"This was probably the most common type, having eight rooms and a front central stair hall. The fireplaces were symmetrically located on the inner walls, while the exterior was decorated with a small portico. The second story was usually constructed of heavy log timbers placed at regular intevals, which served as a ceiling for the rooms below. The outside walls were often packed with mud or sea weed to add to their warmth in winter and coolness in summer. Ice was kept in the cellar and was reached through a trapdoor in the floor. About 1630 hand-cut wood shingles came into use for roofs, and brick and other materials were brought from Europe. The several colonies, English, Dutch and Swedish, began to show individuality in their designs, which was suggestive of their native buildings. The Dutch houses were especially distinctive on account of the gambrel roofs with heavy over-shot eaves and practically no cornice on the gables. They often constructed their houses of stone and barred their windows with solid panel shutters".
Built about 1715. A Two-Story House with Dormer Windows.
North End of Brick From "Early Connecticut Houses".
Two quite distinct types of colonial houses are found in the earlier houses, both founded on English models:
1. The Puritan or New England.
2. Those houses which were built on the large estates in Virginia.
Climate and social customs have left their impress on each. The early Puritan "on that rock-bound coast" found life a rather serious business, and his architecture has something of severity in it. The houses are built comfortably of three stories, with very plain exteriors.
The Virginia homes of the eighteenth century offer quite a contrast to this. In the "sunny south" the climate was pleasant, the soil productive. There were plenty of slaves to do the work; the owner of the estate was socially inclined; circumstances favored a luxurious mode of life, so the house needed to be large to accommodate the family, guests, and slaves, and to maintain the generous hospitality for which the region is famed. Monticello is one of the most typical of these estates. It is said that Jefferson ruined himself by his hospitality.
Specimen of Early Dutch. Architecture, Long Island, N. Y.
Fom ' Homes in City and Country".
The houses consisted frequently of a central two-story portion with two wings. The wings were sometimes used for guests, sometimes for domestic servants. The use of brick when wood was so much easier to obtain showed how the colonist clung to his English models. The fact also that they were slow in introducing the veranda so much needed for protection against the heat of an American summer is due to the same slowness to give up old ideals. The importance of the hall in the early colonial house must not be overlooked. It was living room, dining room and frequently guest room, in fact all the house except kitchen and bedroom. The common life of the family centered about this room, and to it. the family treasures in the way of good furniture were brought.
Rhode Island and Connecticut Shore House, with Gambrel Roof and "L".
From 'Homes in City and Country".