HOME  / EXPLORE  / STYLE GUIDE  / COLONIAL

Early European settlers in America brought the architectural style of their various homelands.  Rather than multiple cultures adopting one “melting pot” style, early COLONIAL architecture was a mosaic of regional styles.  Not only did architecture differ according to cultural heritage, but climate and available material influenced building styles as well. Where many areas of 17th century Europe faced a shortage of lumber, it was found in abundance in the new world.  Wooden buildings dominated New England in the 1620’s. Masonry was more common in the southern colonies.  Bricks were reserved for foundations and chimneys.

Between 1660 and 1696 the British Parliament passed the Acts of Trade, which required all European goods bound for America to be shipped through England first. To this end, early colonists were only allowed to use British brass hardware.  The Acts of Trade even outlawed brass foundries in the colonies.  It wasn’t until the 1830’s that American manufacturers began to mass-produce their own hardware.

Beginning in the second quarter of the 18th century, Georgian houses became popular.  They typically resembled a 1-2 story box with strict symmetry, a panel front door placed dead center and capped with an elaborate crown, and had chimneys on both sides of the home.  Wealthy merchants who generally had first-hand experience of England introduced English “pattern books” containing all the latest designs.  Since architects were scarce in the colonies, Georgian houses of colonial America were designed by builders who often designed modest cottages as well as mansions.

Exteriors as well as interiors contained finely crafted molding and cornices.  Columns can also be found both outside and inside Georgian style homes. Plaster ceilings with elaborate hand-carved medallions became popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  This time period saw an evolved use of the fireplace — from a central utilitarian hearth that served cooking as well as home heating needs, to the centerpiece of the parlor or great hall, as kitchens were moved to a separate room. Fireplaces in these social rooms held more prestige and consequently, more ornamental detail.

Browse Nostalgic Warehouse™ Products That Fit Your Style

New York long plate
with Oval Clear Crystal knob
Cottage Short Plate with Parlour Crystal Lever in Polished Brass
Cottage short plate
with Parlour Crystal lever
Prairie long plate
with Rose Porcelain knob
Cottage short plate
with Crystal knob
Cottage short plate
with Rose Porcelain knob
Cottage short plate
with White Porcelain knob
Cottage short plate
with New York knob
Classic rosette
with New York knob
Cottage short plate
with New York knob
Studio short plate
with New York knob
New York long plate
with Waldorf Crystal knob
New York long plate
with White Porcelain knob
New York long plate
with Homestead knob
New York long plate
with New York knob