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American Colonial Style Architecture

When you think American style home you probably think of the Colonial style of architecture. Between 1600 and 1800 people from all parts of the world flooded America and brought with them their architectural traditions.


People came from France, Spain, Germany, Great Britain and Latin America and built homes with locally available materials. These pioneers built homes that were familiar to them but also learned to build in the new environment by using techniques from Native Americans.


American Colonial homes are simple in design and known for their symmetry. They are utilitarian and practical and yet at the same time classic. They include the following subtypes:


Cape Cod – The Cape Cod Colonial is a subtype of the New England Colonial and can be identified by its steep roof, side gables and short roof overhang. Usually one story these homes are unadorned and pragmatic. Built to withstand all kinds of weather.


Dutch Colonial – Dutch settlers in the New York area developed these homes around 1630. These homes were originally one-room cottages with stone walls and steep roof lines. High pitched roofs allowed for second story sleeping quarters. This type of home is known for it broad gambrel roof which gives it a barn like look to it. Chimneys are usually located on one of both sides of the home. Dormers, shutters and covered central front doorway round out the Dutch Colonial home.


French Colonial – Found in the French settled areas of the US including New Orleans and the Mississippi River Valley the home was constructed of heavy upright cedar logs set vertically in to the ground. Double pitched hipped roofs and wrap around porches are distinctive features of this style of architecture.


Georgian – Popularized during the reign of King George, this style of home is generally built of brick with wooden columns and trim. These are plain homes with a box shape, one or two large chimneys and usually five windows across the front of the home on the second level.


German Colonial – This home style is made of sturdy brick with thick walls and exposed beams. First floor windows feature reinforced arches as do the main level doors. Found in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.


New England Colonial – These are some of the first homes built in the new world. Timber framed homes with a distinctive medieval essence to them. They are known for their large stone chimneys and steep roof and often diamond shaped windowpanes. Because they were built of timber few of these original structures still exist.


Spanish Colonial – This subtype of colonial home differs a bit in design from the other homes. Usually one story, flat roof with a low pitch and clay tiles for roofing or thatched roof. These homes were typically white washed or stucco. The windows are small and sometimes without glass. Commonly found in the American South, Southwest and California.

This article was published on Monday 03 November, 2014.

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