The classic Colonial is easy to discern with its boxy appearance, two to two and a half stories, and symmetry of structure. It usually has a chimney smack dab in the middle of the roof, or one on each side. The Colonial has its root in the New England area, but it was also popular in the South. In the Twin Cities area, we have mainly Colonial Revival style houses as there are very few houses built prior to 1850.
We have many Colonial Revival style houses in the Minneapolis area, some of which include the Dutch Colonial, Postwar Colonials, and Federal & Adams Colonials. Each one has its own features. Common to most Colonials is the center front door, usually flanked by sidelights with a pediment or fan above the front door. Also, a porch held up by columns over the front door is common.
The Dutch Colonial differs from other Colonial Revivals by the use of a gambrel roof. A gambrel roof is a roof type that has multiple pitches, or curbs on two sides while the other two sides are full gables. It is a close cousin to the Mansard roof, which is multiple pitches on all 4 sides. In some areas, both of these roof types are called Mansard roofs.
The windows may also be paired up as well.