White House Floor Plan Living Quarters. The colonial house plans architecture of America includes many design styles including First Period (late-Medieval) English, Spanish colonial, French colonial, and Georgian colonial. These architectural styles were in vogue for houses, government buildings, and churches from the early 1600’s through the mid 1800’s. The earliest English settlements at Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 and at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, became models of later colonial construction along the east coast of America. Early English buildings usually include details associated with the Medieval period such as steep roofs, a massive central chimney, small windows (because of a glass scarcity in the colonies) and minimal ornamentation.
The historic Spanish revival house plans spread with the earliest Spanish settlements in Mexico and the Caribbean. In the United States, the Spanish colonial style is best exhibited in St. Augustine, Florida, which is the oldest established city in the U.S., having been founded in 1565. The common houses in this town were covered outside with a whitewash of lime mortar; usually two stories tall, they included patios for outdoor cool-air breezes in the hot Florida climate. This style also developed in the American Southwest and in California, as Spanish priests established missions along the Pacific coast between 1769 and 1823.
The French colonial style spread in areas of North America settled by the French, beginning in 1608 with Quebec, and in 1718 with New Orleans, Louisiana. Other settlements spread along the Mississippi valley up to Missouri. Early French colonial-style houses are called poteaux-en-terre, and are made of heavy cedar logs set upright into the ground. They are surrounded by galleries (porches) to sit outside in the hot summer. By the 1770’s the French colonial style evolved into briquette-entre-poteaux, meaning small bricks laid between posts, which characterizes homes in New Orleans’ historic quarter. In areas where flooding was common, the raised-cottage style developed, with houses built on top of raised brick walls for protection from waters during floods. In dry periods these basements stayed cool, and were used for storage and cooking.
Perhaps the image which most readily comes to mind with the idea of colonial style house plans is Georgian colonial style, which was popular in New England and the mid-Atlantic areas of North America from the 1720’s to the 1780’s. The defining features of Georgian-style architecture are the symmetrical, square shape; central doorway, often with a decorative crown over the door and flattened columns on either side of it; and the straight lines of windows on the two stories. The doorway opens upon an entryway which leads to a hall and stairway which divide the house in two, with rooms branching off on either side from these. Usually Georgian houses were made of brick with wooden trim, with columns painted white. There are usually one, or perhaps two chimneys. The ground floor of Georgian houses has formally defined dining room, living room, and occasionally family room areas, with bedroom on the second floor.
The current upsurge of interest in colonial house plans includes the entire range of colonial style house plans, from English Georgian style to the Southwest historic Spanish revival house plans.
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