Colonial style houses are found throughout Newburyport’s historic downtown area, and of course there are many on Federal Street. The Federal style developed between 1780 and 1830, inspired by several architects who traveled through Europe and studied classical Roman and Greek monuments, although say the Federal style is a refinement of Georgian style.
The rectangular shape of Colonial style homes offers the ability to expand the initial house design, or add to the home over time. Early Colonial style homes began as two-story homes with one room on each floor. They quickly expanded to four-over-four (4 rooms on each floor) and today we enjoy much larger homes thanks to central heating and air conditioning.
Colonial Style Homes Symmetrical & Decorative
Colonial homes are rectangular and two or three stories tall. The Colonial style house focuses on the entryway, with the front door at the center of the house. There are usually has two windows (or pairs of windows) on either side of the door and five windows on the second floor. The most common decorative features used to highlight Colonial houses include:
- Sidelights on either side of the front door and often a fanlight over the door, to let more sunlight inside.
- A covered portico supported with columns.
- Windows lined up horizontally and vertically. The windows are double-hung, divided into smaller panes separated by white wooden muntins.
- Pairs of shutters are decorative, framing the windows and sometimes, the door.
- A pair of chimneys, symmetrically placed on either end of the house.
- The roof usually has gable ends although hipped roofs and attic dormers may exist.
- Siding varies by region according to materials available – wood siding in the northeast and brick in the Washington DC area.
Colonial Homes Allow Flexible Floor Plans
Colonial style homes once had traditional floor plans, symmetrical like the exterior with formal rooms on either side of a center hallway. As the demand for open floor plans has grown, many custom home designs have removed one or more interior walls to create rooms that open to the kitchen, for a family friendly layout. It’s still important though for the adults in the family, to include a smaller room on the first floor which can function as a study or den for those times when privacy or quiet are needed.
Stairs which once ran from the front of the house to the back, are now being moved to one side, and sometimes run under the ridge line of the roof where structural support is needed. The bedrooms on the second floor will vary based on the location of the stairs and upstairs hallway.
The floor plans of today’s Colonial style homes, both older historic homes and newer homes vary greatly so we thought you’d appreciate resources to start planning your custom home or remodeling project.
- View a range of older Colonial style homes from the 1800s to the 1940s, at OldHouses.com.
- Review a wide variety of Colonial floor plans at FloorPlans.com.
- … and remember we offer design build services for all your new home or remodeling projects.
Call 978-790-4881 or email us today, to start planning your project.
All of the photos are Colonial style homes in Newburyport, MA and several show our work like the portico details.