Colonial Houses

Servants and Colonists in Colonial America

Early Colonial Houses

This article on Facts about Colonial Houses provides interesting facts and information about life in the American colonies in the 1700's

  • Facts about the different types and styles of Colonial Houses houses and homes in the 18th Century
  • The different types of houses and homes owned by American colonists
  • Interesting facts and fast information about Colonial Houses
  • Colonial Houses and Colonial Homes
  • Educational resource for teachers and kids about Colonial Houses
New England ColoniesLife in Colonial Times
Middle ColoniesSouthern Colonies
American Colonies Index

History of the first 13 Colonies and life in the Colonial Period

Houses and Homes: The daily lives of the colonists in the 13 Colonies during the Colonial Period

Colonial Houses
This article contains fast facts and information about Colonial Houses during the 1700's. There were many different types, styles and designs if Colonial Houses during the 1700's. Types of houses used by the colonists were dictated by wealth and the availability of natural resources to use as materials to build Colonial Houses. The first colonists needed to build houses as quickly as possible to provide shelter from the elements. Timber was in ready supply and simple log cabins were built. As people acquired wealth the elegant mansions sprang up in the towns and also in the great Southern plantations. These two totally different types of colonial houses are the iconic images of homes in the early years of colonization in North America.

Colonial Houses - Town Houses, Farmhouses and Mansions
The Colonial Houses varied according to the regions in which each of the colonies were located. In New England great industries and town life developed leading to the development of town houses. In the Middle Colonies farming communities were established and farmhouses were built. The economy of the Southern Colonies were largely based on plantations and their wealthy owners built opulent mansions.

Colonial Society - ColoniesNew England Colonies
Town Houses
Middle Colonies
Southern Colonies
Plantation Mansions

Colonial Houses - The Georgian Mansion
The most famous Colonial Houses were the grand Georgian mansions.

Features of Georgian Mansions

  • The style and design of colonial mansions were spacious, opulent, expensive and elegant
  • Classical architectural influences from ancient Rome and Greece
  • Symmetrical, proportioned with imposing grandeur
  • Square, symmetrical shape with imposing columns, usually white
  • Paneled central front door embellished with decorative designs over the door
  • Windows with shutters and small rectangular window panes
  • Paired chimneys
  • Pitched roof with minimal roof overhang

Colonial Houses - The Log Cabin
The first type of Colonial Houses built in Colonial North America were simple log cabins.


Features of Log Cabins

  • The style and design of log cabins were very basic and attributed to the Swedish style of building
  • Rectangular shape
  • Average Size: 16 feet long and 14 feet wide
  • Construction:
    • Fast to erect
    • Constructed using round logs
    • Bark was left in tact
    • Logs 'notched' together or wooden pegs were used, so that nails were not necessary
    • No glass in windows - wooden shutters or oiled paper was used
    • Roof: Low pitched roof made of planks of timber
    • Chimneys: Located at the one end of the log cabin

Colonial House

Types of Colonial Houses

The different styles, architecture and types of American colonial Houses that were built during the 18th century in North America are described as:

  • Georgian Colonial Houses (1700 c.1780): Classical influences from ancient Rome and Greece. Symmetrical, proportioned with imposing grandeur

  • Federal-style architecture: Colonial Georgian architecture blended with the neo-Palladian style to add curved lines and decorative flourishes to Georgian houses

  • German Colonial: Found in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland often featuring wishbone-shaped chimneys, Exposed half-timbering and stone arches

  • New England Colonial: Symmetrical wooden houses covered in shingles or clapboard. Often featured a front door in the center of the house, and a large central chimney for fireplaces in each room

  • Spanish Colonial: Two stories, whitewashed houses, often featuring porches

  • French Colonial: Featured double-louvre doors, dormers and shutters

  • Dutch Colonial: Feature gables on the end walls

  • Farmhouses: One or two stories with three of four rooms around a central chimney

  • Hall and parlor houses (1620-1860): House with two rooms downstairs with interconnecting doors

  • Log Cabins (1600-1800's): Simple one room houses built from logs

  • The I-house: Features gables to the side, at least 2 rooms in length, one room deep, and two full stories in height

  • Row Houses - rows of terraced houses built in brick in Colonial times, such as in Philadelphia. In New York and Boston rowhouses are called "Brownstones" and are typically multiple stories

  • Saltbox Houses - featuring a long, pitched roof that slopes down to the back

Saltbox House
Dutch Colonial House Saltbox House

Colonial Houses

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