The Colonial style, as it is so aptly named, refers to the first European settlements that colonized the New World. Having left their homes, they built their new ones in foreign lands to reflect the styles of the homes they had left behind in France, Spain, the Netherlands, and Germany. However, this Colonial style was mostly inspired by the British Isles and it was later named the Colonial Georgian Style. Today, we know this style became a major part of American architecture and each part of the country had its own interpretation thanks to different weather conditions and even the material available. Colonial style favors simple lines and proportions while giving importance to craftsmanship.
The Colonial Georgian style was very popular in the first thirteen colonies bringing with them design elements from the luxurious Georgian houses of England when King George I and III were on the throne. Georgian style was usually built using bricks but wooden clapboards became more popular in the United States. This style’s decorative features include wooden trim and white wooden columns.
Characteristics of a Colonial House
- Symmetrical, square shape
- Five windows across the front
- Paired Chimneys
- Hipped Roof
- Corner Boards
- Two windows on each side of the door
- 6/6 or 12/12 Panes
- Decorative crown over front door
- Flattened columns on each side of the door
- Side Lights
- Paneled Doors
The Colonial Georgian styles
The Colonial Georgian styles can sometimes be recognized by the front door. Although not so lavish as the English styles, this style doors used rectangular geometry in divisions of 2, 3, 4, 5, or even 6 panels. Popular colors for the doors were white and ivory or another light tone showing great contrast to the rest of the house’s material. Also, at the entrance of a Colonial Georgian-style home, you’ll find wood carvings, symmetric windows, and maybe even rectangular columns.
DUTCH COLONIAL STYLE
The Dutch Colonial style can be traced back to the 1600s when Dutch colonists set foot in what is New York and New Jersey today. As with other styles in North America, the brick and stone homes of the Dutch soon gave way to wood and clapboards and as families grew bigger, lean-to additions were seen around.
The Dutch door can be recognized by its horizontal division, which allows for the top half to be opened by the bottom half remains closed. This was first designed with the purpose of keeping animals outside the house on farms and barns while still letting in the light. While this door was popular in the 17th century, the Dutch colonists brought it with them to the new world and it became a defining point of the Dutch Colonial style.
German Colonial style
The German type of Colonial home was brought to American by the settlers from northern Europe. This style is unique because it uses half-timber and braced timbers filled with masonry to hold up the house. Like other homes from the Colonial style, it was rectangular but more often than not, it was asymmetrical. It was built so that the entrance always lead to a kitchen and then a backdoor, while the rest of the house had a hall, a parlor, and bed-chambers.