The 8 Types of Colonial Houses Explained (Plus 18 Photo Examples in America)


This is the ultimate article and photo gallery on colonial houses in the United States. We explain what is a colonial style house (a term used frequently), set out the 8 types of colonial houses (with photo examples) and then provide an extensive photo gallery showcasing many examples of colonial houses (historical and new).

Luxury Elegant New England Home with white clapboard exterior, grey shingle roof and black window shutters in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Sandwich, MA, USA.  Historic (1693) Luxury Elegant New England Home with white clapboard exterior, grey shingle roof and black window shutters in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Colonial architecture in the United States is most commonly found on the eastern seaboard, which is was where the bulk of the population lived when colonial architecture reigned supreme (1700 to 1800).

Below is our extensive article all about colonial house styles which includes several examples and a list of the different types.

Related: Types of houses | More beautiful houses | Historic homes and mansions

What is the colonial house style?

It’s a broad residential architectural style referring to houses built in the USA from the early 17th Century to early 19th Century. The height of the style was 1700 to the American Revolutionary War – which makes sense given the United States was a colony of Britain at that time. Hence the name (source: Quickenloans).

There are many types of colonial house styles stemming from British Colonial (most common in the US), Dutch colonial, French colonial and Spanish Colonial.  Within the US, different colonial styles of homes were built in different regions including saltbox, cape cod, Georgian and southern colonial houses.

Below we showcase a series of different colonial houses, mostly the saltbox style which stems from the British colonial style.  While most are historic, the second example is a new house built in the colonial style.

A. 8 Types of Colonial Houses

1. British Colonial Styles

The most common type of colonial architecture in the USA is British colonial architecture which makes since given the US was a British Colony for approximately 200 years.  There are several sub-styles that quality as British colonial architecture.  They are as follows (you no doubt have heard and seen them all).

a. Saltbox Style

Old red house in Old Salem, North Carolina.

Red saltbox style house in Old Salem, North Carolina.

Here’s a side profile of a saltbox style house consistent with a saltbox roof.

Built by Reverend John Smith c. 1675, this saltbox style home in Sandwich, on the shore of Shawme pond, is believed to be the oldest house on Cape Cod.

Built by Reverend John Smith c. 1675, this saltbox style home in Sandwich, on the shore of Shawme pond, is believed to be the oldest house on Cape Cod.

b. Cape Cod Style

Hyannis, MA, USA: New England Home with gray shingle exterior and black window shutters in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.

Hyannis, MA, USA: New England Home with gray shingle exterior and black window shutters in Hyannis, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.

c. Georgian Style Example

Below is two photos of the same historic Georgian colonial style house.

Historic Longfellow House in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)

Historic Longfellow House in Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA)

Longfellow’s House, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, 1893. Example of Georgian colonial style of architecture in the USA.

Longfellow’s House, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, 1893. Example of Georgian colonial style of architecture in the USA.

d. Mid-Atlantic

Historic Hammond-Harwood House is one of the premiere remaining houses from the British Colonial era, began construction in 1774 in Annapolis, MD

Historic Hammond-Harwood House is one of the premiere remaining houses from the British Colonial era, began construction in 1774 in Annapolis, MD.

2. Dutch Colonial

A Dutch colonial house in Williamsburg VA

A Dutch colonial house in Williamsburg, VA.

3. Spanish Colonial

Old Spanish Colonial Zevallos House in Guadeloupe

Old Spanish Colonial Zevallos House in Guadeloupe.

House in French Quarter, New Orleans in 18th century Spanish colonial style

House in French Quarter, New Orleans in 18th-century Spanish colonial style

4. French Colonial

Destrehan Plantation built in 1787 in Louisiana is a good example of a French colonial style house

Destrehan Plantation built in 1787 in Louisiana is a good example of a French colonial style house.  In 1840 it was further remodeled incorporating Greek Revival architectural elements.

The Manor Boucher de Niverville in Trois Rivieres built in 1668.

The Manor Boucher de Niverville in Trois Rivieres built in 1668.

Exterior of Château Ramezay in Montreal, Canada - example of a French colonial style house,

Exterior of Château Ramezay in Montreal, Canada – example of a French colonial style house,

Example of a French colonial house in the French colonial city of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India

Example of a French colonial house in the French colonial city of Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India.

Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace, Hanoi Vietnam is an example of French colonial architecture.

Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace, Hanoi Vietnam is an example of French colonial architecture.

