The colonial history of the United States covers the history from the start of European settlement until 1776 when the Thirteen Colonies declared their independence as the United States of America on July 4th. This was a period of great transition for our country and a time when styles were blended together to create American colonial design. So this 4th of July week, let’s celebrate our country’s history and style!
Building styles in the 13 colonies were influenced by techniques and styles from England, as well as traditions brought by settlers from other parts of Europe.
In New England, 17th-century colonial houses were built primarily from wood, the most widely available resource, following styles found in England. Brick, the other most widely available construction resource, was used primarily in the Hudson River Valley, Long Island, and northern New Jersey.
Colonial style homes are stately and distinguished, which some say reflect the solid, traditional values of the time. Most Colonial style homes are symmetrical, where each side is a mirror image of the other. Decorative elements are minimal and drawn from Greek and Roman classical architecture. The entry is generally the focal point, with a large door, transom, sidelights, hood, or even a portico.
Some identifying characteristics of colonial style homes are:
- Architecture is very symmetrical and square
- Decorative crown above front door
- Narrow side windows flanking the front door
- Paired Chimneys