Colonial style architecture has a rich history in the United States. The style represents the home of many US presidents including George Washington.
The colonial style enjoyed its height of popularity from 1880-1960 and still influences modern suburbs today. The fundamentals of the style include
- Window symmetry & shutters
- Central Front Doors
- Steep Roofs
Overall, these style elements work with both single-family homes as well as larger estates.
Colonial style would grow to vary across cultures and locations giving birth to a variety of colonial sub-styles like New England, Dutch, Chesapeake, and Spanish Colonial. Each with its own nuances and unique flourishes.
Colonial Home Substyles
New England Colonial
New England Colonial Style architecture stands as a paragon of historical architectural significance.
Characterized by its symmetrical and modest facade, this architectural style exudes a sense of dignified restraint. Steep gable roofs, central chimneys, and double-hung windows with shutters are hallmarks of this venerable design, reflecting a heritage of practicality and understated beauty.
Inside, these homes often feature central hallways and grand fireplaces, embodying a warm, inviting atmosphere. New England Colonial architecture is not merely a style; it is a testament to enduring craftsmanship and a deep-rooted sense of tradition and stability.
Dutch Colonial Style architecture, distinguished by its stately gambrel roof, is a symbol of rich historical elegance.
This architectural form, with its broad sweeping eaves, stands as a testament to a blend of practicality and aesthetic charm. Characterized by symmetrical facades often featuring dormer windows, Dutch Colonial buildings exude a sense of balance and grace.
The interiors, typically spacious and well-structured, reflect a commitment to comfort and functionality. This style, with its roots in early American history, continues to be revered for its distinctive appeal and enduring legacy in architectural design.
Chesapeake Colonial style is deeply rooted in the rich history of the American Mid-Atlantic region. This style is characterized by its practical and heavy design, tailored to the cultural context and building materials of the Chesapeake Bay area.
The hallmark features include steeply pitched roofs, large chimneys, and a robust, earthy aesthetic. The exteriors of Chesapeake Colonial homes often showcase a blend of brick and wood. These structures commonly exhibit a symmetrical facade, yet with a less rigid adherence to symmetry compared to other colonial styles, allowing for a more organic and adaptable layout.
Internally, Chesapeake Colonial homes are designed with both functionality and hospitality in mind. Rooms are typically spacious, with high ceilings and central hallways that create an open, airy atmosphere. Fireplaces, a central feature in these homes, are not merely functional but also serve as focal points of craftsmanship and communal gathering. This architectural style, with its blend of practicality and understated elegance, continues to be celebrated for its historical significance and timeless appeal.
Spanish Colonial architecture is a vivid testament to Spanish cultural influence in the New World. This style is renowned for its rustic charm and stately grace, reflecting the aesthetic sensibilities of its Iberian origins.
Characterized by thick, stucco-clad walls, red tile roofs, and an emphasis on shade and airflow, Spanish Colonial buildings are both a response to and a celebration of the warm climates in which they are typically found. The use of terracotta and intricate tile work further enhances their visual appeal, creating a vibrant and inviting ambiance.
Inside, Spanish Colonial homes are marked by an emphasis on simplicity and earthy elegance. Exposed wooden beams, tiled floors, and whitewashed walls are common, creating interiors that are both humble and majestic. This architectural style, with its blend of practicality and aesthetic allure, continues to enchant, offering a window into a rich cultural heritage.
The Colonial Revival in U.S. architecture marks a period of resurgent elegance and a deliberate nod to the nation’s architectural roots. This movement, emerging as a symbol of national pride and identity, saw the renaissance of colonial design elements infused with modern sensibilities. It was a homage to the country’s early heritage, reinterpreted to suit the evolving tastes and technologies of Americans.
The Colonial Revival movement was not merely an architectural trend; it was a statement of cultural and historical continuity. It reflected a nation’s desire to reconnect with its past while forging ahead into the future.
This architectural style, still prevalent in homes, public buildings, and educational institutions we see today, became a cornerstone of American architectural identity, symbolizing stability, tradition, and refinement that transcends time.
Smaller colonial homes have the appearance of looking both well crafted and cozy, while larger colonial homes tend to take on a more stately appearance with the use of columns and large multi-pane windows.
From floor baseboards to ceiling moldings colonial style incorporates straightforward and clean lines for an architecture style that’s equal parts sturdy and timeless. Below we review some ways Mouldings One has seen homeowners make this style work for their homes.
Colonial baseboards are typically some of the most conservatively detailed compared to colonial crown molding, baseboard, trim, or casing within the style.
What these baseboards lack in ornate detail they make up for in size and presence. They’re also incredibly versatile in terms of home decor, able to blend in or stand out depending on your needs.
Colonial baseboards are most known for their width. These baseboards are some of the tallest in residential architecture with most measuring over 6 inches in height. These baseboards add serious weight to the room helping to compliment the style of any space with substance.
Often these baseboards will be accented with a top edge ogee profile that helps smooth the baseboard’s transition into the wall.
Homeowners looking to make their colonial baseboards an accent have a few interesting options at their disposal. One option would be to remove the small ogee or half curve top profile from their baseboard.
Giving the baseboard a more abrupt edge can make it more eye-catching. It also helps to give the room a more manor-like effect which is great for formal dining rooms or foyers.
Besides modifying the structure of the molding you can also use paint to effectively make it stand out from the rest of the wall. White is the common color choice for colonial baseboards so choosing a high-contrast color for the wall will highlight the floor-to-wall transition in a room.
Colonial moldings are often intricately detailed. Though not as large as their baseboard counterparts colonial moldings don’t go unnoticed and often help to make a room’s interior color scheme or style feel complete.
Common colonial moldings create smooth arches that are complimented with either cyma recta or reversa for an extra flourish. This style comes from a melting pot of different architectural designs, but its main influence is Roman architecture.
These moldings soften the abruptness of the ceiling helping to make a room appear larger.
While some homeowners prefer their ceiling to be a neutral blank canvas, some see an opportunity for detail. Colonial crown molding can be intricate featuring multiple shapes, beads, and quirks, which all provide a more elegant and ornate ceiling border than typically seen in homes today.
Overall, detailed crown moldings add an air of formality to a space and help to cement the interior design from the floor to the ceiling.
Bold & Versatile Style
Colonial baseboards and moldings offer homeowners a style that’s been popular for over a hundred years and can be made an eye-catching accent point or play a supporting role to other interior design elements of the room. The architectural philosophies behind colonial style strike a just-right balance of simplicity and detail that can be suited perfectly to taste.
Bring your colonial home dreams to life with our moldings combination package for whole-home projects including baseboards, crown moldings, as well as door and window casing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’d be happy to make your next dream project come true!