point is the front entrance, which is positioned in the middle and topped with a modest pediment or columned portico, with tall windows placed on each side.

Double-hung sash windows are often placed in pairs and are symmetrically spaced throughout the home. Colonial homes typically feature medium-pitch, sloping gabled roofs with shingles and gutters, and older houses sometimes have two chimneys in the middle of the roof that lead to twin fireplaces on the first floor. They might only exist in modern Colonials for show.

The Different Types of Colonial Homes

Standard Colonial houses are available in a wide variety of versions in America because this straightforward form is so versatile. Home builders have developed fresh interpretations of the classic design for years, from the earliest colonists to today's contemporary architects.

Early American Colonial

Early British Colonial floor plans were frequently used while building colonial homes in America. In order to withstand the hard winters, they had steep roofs, enormous central fireplaces, and wood shingles or board siding on the exterior.

These were the initial buildings that were utilized to build the first Saltbox residences, and the designs of those homes served as the model for Cape Cods. These earliest American colonies included characteristics like diamond-pane windows and were built with rustic wood frames.

Georgian Colonial

King George I through IV, four British kings, are honored with Georgian colonial mansion names. They ruled from 1714 until 1830, and during that time, this architectural style rose to popularity. Similar to other Colonial architectural types, these homes frequently have a modest, covered front porch over the door with columns extending from the main building. On the exterior, they are often framed in brick with white columns.

In addition, Georgian Colonial homes frequently include second-story balconies above these porches, which may be narrow and round or broad and rectangular. Twin chimneys and dormer windows are also frequently used in Georgian architectural designs.

French Colonial

Most frequently seen in the south of the country, French Colonial mansions are iconic examples of the style in places like New Orleans. French Colonials have distinctive two-story front porches and vivid exterior colors that set them apart from their plain, unpretentious Northern counterparts.

These homes make a point of having a lot of outdoor space at the front of the home, similar to the rocking-chair porches of the Southeast, but their tiered second story makes them much more opulent. Dormer windows on the roof are sometimes found in French Colonial homes.

Dutch Colonial

You've probably seen a Dutch Colonial at some time, but if you're not familiar with the architectural style, it may be difficult to recognize one. Dormer windows, matching chimneys on both ends of the house, and a rounded gambrel roof form with a central point at the top are all part of this design (best viewed from the side of the home). Although these characteristics aren't always present, some Dutch Colonials also include columns and circular windows on the front-facing side of the house.

Colonial Revival

Architecture in the Colonial Revival style paved the way for the current craze for New Traditional Colonials. But unlike contemporary residences, its design had several smaller, closed-off rooms as opposed to the open-concept living spaces of today.

Traditional Colonials and Colonial Revivals have distinct room divisions that are marked by doors or other distinguishing architectural features like arches. Although brick or vinyl siding were frequently used to complete Colonial Revival homes, the exterior hasn't altered much throughout time.

The German colonial

With a limestone facade, exposed wood, and hand-hewn beams, these buildings may be found in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio (still with that simple rectangular shape, though).

The Spanish colonial

Combines authentic colonial characteristics with decorative elements like stone, stucco, fountains, and walled courtyards. Spanish colonial mansions that have been maintained or renovated may be seen in St. Augustine, Florida, the first permanent European colony in the United States, according to ThoughtCo, an award-winning instructional website that is among the top 10 informational websites on the internet.

Living in a classic colonial house

There are still some authentic colonial homes in the United States, as well as colonial revival homes with certain desirable features, despite the fact that no new ones have been constructed there since about the time of the American Revolution. These dwellings do have certain drawbacks, though, due to their traditional designs.

The pros of colonial homes

Super-size entertaining space

Although modern colonial-style homes may not have the same amount of space as the original ones had for a big family and servants, they nevertheless contain a good amount of square footage.

The majority of America's Best House Plans' floor plans, according to the certified professional building designers behind the Marietta, Georgia-based company, have 2,500 to 3,500 square feet. However, there are some smaller ones that are around 1,100 square feet and larger ones that are over 11,000 square feet.

Built-in curb appeal

These mansions seem opulent and dramatic even when you're not standing in the unusual doorway because the original builders sought to imitate the affluent designs they'd seen in England.

Functional features

The grand entrance and symmetry of a colonial mansion are striking, but they also serve a practical purpose. Snow and water may flow down the roof's steep slope fast. Additionally, the summertime ventilation is improved by the high roof.

A versatile appearance

The colonial's symmetry, according to architects, may make it appear both "minimalist contemporary" and "ancient and historic." The painted geometric floor and vibrant color scheme of this 1915 Colonial Revival in New Jersey, which nearly quadrupled in size after an extension, are two examples of how designers like to employ the décor to combine the past and present.

The cons of colonial homes

Compartmentalized rooms

A colonial home may be large, but it doesn't have an open layout. Instead, the interior is separated into a number of little rooms, some of which may be uncomfortable for inhabitants used to an open layout. As an illustration, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are often located on each side of the doorway. Smaller interior spaces might make it challenging for homeowners to evenly heat or cool the space.

Low ceilings

If you're renovating a historic colonial home to period-appropriate detail, you might have to tolerate characteristics like low ceilings and a small kitchen.


Depending on how you want to alter the inside, a central staircase makes a dramatic statement in a colonial home, but it might complicate remodeling.

Nevertheless, individuals who don't want to climb a flight or two of steps a few times a day or who have physical limitations or mobility concerns won't find the stairs appealing.


Because of the damage to the components over time, every older home requires significantly more care. If you buy a historic colonial, you will need to routinely paint or stain any wood clapboard and look out for brick cracks.

Additionally, the colonial home's distinctive multi-paned windows aren't as energy - efficient as, say, insulated windows.

Above is an overview article about Colonial Style Homes, to learn more about other popular house models, visit here: 8 Most Common Types Of Houses

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