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Colonial Revival

The Eclectic Period 1880-1940.

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The term “Colonial Revival” refers to the entire rebirth of interest in the early English and Dutch houses of the Atlantic seaboard. The Georgian and Adam styles form the backbone of the Revival, with secondary influences from post-medieval English or Dutch Colonial prototypes. Details for two or more of these precedents are freely combined in many examples so that pure copies of colonial houses are far less common than are eclectic mixtures.

During the first decade of this century, Colonial Revival fashion shifted toward carefully researched copies with more correct proportions and details. This was encouraged by new methods of printing that permitted wide dissemination of photographs in books and periodicals. Colonial Revival houses built in the years between 1915 and 1935 reflect these influences by more closely resembling early prototypes than did those built earlier or later. The economic depression of the 1930s, World War II, and changing postwar fashions led to a simplification of the style in the 1940s and 1950s. These later examples merely suggest their colonial precedents rather than closely mirroring them.

Excerpted from A Field Guide to American Houses, Virginia and
Lee McAlester, Alfred Knopf, New York, © 2000.

 

Entrance Door

  • Panel doors
  • Overhead fanlights or sidelights
  • Accentuated surrounds
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Shutters

  • Panel, louvre or board and batten
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Garage Door

  • Vertical orientation of surface material
  • Layered trim boards with decorative molding
  • Symmetrical multi-pane windows
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