The early colonists came to the New World (America) from many different cultures. Due to that, they were familiar with many different styles of architecture. The label “Early American home styles” is something of a misleading term. All styles that came to America during this country’s early development can be classified as such. As in European home styles, there is likely a considerable amount of overlapping of characteristics among Early American architecture given they all have a northern European base.
New England Colonial Architecture
English Architecture largely influenced the early settlers of the New England coastal areas. Settlers simplified the house designs and adaptations to these styles. The lack of materials, equipment, and time made this possible. One of the most popular of all the New England styles of architecture was the Cape Cod. The Cape Cod style is a one and a half story house design with a gabled-roof and dormers. This design has a center aligned front entry, a large central chimney, and clapboard or bevel siding. Shutters dress double hung windows and the floor plans are generally symmetrical in design.
Mid-Atlantic Colonial Architecture
This style of architecture came about with the availability of brick. A seasonal climate plus the design philosophy of architect, Thomas Jefferson also help to spearhead the mid-Atlantic style. Buildings, stretching from Virginia to New Jersey, were designed in this fashion during the colonial period. The style is formal, massive, and ornate due to it’s adaptation of several urban English buildings.
Southern Colonial Architecture
With warmer climates in the south, early settlers, who migrated there, were led to develop the southern colonial style of architecture. Outdoor living activities were more the usual. The homes became larger making them the center of plantation living. Second story additions gave a more grand look. In addition, two-story columns were included to support the front-roof overhang and the symmetrical gable roof.
Early American Home Styles That Developed Later…
Architectural styles somehow evolved from existing styles after the colonial period. Climate needs may have been a factor in this evolution. The Classical Revival movement also ushered in a change from European style homes. Styles that developed from this period included the Federal, Victorian, classical revival, Greek Revival architecture, and Gothic Revival Architecture. Other styles included Spanish western styles such as the western ranch, western adobe, Monterey, and Spanish Mediterranean.