These dwellings were traditionally made of wood and occasionally stone (depending the resources available), and were just one room deep and two or three rooms broad, with either a big central fireplace or fires at both ends of the building. They usually had no more than six rooms, including the attic.
In modern terminology, these single-room houses would be called bungalows or abodes.
The average size of houses in colonial America was about 20 feet by 30 feet, but some were much larger or smaller.
There were also two-story houses in the colonies. These were built in the same way as the one-story ones, except that they had a floor directly above the ground level, which is why they were sometimes called "master bedrooms" and "slave bedrooms".
The upper floor was used for storage or housing additional families. Sometimes there were even three or four stories!
Two-story houses were not common before the 18th century. After that time, people started building them to accommodate growing populations and their need for more space.
There were also homes with more than two stories after the 18th century. These were usually found in large cities, where land was expensive and house sizes were small.
They were symmetrical rectangle-shaped houses. They often featured windows that were positioned both vertically and horizontally across the front. They had either one large chimney in the center of the house or two, one on each end. The roof was made of wood slates covered with clay.
There are several different types of houses in America. The first type of house to be built in America was a wigwam, which is a temporary structure used by Native Americans for shelter during war times or when hunting. The next type of house to be built was the sauna, which is also known as a log cabin. These were the first two types of houses to be built in what would become the United States.
Around 1730, the third type of house to be built in America came into existence: the frame house. Frame houses are still used today in many parts of the country. In fact, around half of all homes in America are now frame houses!
The fourth type of house to be built in America was the brick house. Brick houses were popular among the wealthy due to their durability and cost effectiveness. Today, they are again becoming popular among young people who want to save money while still having nice housing.
The fifth and final type of house to be built in America was the stone house.
In most cases, the home was not divided internally and consisted of one continuous room. In other cases, the home would have been divided into two rooms, with a raised level spanning roughly a third of the construction and accessed by a wooden ladder. This is the typical arrangement for a Slavic longhouse.
Long houses were built in regions where timber was available for construction. The roof was made of wood and thatched with grass or reeds. Windows and doors had to be made of wood because glass was expensive and stone was scarce outside of large cities. A serf's house might have had only one door but it would have been made of metal and opened from the inside using a lock.
A lord's castle would have had several large doors for security purposes and to allow traffic flow into the different parts of the building. It would also have had windows but they would have been closed up during bad weather since opening them would risk exposure of someone inside to attack from without or theft from within.
Inside the serf's house, there would have been a wooden floor with no ceiling except for the sky above. There would have been some kind of heat source, like a fire, which would have been needed during the winter months. When it got cold, people would have slept under blankets on top of piles of hay or straw.
The house grew over time, eventually reaching 7 stories in height with 3 elevators, 47 fireplaces, and 160 different rooms. Sarah worked hard every night, drawing up fresh ideas for her carpenter to add to the mansion, but there was never a concrete blueprint for the house. She died at the age of 57 in 1881, leaving the house to her son John Henry who just wanted to get out of debt. He sold off part of the land around the house and moved to Texas.
Today, the Winchester House is only four floors tall with 20 rooms. It has been preserved as it was originally built, including its wide-boarded wooden floors and paneling, original paint, and even its dust sheets used to protect furniture before it was polished.
In addition to being a museum, the house also serves as the headquarters of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Tours are available daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM except on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day when they close at 4:00 PM.
You can visit the house at 801 Park Avenue in Franklinton, West Virginia.