Historical Colonial homes were inspired by early Dutch, English, French, and Spanish settlers in North America. Born from a necessity to easily expand living space for a dozen or more colonists in the 1650s – 1850s, the “salt box home” was named for its sloped shape, and defined by the rear lean-to addition. Colonial homes were built with locally attainable materials of wood, brick or stone and were often a single room deep, with the additions comprised of a central kitchen, fireplace, oven & pantry, plus space to care for the young & old.
Four common architectural styles developed during the colonial period; French Colonial, Colonial Georgian, Dutch Colonial, and Spanish Colonial. All these styles offer unique inspiration & beautiful approaches to designing a new home. Modern colonial architecture offers historical and cultural aesthetics with upscale features designed for modern living and even traditional style homes draw from the colonial styles. The colonial architectural style typically features two or three stories, a front porch, gabled rooftops with dormers, and one or more fireplaces. Colonial revival homes are often eclectic in style, freely combining aspects from several of these styles.
The first impression of a colonial home is a solid exterior appearance, in brick, stone or wood facades over 2 stories, with a possible 3rd story in the gabled roof. Stately white columns line the expanse of the front porch and a triangular gable, or pediment may grace the entryway, accessed from the yard or only a few wide, low steps. The pitched rooftops, well placed dormers and double hung windows can only hint at the splendors found inside. Enter this home and immediately experience a breath of fresh air, with high vaulted ceilings and a mix of light toned and warm interiors. Classic colonial homes often present the living room and dining room upon entry to the main floor, with a fully featured kitchen and pantry at the back of the home. A central, sweeping stairway leads to the second floor bedrooms and bathrooms. All spaces tend to be bright and airy due to the multi-pane window & dormer placements, entry level porches, and even upper floor verandas.
French Colonial is natural home style in central Canada and Quebec depicting the dense French culture. Early “Quebec houses” featured a steep gabled roof with curved (bell cast) eaves, preventing snow from dumping on homeowners and guests, and dormer windows projecting through the roof. Inside these homes, a central staircase may lead to the wide front veranda where large casement windows open to the inside of the home. Modern or revival Quebec houses may have brighter colors, beautifully carved and painted frames around the doors and windows, highly decorative verandas, and storm windows covering the original panes, that once held wooden shutters. There are countless Quebec houses in the province of Quebec, yet you can also find them on the adjacent borders of New Brunswick and Ontario.
A variation of early Colonial, Cape Cod style homes were typically single stories built to withstand the stormy Atlantic Ocean weather of Cape Cod. The homes featured a low, broad, single story frame with a moderately steep pitched gabled roof, a large central chimney, and very few decorative enhancements. The simple homes were often wood framed with clapboard or shingle exteriors. Today’s Cape Cod exteriors also feature gorgeous stone or brick work exteriors and the interiors are often dressed with boldly painted, nautical colors – vibrant red, navy blue, and crisp white. Modern aesthetics can include stone fireplace hearths, or wood planking on the walls and ceiling beams, offering a gorgeous contrast to fresh white walls. Interiors can remain simple and clean or include artistic embellishments such as pillar columns over pony walls, coffered ceilings, and detailed wall trims & ceiling designs. Eastern Canadian culture has fully embraced Cape Cod architecture for it’s practical, weather-worthy construction, as much as for it’s celebration of Atlantic Eastern culture. Charming historical and modern Cape Cod homes are popular throughout the coastal provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
If your taste is leaning to the colonial style, you are in good company. Colonial architecture is the chosen style of many affluent vacation homes as well as middle class family homes all over North America. With many Canadians relocating to the British Columbia West Coast and Interior, the colonial home can offer a family-friendly design, beautifully laid out for entertaining and reminiscent of home. Ask your home builder about a colonial revival home plan or adding some traditional or modern colonial features into your new home design.
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