Main Content

Home » The Many Examples of American Colonial Architecture

The Many Examples of American Colonial Architecture

As you wander through our beautiful area, one thing is abundantly clear – we know how to build phenomenal colonial homes. Of all the different styles of home architecture, none are probably as enduring as the classic American colonial. With its symmetrical windows and clearly defined living spaces, colonial homes are quintessential New England.

But American colonial architecture isn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. Here are a few variations on the simple colonial that you’re likely to see.

Colonial Revival

Image: Traditional Home

One of the single most popular twists on the traditional colonial home is the colonial revival. Popularized by the early English and Dutch in the late 19th-century, this architecture is a mix of all styles – from roof forms to deep porches.

Colonial revivals are most commonly recognized by their notable decorative entrances. This can include a paneled front door flanked by sidelights, a modest portico with columns, or a distinct pediment with accented pilasters. You are likely to see this style home in Weston.

Dutch Colonial

Image: Pinterest

There’s little doubt that you’ve stumbled upon a fair number of Dutch colonial style homes while exploring our area. Interestingly, the name “Dutch colonial” does not refer to Holland or the more commonly recognized colonial style. Instead, the name is derived from the Dutch settlers who originally built these styles of homes in the lower parts of New York and New Jersey. The name conveys the domesticity and love of family living that these original builders enjoyed.

If you’re unsure if a home is truly a Dutch colonial, just look out for the easily recognized dormers. These homes are also distinguished by there gambrel roof, which might or might not include flared eaves.

French Colonial

Image: Traditional Home

More frequently found in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast, French colonial style homes have become a common sight in tree-lined New England neighborhoods. While most new French colonial homes in New England are faint whispers of the original design, many French colonial homes more closely resemble chateaux revivals.

One way that home builders have stayed true to the French colonial design is by including arched doorways and deep porches, often called “galleries.” These deep porches are perfect spaces to gather together, from summer cookouts to marveling at the autumn foliage.

Georgian Colonial

Image: Pinterest

Unequivocally the dominant architectural trend in the early colonies, Georgian colonial homes have remained one of the most consistently popular styles in home architecture. Colonial Americans embraced the simplicity and refined elegance that these homes afforded them, especially with minimal professional flourishes.

Unsurprisingly, the interpretations of the Georgian style homes tend to vary in different locales. In the North, builders preferred to flank the entrance with wooden pilasters, while in the South you’re more likely to see intricate brick patterns. Today, builders often combine these geographical preferences to create homes that reflect this classic style but also include more modern flourishes.

German Colonial

Image: Pinterest

While the thick walls and exposed timbering that defined the early German colonial homes are now updated, the sturdy construction that defines German colonial homes remains intact. Using a combination of a symmetrical façade, thick stone walls, and a steeply pitched end-gabled roof, this home style is ideal for the bone chilling New England winters.

Interestingly, when German colonial style homes were built into hillsides – as a means to protect against the elements – they were often called a bank house.

New England Colonial

Image: Pinterest

Now this is an architectural design that you’ve definitely seen. With steeped gabled roofs and double-hung windows, New England colonial homes have defined Wellesley area homes for generations. Much like the other variations of colonial architecture, these homes are defined by their eye-pleasing symmetry.

Inside you’re likely to find a more structured blueprint, with an allocated living room and dining room. While many homebuyers today are seeking out a more open floor plan, New England colonial homes offer a stateliness which cannot be overlooked.

Spanish Colonial

Image: Pinterest

Although some say that Spanish colonial homes are not distinctly New England, this home design has remained a popular choice for many homeowners in and around Wellesley. Typically, Spanish colonial homes are defined by a few common physical characteristics: stucco-clad walls, small windows, limited ornamentation and an inner courtyard.

Ultimately, Spanish colonial style homes are seen as a popular choice for homeowners who enjoy abundant family gatherings. With plenty of gathering spaces, these homes offer an inherent relaxation that is often difficult to find.