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Space: Colonials built before 1750 were sparse inside with their low ceilings, minimal furniture, exposed beams, etc. Nothing was there that didn’t need to be, and everything was practical. After 1750, more architectural detail was added according to the personality of the owner. Wood-paneled walls; interior trimming; painted carved fireplace mantels were typical add-ons to the latter Colonials that wouldn’t have been present in earlier Colonials. Rooms were, well, roomier with higher ceilings, but attention was still carefully paid to proportion and scale. These were still Colonials, after all. They were not meant to be ornate or lavish. Yes, color was added in the eighteenth century and wallpaper in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, but the simple elegance of the Colonial still remained.

Rooms: The rooms in a Colonial are situated around the center hall, usually two in front and two in back. Sash windows are vertically aligned and symmetrically placed around the front door with an extra window on the second floor to top off the door. This symmetry, so integral to what we consider Colonial today, wasn’t always present as the houses were being built. Why? Simply because the settlers built as they were able, which meant that things couldn’t always be balanced. Rooms were added as needed and as supplies were available. It wasn’t until the eighteenth century that the more center-aligned theme to the Colonial house became the norm. Most Colonials have a central chimney, but some of the larger homes have two chimneys, one on each end of the house.

Updates: The hearth was updated as well. Instead of being in the middle of the one room, it was split in two, with two chimneys, to double the heating capability. Kitchens were moved to outbuildings or ‘keeper rooms’ in the back. In the original Colonial times, there was no indoor plumbing, but obviously it was added in the later versions of the Colonial style homes.