ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Early American Home Styles (First Settlers)

Updated on August 31, 2016
artsofthetimes profile image

Ancient art and architecture isn't only for historians, but for people like us who’ve always been interested in anything olden and periodic.

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.

© 2011 artsofthetimes


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • WesternHistory profile image

      WesternHistory 5 years ago from California

      Thanks for your informative hub. In some cases architectural style is tied into the environment. One such case would be with the adobe homes of the American southwest. Adobes were first constructed by the southwest Native Americans because the mud and straw used were abundant. Forests were not as plentiful as in other parts of the country. Authentic adobe structures do deteriorate and end up collapsing so today you imitation adobe which is more like a plaster and of course lasts quite longer.

    • artsofthetimes profile image

      artsofthetimes 5 years ago

      Thanks WesternHistory for that piece of information wbich is well worth mentioning. And thank you for the visit and kind comments.


    Click to Rate This Article