The Enduring Charm of Colonial Revival ArchitectureAug, 2 2023
Introduction to Colonial Revival Architecture
If you had asked me some years back what Colonial Revival architecture was, I would have probably given you a blank stare. Fast forward to today, and I just can't help but marvel at the allure of this architectural style. Borrowing heavily from Colonial America's unique aesthetic while blending complete functionality and elegance, Colonial Revival architecture has managed to remain popular for over a century.
This endearing architectural style piqued my interest during a trip to the U.S. with my better half, Howard. We drove through quaint countryside towns, strewn with houses that exuded a unique charm of their own. Originally unaware of the architectural style these houses represented, a casual conversation with a local introduced us to the world of Colonial Revival architecture, a style I've found intriguing ever since!
Colonial Revival: A Historical Overview
This aesthetically pleasing architectural form traces its roots back to late 19th Century America. After the 1876 Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia, interest in America's colonial past rekindled. With the aim of expressing their newfound appreciation, architects began refurbishing and reconstructing original Colonial structures, giving birth to what we now know as Colonial Revival.
Post World War II, the style saw resurgence, offering a comforting sense of nostalgia and simplicity during a turbulent era. However, it was during the late 20th Century when the style truly reached its zenith, becoming an epitome of class and elegance, which it still maintains today.
Notable Features of Colonial Revival Architecture
I often find myself charmed by the symmetry, balance, and order that Colonial Revival architecture encapsulates naturally. Its most defining attributes are its rectangular, symmetric design and a central entrance that often showcases a decorative crown. This design creates a sense of harmony, as if everything has found its rightful place.
Gabled roofs, a staple feature, reflect the style's practical side, warding off heavy rainfall or snowfall, while simultaneously adding to their aesthetic appeal. Add to that the multi-pane, double-hung windows with shutters, and you have an architectural style that is both elegantly practical and classically beautiful.
While the exterior often leaves me mesmerized, stepping into a Colonial Revival home is a whole new experience. True to its exterior, the interior design is symmetrical, with rooms branching out from a central hallway. The elegance and sophistication continue throughout the home's interior, with traditional colors adorning the walls, alongside hardwood floors and decorative mouldings, all contributing to the charm of Colonial interior design.
In our Melbourne home, Howard and I have managed to incorporate some of these striking colonial elements. The central hallway in our home, leading on to symmetrical rooms, often makes me reminiscence about the colonial homes we had the pleasure to visit. Tweety and Max, our dearly loved pets, seem to approve of the choice too!
Landscaping: Beauty Outdoors
You might imagine, with the immense sophistication inside, the exterior would be equally demanding. That’s not the case. The simplistic yet tastefully done landscaping in a Colonial Revival walks hand in hand with its indoor charm. Most homes follow a more classic, formal landscaping approach, juxtaposed with the more casual family-oriented backyard area.
Throw in a patio or deck for the much-needed barbeque parties, add in a beautiful garden path or a bird bath, and you have a delightful setting that you and your family can enjoy on a beautiful sunny afternoon.
The Role of Furniture
The beauty of a Colonial Revival home extends to the furniture it houses. Mahogany sideboards, maple armchairs, four-poster beds — they all narrate an old-world story that harks back to colonial times. However, one must remember that the focus of this style is not ostentation but functionality, wrapped in a comforting appeal.
For these homes, furniture is not just mere decor - each piece adds to the narrative, each piece tweaks the imagination, pulling the mind back to the era of the original Colonies. This render them not merely houses, but homes brimming with history, character, and charm.
Colonial Revival: An Enduring Symbol of Grace and Elegance
Over the years, Colonial Revival architecture has carved a niche for itself in the annals of architecture. Even now, as I explore different architectural styles, I find myself continually drawn towards the grace and charm of these structures. It is fitting that these homes, just like their original colonial forbearers, have stood the test of time, bringing with them a sense of nostalgia and classiness that is too captivating to ignore.
This enduring charm of Colonial Revival architecture is a testament to its timeless beauty and functionality. So, whether you're exploring architectural styles or looking for your ideal home design, you'll have much to gain from this fascinating historical style.