Back to all articles

The History of Colonial Houses

The term “colonial house” is most often used to describe the style of home that is traditionally found on the East Coast of the United States and dates back to the 1600s, when British colonists began building homes in America. The colonists took elements of design from their homes back in England and used them when building their new homes in America, hence the name “colonial.” Colonial homes are usually two or three stories tall and highly symmetrical, with a rectangular shape, a centered front door, and an even amount of windows on each side of the door. Fireplaces and brick or wood facades are also hallmarks of British-style colonial homes. While British colonials (sometimes called American Colonials today) are the most common type of colonial house and usually what people mean when they use the term, colonial homes can also encompass the architectural styles used by colonists from other nations. Dutch-style colonial homes originated with Dutch and German colonists; they typically feature a gambrel-style roof and flaring eaves. French colonial homes, most commonly found in Illinois and Louisiana, were originally built by French colonists; they usually feature a steep roof with a wide overhang and a stucco exterior. Spanish colonial homes are most common on the West Coast of the United States and usually feature stucco walls, a red tile roof, and an interior courtyard. Today, Colonial-style homes (especially British Colonials) are still some of the most popular home styles in America and are often highly sought after.

Share this article

card showing the history of rocking chairs

Your go-to guide for weird history facts

Subscribe to the FREE daily email that makes learning about history fun.