Ever seen a house so similar to a barn? The Dutch Colonial house you were looking at is a unique example of early-American architecture. Its German-inspired gambrel roofing was probably what you were seeing. The Dutch Colonial houses can be found all over the country and are charming and cozy.
What is a Dutch Colonial Home?
The classic Northeast United States home style of Dutch colonial architecture dates back to the 1600s. It is well-known for its unique gambrel roofs and overhanging eaves.
What makes a house Dutch Colonial style?
Gambrel roofs are the most distinctive feature of Dutch colonial homes. They give them a barn-like appearance. These symmetrical roofs, also known as Dutch roofs, have two slopes. The upper section is pitched at an angle, while the lower section is steeper with long eaves that reach beyond the sides of the house. Large porches were added to the sides of the original Dutch colonial house.
All houses built during colonial times were made of natural materials. In the case of the Dutch, these houses were made of stone on top of wooden frames. Modern Dutch colonial interpretations may abandon stone siding to favour shingles or plywood. These materials will always look natural, even though they are durable synthetic materials. The Dutch left the wooden ceiling beams exposed inside.
These houses always had at most one fireplace running up the side of their house. Larger dwellings might have had multiple fireplaces with their chimneys. The fireplaces in today’s Dutch colonial revival homes have flues that have been updated for safety and efficiency. They connect to a single chimney, which has been built in the middle of the roof.
Dutch colonial homes feature double-hung windows or “sash” windows. These feature two square, paned panel windows that can be raised or lowered from the bottom or top. Some Dutch homes had one or two arched windows. These were placed around chimneys and were used for decorative purposes. Swinging shutters were the most common window coverings. Modern versions of shutters can be permanently attached to the house’s exterior, but they may no longer be functional.
The distinctive front doors are one of the most recognizable features of these houses. These heavy wooden doors are also known as Dutch doors. The top half of the doors can be opened to let in fresh, clean air while the bottom half remains closed.
The most important features of Dutch colonial-style homes are:
- Gambrel roof
- Long overhanging eaves
- Natural materials
- Fireplace and chimney
- Sash windows
- Wooden shutters
- Dutch door
The History of Dutch Colonial Style Homes
The Dutch colonists settled in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut during the 17th and18th centuries. They built houses using elements from their homeland and created a distinctively American style. The Dutch colonial houses of the early Dutch were only one-and-a-half stories high to avoid paying a British tax on houses with more than two stories.
These houses were still popular in the Northeast even after the end of the colonial era. In the latter part of the 19th century, there was a revival in colonial architecture as people began to yearn for simpler times after the Industrial Revolution. This movement was dominated by Dutch-style houses, although the term “Dutch Colonial”, which was used to describe them in the 1920s, was not widely used. These houses weren’t exact copies of their ancestors. The blueprints were adapted to the needs of the homeowner of the 20th century, but they reflected the original Dutch design. They also had a gambrel roofing and reflected the original Dutch design.