Early American Home Styles (First Settlers)
As soon as the first settlers set foot on American soil, they needed to erect structures to serve as abode. At this time they didn’t require fancy homes or planned interiors.
Being in a new found land called for structures that served primarily as roofs above their heads and a place to keep warm... This was around 1650.
The early American home consisted of one room only, an open space with four walls and a roof. These houses served multi-purpose functions; living, dining, kitchen, and sleeping and had a lone fireplace that served for keeping the room warm in the cold winter months, and for cooking functions.
This was the first Colonial home structure known as a log cabin, a first generation home building structure. It was a small one storey structure with a fireplace and chimney.
Materials used in constructing the early settlers abode were stones and felled timber logs that were laid horizontally and interlocked on the ends with notches.
Later on around 1675, two room colonial homes were constructed with a central fireplace and chimney. The central fireplace had two openings, each facing one room.
The two room Colonial homes had attics that were accessible through very steep stairs leading from a tiny hallway at the entrance. Their entrance doors were positioned centrally on the longer exterior wall, with window openings on the narrower sides opening into each room.
Three quarters of a century later, many more complex home designs were introduced.
Colonial Home Designs Became More Complex by 1750
The four room homes followed the two room houses around 1750. A central corridor/hallway was created and this ran the full depth of the structure. A lone wooden staircase led upstairs from the hallway to the rooms above.
Initially, an attempt was made to fashion out a central fireplace and chimney, but the idea later proved clumsy and impractical.
Eventually they found that a two chimney feature worked out much better and was much more effective for the four room buildings. Each chimney served two rooms.
Regional Colonial Houses - North and South of America
Structures built by the Early Americans' varied among the regions, yet the definite styles and trends were noticeable in all.
In the north, the New England Colonial homes (around 1700) were called salt box houses and were typical of the provincial style.
They had extra rooms added to the back of the earlier two room homes, just like add-on structures with the roof sloping down towards the building's rear to cover the extension.
In the south, homes in Virginia and most of the southern region had home styles that had additions of rooms to the sides of the building. This invariably increased the size and width of the building.
The southern Colonial houses, especially those in the Carolinas and Virginia were better planned and elaborately crafted with aesthetically pleasing interiors. This is because the southerners were far ahead and more advanced in the appreciation of the decorative arts than their Northern ‘sisters and brothers’.
By the 1730s, Colonial houses in the south were built mainly for grand entertaining and comfortable living. Their appreciation of the decorative arts saw them having home with grand front doors, beautiful entrance halls, and elaborate sweeping stairways.
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