Early American Style


The Early American or American Colonial style developed during the period of 1608-1790. Because this era encompasses a time prior to the Revolutionary War, it overlaps the Baroque periods of several European countries including England and France. Though this style was fashioned in America from those who left England in the Medieval and Early Renaissance period, it is uniquely its own. Here's a glimpse of how lower-income farmers outfitted the interiors of their homes.

Wall Treatments were of exposed stucco, often with board-and-batten wainscoting and void of other architectural embellishment. The floors evolved from dirt to stone to broad, haphazard planks of wood. Ceilings consisted of load-bearing beams crossed with smaller beams. The houses had a cave-like coziness attributable to their small rooms and dark interior colors. Plank doors with wrought-iron knobs were popular.

Until the time of the Revolutionary War, when glass became more readily available and sash windows became standard, small casement windows with diamond-shaped panes were prevalent. Windows were often untreated, because the early settlers needed to use the precious fabric for clothing. Braided rugs on the floor were constructed from strips of discarded clothes.

The houses were often isolated, so the need for privacy was low. During the winter months, the farmers used solid-panel shutters to keep out the cold air. Colonial curtains were simple and flat, like the classic New England tab curtain. Somber colors - ecru, parchment and gray - were often used in natural fibers, because dyes were hard to come by.