American history is entrenched in the very soul of the country. Further expression of our nation's heritage through interior home decor is an excellent way to bring back nostalgia. It doesn't take a history nerd to appreciate the iconic aesthetic of the colonial revival style architecture.
The grand entrance halls, symmetric exteriors and interiors, soft pastel colors, and polished wood floors are beautiful. But that's not the only thing that makes the style stand out. Here is everything we need to know about colonial revival architecture and how to achieve its unique design characteristics that make the style a timeless marvel.
Origins of the Colonial Revival Style
The colonial revival style entered the U.S. architectural scene in the late 1800s, following an increasing need to document and preserve buildings of architectural significance across the U.S. The design gets most of its charm from colonial-era designs constructed by European settlers in the 1600s and 1700s, but with a few differences.
For starters, the colonial revival style lacks the distinct luxury and opulence of colonial-era homes. Instead, the design takes a more practical and simplistic approach, with symmetrical floor plans, multi-lite windows, thick brick chimneys, and the incorporation of barn doors.
Additionally, the wide availability of building materials and technological advancements at the time of revival gave architects a lot of leeways when executing the design. That's why it's common to see colonial-style buildings featuring Victorian-era designs and more detailed, ornate work.
Colonial Revival Style Design Characteristics
So, what makes the colonial revival style one of, if not the most enduring style in American architecture? One might say the minimalist shape that blends in with any outdoor environment or the multi-story construction gives the style a sense of opulence. Well, there's so much more to this design style. Here are some of the most notable design characteristics that help us achieve a colonial revival themed home.
Attaining a symmetrical structure is one of the most defining attributes of colonial revival architecture. Most homes have a square or rectangular floor plan with brick or clapboard siding. The symmetrical design blends perfectly with the multi-story construction and simplistic exteriors featuring minimalist color schemes and simple geometric lines.
Balanced Window Placement
When you look at colonial revival-style homes, the first thing you notice, apart from the obvious symmetry, is the use of simple lines across the exterior. These lines cut across the structure horizontally, so everything has to remain balanced to accentuate the design.
That's where balanced window placement comes in. Most colonial revival-style homes have an equal number of windows on each side of the entryway. The windows on the top floors, albeit greater in number, follow the same principle and align themselves with the windows on the ground floor.
If there's one thing we know about the early European settlers, they liked to make a statement. And nothing makes a statement better than a decorated entryway. The less ornate, minimalist façade that characterizes colonial-style homes fades away at the door, replaced by an eye-catching, well-decorated entryway.
Colonial-style homes feature centered entryways to maintain the homes' symmetrical geometry. Most homes also feature a transom or fanlight windows and pediments positioned above the door to form a decorative crown.
Pitched roofs are one of the most defining characteristics of colonial revival-style homes. They look great and blend in perfectly with the symmetrical design. However, the pitched roofs aren't just meant for decorative purposes.
English settlers knew just how much damage snow could cause if left to sit on the roof. So, they designed roofs that would allow the snow to slide off. There are, however, a few variations in roof design depending on location. Despite the added ventilation and space benefits of gabled roofs, they are susceptible to damage from high winds. So, you'll probably find houses in coastal regions with a hip roof.
Centre Hall Floor Plans
The symmetry in colonial revival-style homes doesn't end at the exterior design; it follows you in. The front door in most revival-style homes opens to a center hall with a staircase leading up to the top floor. You'll typically find the kitchen at the back of the ground floor and the more formal rooms like the den and living room towards the front.
Make Your Colonial Revival Home Stand Out With Barn Doors
Colonial-style architecture is not just about preserving history. It's about reviving the art, practicality, and aesthetic appeal that drove our founding fathers to adopt the timeless style. Nothing accentuates the aesthetics and functionality of any room better than a sliding barn door. Visit us for all your barn door needs when ready to make your colonial revival-styled home stand out.