5. German Colonial

The small stone houses of German Colony located on the both sides of Ben Gurion Boulevard, Haifa, Israel

The small stone houses of German Colony located on the both sides of Ben Gurion Boulevard, Haifa, Israel.

Ghost town Kolmanskop, A German colonized town in the Namibia desert. The former german town was left with end of german colonialism end of WWII.

Ghost town Kolmanskop, A German colonized town in the Namibia desert. The former german town was left with end of german colonialism end of WWII.

B. 10 Examples of American Colonial Houses – Photo Examples

Below is a nice collection of 10 different examples of colonial houses in the USA.

1. Nantucket Colonial with Wood Shingle Exterior (circa 1735)

Nantucket Colonial with Wood Shingle Exterior (circa 1735)

Restored living room in an old colonial house. Features large white furniture, white walls and light natural hardwood flooring.

Above is a very classic British colonial style house in Nantucket, MA (a really great place to visit BTW).  Notice the steep gabled roof, abruptly ending eaves, exterior shutters and the symmetrical rectangle design – all elements of British colonial architecture in the USA.

See the rest of this home.  Source: Redfin

2. Contemporary Yellow Colonial in Maine with Black Shutters

Yellow colonial house with black shutters and white trim

Large new L-shaped kitchen with white cabinets, hardwood floor and recessed lighting in a colonial house.

Above is a new home built in the colonial style in 1999.  It consists of 3,477 sq. ft., 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

Source: Redfin

3. Groves-Hodge House in Maine (circa 1740)

The above house was built by William and Mary Groves in 1740.  At the time, the property consisted of 100 acres which included two islands.  They operated the property as a trading post.  Since then, the home has changed hands many times.  In 1983 William and Mary Ann Dykes purchased the home and started restoring it to its 18th Century glory.

This home is 4,500 sq. ft. with 5 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

Source: Redfin

4. Yellow and Red 18th Century Colonial House on Kennebec River

Above is an 8,000 square foot 18th Century red and yellow colonial house once owned by Captain John Reed.  It sits on the Kennebec River in Maine.  Actually, the yellow portion is the original house.  The red part is a barn converted into an add-on to the home.  It’s a rambling mansion sitting on a bucolic property.  Source: Redfin.

5. White colonial mansion in Camden Maine (circa 1863)

Camden, Maine is a must-see town if ever touring the Eastern seaboard, USA.  I’ve visited twice and love the town. It is touristy, but the tourist dollars make it possible to maintain such a beautiful town and the many colonial houses that pepper the streets.

Above is one example of a prominent colonial house in Camden. Built in 1863, it consists of 7,000 sq. ft. and has 7 bedrooms and 5 bedrooms.  As you can see above, it’s been carefully restored and renovated into its current elegant design that maintains the historical interior.

6. White colonial with red front door (circa 1810)

The above white colonial home that’s narrow and deep was built in 1810.  While colonial style was on its way out by that time replaced by the Federal style, the plainer Colonial style was still favored by many people. The above is a good example which is a classic colonial residential architecture.

It’s a large home with 4,107 sq. ft., 6 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.  It sits on nearly 1 acre.  Source: Redfin.

7. White Colonial House on the River (circa 1808)

The above featured colonial house sits on a river in Connecticut. It was built in 1808 and has 4,030 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms. What’s interesting about this particular home is how it retains the historic interior yet isn’t run down at all. Yes, there have been some updates over the years, but when you see the interior, you get the feeling that you’re living in an early 19th Century Colonial house.

Source: Redfin.

8. Wood Shingle Exterior Colonial on Large Property (circa 1840)

What an incredible 1.03 acre property this equally beautiful wood-shingle colonial home sits.  Built in 1840, this home consists of 3,240 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

Source: Redfin

9. Three-Storey White Steep-Roof Connecticut Colonial (circa 1900)

Spacious white classic Connecticut Colonial house similar to the house I always seeing on the TV show “Who’s the Boss”.  This home spans 5,027 sq. ft. with 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.  The house is much larger than it looks from the front – it has a large rambling additional section off the rear.  Source: Redfin

10. Blue Colonial on the Water in Rhode Island (circa 1797)

The above home balances historic preservation with enjoying present-day comforts.  It’s obviously been renovated over the years to it’s current tasteful interior, yet there are many remnants of historic interior elements.  This home is 3,445 sq. ft. and has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Source: Redfin

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