Early American Style
THE LOOK: Weathered, but steeped in tradition and aged to perfection. ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS: Early American homes follow straightforward, boxy styles. You can have an authentic look with one or two stories. If you choose log construction for this style, look for logs that are hewn square and meet at dovetail corners.
Rooflines are fairly simple, too, but dormers, in doghouse or shed style, add character to flat roof planes. Humdrum asphalt shingles will ruin the effect of an historic-style home. Instead, pick slate or a metal roof in silver, green or brown. Cedar shakes are an option, but only if your climate will allow them. In a wet or humid area, wood roofs can suffer. Some composite shingles now mimic the look of wood shakes. WINDOWS AND DOORS: Creating an authentic Early American home requires windows with divided lights instead of picture windows. Rectangular-shaped windows are typical to the style: Arched or Palladian windows should be avoided.
Traditional colors on the cabin’s exterior make sense, such as white, green or dark brown trim. Set off the front entry with a door in a contrasting color, as well. Look for heavy door hardware in a matte or brushed finish. Outlining the door with small-paned sidelights and a transom overhead adds an authentic touch. INTERIOR: Although Early American homes were tight quarters, new home owners aren’t bound to repeat history. Interiors can be open and casual or divided into more distinct formal rooms. Either way, the fireplace tends to be the focal point of the home and as such, is a worthwhile investment. Homes in cold climates historically had fireplaces set in the middle of the home. In warmer locations, fireplaces were often placed on an exterior wall. SAGE ADVICE: Look for historic home plans in a shape and form that look original to your area. Two-story Colonials are prevalent in some areas, while saltbox homes appear in other regions and, in some parts of the country, dogtrot-style cabins are prevalent.