History of American Home Styles — From Colonial to Modern Industrial

When we look at the history of American architecture, we begin to notice a story being told of an ever-evolving country and the many cultures that are a part of it. Since the colonial era, American architecture has experienced transformations due to industrial advances, art revolutions, and a growing concern for the environment.

Colonial Era Gave Us The Cabin

From about 1607 all the way to the 1800s (in some areas), the typical home in Colonial America was a cabin—simple but sturdy. Wood was abundant and settlers could build their homes fairly quickly. The interior usually featured a one to three room layout and a large living space in the center of the home. This style of home was popular throughout the Atlantic coast as well as the western frontier.

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Skip ahead to the 1700s, and we see the emergence of a home with a heavier European influence—the Georgian home. The defining features of these homes were red brick exteriors, double-hung windows and a symmetrical façade.

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Gothics, Greeks, & Victorians

The 1800s was a time of constant change in the realm of architecture. From Greek and Gothic revival homes to folk Victorian homes styles, the industrial revolution granted builders the opportunity to construct homes with machine-cut wood and give simple cottages more elaborate, decorative exteriors.

The Arts and Crafts Movement started in England at the end of the 19th century and made its way to the U.S. This movement encouraged builders to construct homes using handcrafted materials from natural resources rather than machine-made materials. This style of home was therefore called the “Craftsman Home.” These simple homes typically featured a low-pitched roof and windows with vertical panes.