New England Architecture 101 – Colonial Revival

The Colonial Revival comes in many styles, but all pay tribute to America’s earliest homes.

By Aimee Tucker

Oct 20 2023


The Colonial Revival is a homey, updated take on an American original.

Photo Credit : Illustration by Rob Leanna

Spanning three-quarters of a century, the Colonial Revival era is not so much about a specific style as it is a specific vibe: namely, a nostalgic revival of the English- and Dutch-inspired styles of America’s early home-building days. Colonial Revivals come with a variety of layouts and rooflines, but common elements include symmetry, fanciful accents, and a prominent front entrance.

Time Period: 1880–1955

Defining Characteristic: Historic-meets-homey feel

Famous Example: Your childhood home (or your grandparents’)

Where to Find Colonial Revival Homes: Throughout the Northeast, including the Old Post Road Historic District of Fairfield, Connecticut

1. Structure: A second-story overhang is typical of a variation called Garrison Colonial, shown here with a one-story side-wing addition
2. Windows: Traditional shuttered upper windows with simpler paired lower windows are commonly seen

3. Entrance: Varies widely among Colonial Revival houses but is typically prominent, such as this door with sidelights (but no fanlight)