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One of the most enduring home styles in America is the Colonial. Although the first true Colonial homes were built as early as the late 1600s, revivals of the style have persisted well into the 21st century. Characterized by steep roofs, traditional room layouts and numerous smaller windows, Colonial-style homes have a place all across the country.

Colonial Home History

When the first immigrants settled on U.S. soil, they brought with them the aesthetics, culture and customs of their former countries — including their idea of home design. Colonial-style homes are the “New World” adaptation of modest English homes.

Is My Home a Colonial-Style House?

Chances are if your home is located in New England and built anywhere between the 18th and 19th century, your home is a Colonial. However, homes built well after this time period retain much of the Colonial aesthetic. Here are a few defining features:

  • high-peaked roofs
  • little to no roof overhang
  • massive central or end chimneys
  • symmetrically shaped structure
  • several small windows
  • later style Colonial homes include pillars, dormer windows and brick detailing

Examples of Colonials

773 East Rd., Tiverton RI (below)
For sale: $599,000

This home was built in 1780 and retains all the classic Colonial-era characteristics: six fireplaces leading into a central brick chimney, wide-plank wood floors and a stone wall surrounding the property. The kitchen and bathrooms have been completely updated, but the home retains much of its 18th-century feel.

11 Caitlin Ct, Saratoga Springs NY (below)
For sale: $295,000

With its clapboard-style exterior, peaked roof, traditional layout, the only giveaway that this home was not built before the turn of the 19th century is the attached garage. This Saratoga Springs home for sale was built in 2011 and features a gas fireplace and gas range, second floor master-suite and other 21st-century amenities within its Colonial charm.

205 W High St, Winnsboro SC (below)
For sale: $222,000

This Southern belle mixes Colonial with a touch of Victorian, offering a classic home with a little bit of detailing. The home features a broad porch for sweet-tea sipping, 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. The Winnsboro real estate listing also has hardwood floors, a claw-foot tub, high ceilings and crown molding throughout.

(undisclosed address), Portland OR (below)
For sale: $679,000

Colonial in the Pacific Northwest? Why not? This Portland home for sale was built in 1922 and takes inspiration from the Northeast with its many windows and exterior. The 3,300-square-foot home features 4 large bedrooms, 1.5 baths,

Think your home is more on the contemporary side? Check out our post on mid-century modern style homes.

About the Author

Erika Riggs, the Zillow Digs manager, covers home design and trends.

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