Styles of American Colonial Homes

The Colonial is considered to be one of the most popular house styles in America. It has been around since the early 1500s and has endured more than 500 years of modifications. From the NeoColonial of today, to the first Colonials of the 1500s, Colonial homes represent an American tradition.

History of Colonial Architecture

The Colonial style began in the early 1500s in the New England portion of the United States. Colonial homes were loosely based adaptations of homes the colonists knew in their previous country.

The form of the Colonial evolved over the course of a few years into what is now known as the New England Colonial (1600s.) Over the next several hundred years, the Colonial would evolve into at least 10 distinct styles of Colonial homes.

Characteristics of Colonial Architecture

The individual characteristics of Colonial style architecture varies from time period to time period, as well as from region to region. There are a wide variety of adaptations of the Colonial, however most Colonials have a few to several common markers.

For example, most Colonial homes are symmetrical. They are often rectangular, but can be square. The door is usually centered on the facade of the home, but can be located off to the far right or far left side of the home as well.

Many Colonial homes also feature corresponding windows that are symmetrical to the door. The windows usually continue to be symmetrical on all floors. Traditionally, Colonial homes also feature a pitched roof.

Symmetry is often the most common identifying marker of Colonial homes. However, there are also homes that are considered Colonial but do not follow the traditional rules of Colonial architecture.

In addition to this, Colonial homes were also made from a variety of different building materials, depending on their region. It is not uncommon to see Colonials made from wood, brick, faux stone and even stucco; all of which give each home a unique look.

Different Styles of Colonial Architecture

- New England Colonials (1600s to the 1740s)
- Cape Cod Colonials (1600s to the 1950s)
- Spanish Colonials (1600s to the 1900s)
- German Colonials (1600s to the 1850s)
- Dutch Colonials (1620s to the 1850s)
- Georgian Colonials (1690s to the 1830s)
- French Colonials (1700s to the 1860s)
- Federal and Adam Colonials (1780s to the 1840s)
- Colonial Revival (1870s to the 1950s)
- NeoColonial (1860s to the Present)

Famous Colonial Homes

While most original, wooden construction Colonials are long gone, there are still a few available for visitation. Some of these include the Rebecca Nurse Colonial, built in 1678; the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial in St. Augustine, Florida (González-Alvarez House;) and the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum in Frederick, Maryland.