Back in America's Colonial period there were several types of homes being built based on location, economics and social stature. What most people identify as a Colonial style house is most likely a Georgian style. Two variations of this style are the half-Georgian, which is prevalent in Colonial-era urban areas, and the single-story, hip-roofed style, commonly called a Cape Cod. There are certain distinct characteristics of the Georgia style. Foremost among them is a strict adherence to the classical ideal of symmetry.
Basic Georgian Exterior Characteristics
Based on classical Palladian architecture that features perfect balance and simple harmony, the front elevation of a Georgian style home has a central front door with an overhead transom and one or two windows on either side of it. The second and third stories have a window above the door and those of the floors below. Roof lines are either side-gable or hipped. The outside is finished with wood or brick, and the chimneys are on each side of the house.
The interior of a Georgian style home is as predictable as the exterior, with a wide central hall off of which there are two identically-proportioned rooms on each side. Most likely, you will find the parlor on the left and a dining room on the right. The kitchen is down the hall on the right behind the dining room, and there might be a morning room, a more casual gathering place, behind the formal parlor. Upstairs there are two corresponding rooms stacked on top of those below.
Urban Half-Georgian Home
The historic Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. abounds with this type of architecture. It fits well into the genteel Georgian ideal for urban centers. Basically, these houses are what one would have if he could literally cleave a full Georgian house in two. In this design, there is a long hall off of which there are two rooms, one behind the other, and a stairway with an elegant balustrade leading to the two rooms on the second floor.
Cape Cod Derivation
What is known as a Cape Cod is simply a one-story version of a classic Georgian home with a hipped roof. The windows are symmetrically proportioned on each side of the center door with a transom above. There are two rooms on each side of the central hallway, as well as fireplaces and chimneys on opposite sides of the house.
- Photo Credit Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images