Design Influences: The American Colonial Home

American Style

The colonial housing style is so ubiquitous in the United States; it has a continuing influence on how we live in this country. My home — and perhaps yours, too — finds its roots there. Dating back to the 1600's and prevalent even today, the colonial style is synonymous with American style:

Colonial houses are, most simply, houses that were built during the colonial period of our country's history. Sub-types include the Dutch Colonial, French Colonial, Spanish Colonial, German Colonial, and New England Colonial housing types. The style's variety (coming from the colonies that first populated what would become America) clearly illustrates our country's melting pot beginnings.

Characteristics of Colonial Style Architecture:
Some traits of the colonial style house include a square floorplan, symmetry, a central stair and central entry door, rooms branching off of the central hall, and straight rows of windows on first and second floors. The colonial style permeates both urban and rural settings. Today, even, a loose interpretation of the colonial revival style makes up the majority of the nation's housing stock, echoing the original colonial style nearly 400 years after its beginnings. The simple floorplan of old colonial houses makes them perfect candidates for mixing with contemporary furnishings for a reinterpretation of the old.

Characteristics of Colonial Style Furnishings:
Colonial style furnishings at their earliest were simple and rustic, reflecting the lifestyle of Americans as they populated a new nation.

Today, so much of our built environment and furnishings are influenced by the Colonial Style that much goes unnoticed. But the style truly is the building block from which our nation's aesthetic sprung.

COLONIAL STYLE IN APARTMENT THERAPY HOUSE TOURS:


(Images: Flickr member Marcbela, licensed for use under Creative Commons, Old Houses, 3, 4: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn/This Old House, Martha Stewart, Braitman Design Build, eHow, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart, House Beautiful, Antique Home Style, uwec.edu, About.com, Mauritius Museums, Pittsburgh Post Gazette)

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Style, American Style, Architecture, History

Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.