They were frequently two or three storeys high. The Georgian Colonial mansion was a prominent style in the 1700s. This style is named after King George III of England, not the Georgia province. Throughout the colonies, Georgian and Colonial mansions were constructed. They were symmetrical rectangle-shaped houses. Usually they had four rooms on the first floor and several bedrooms on the upper floors.
The home owner usually served in the military during the American Revolution. So most homes were built before that time. After the war ended, people started to work in offices instead of fighting in wars so building sizes decreased and styles changed. But the average height of a colonial house did not change much after 1750.
There were two types of colonial houses - single family dwellings and townhouses. Townhouses were often found around streets where there were many shops. These buildings had several apartments over different businesses. Sometimes there would be no more than one apartment per floor while others might have as many as five.
Single family homes could have from one to four stories. On the bottom floor they usually had a garage for cars or a shed for tools. Above that was the living room with a kitchen behind it. On the third floor there might be a master bedroom and another bedroom or two. At the top of the house there were sometimes additional rooms added called "wings".
They had carpets on the hardwood floors and paneled walls. They possessed a lot of sturdy furniture, such as chairs, couches, and enormous beds with feather mattresses. It had high-peaked roofs covered with heavy tiles or wooden shakes. The gables were often decorated with carved woodwork or pargeting (the early form of paint). The front entrance was usually through a large porch or vestibule. Inside, the house was divided into rooms by means of wall panels or folding doors. Ceiling fans were popular in the summer months.
People lived primarily off their land but also worked at trade jobs in Philadelphia. There were no schools except what you could learn from your parents or neighbors. If they had enough money, colonists would go to Boston or New York City to attend school. Otherwise, they learned by reading books or taking lessons from teachers who came to their home town once a week for several hours.
There were only about 5,000 people living in the entire colony at its peak, which is less than one million today in an area not much larger than West Virginia. However, it took years for all this land to be settled. During that time, people made do with what they had. There were no supermarkets back then so people saved their food until it went bad and then ate it.
The colors and English paper are genuine. Houses throughout the colonies became more ornately ornamented during the latter Georgian period. Dormers and corner quoins became popular, as were two-story pilasters and pedimented center gables. The entrance was often enhanced by a portico with four or six fluted Ionic columns.
Houses in Britain were built of brick or wood, but most furniture was made of wood. Chairs had wooden frames with leather seats or cushions. Tables could be round or square, but usually consisted of an oval slab of oak or maple topped with oil or waxed canvas, on which stood bottles and jugs for holding drinks and foods. Bedrooms were always upstairs, although not necessarily next to the house's main door. In large cities, rooms might also be found underground or in storefronts.
In winter, people burned wood or coal to keep warm; in summer they used open windows or even went out onto their gardens. Disease was a constant threat: tuberculosis killed many people in London alone. But advances were being made in medicine, especially by William Harvey who published "The Works of Nature" in 1651. He showed that the heart was a pump that circulated blood through the body by demonstrating that animals with damaged hearts died.
The main plantation house would almost certainly be designed in the Georgian style. Because there was an abundance of lumber accessible from the forests, a house may be as modest as a two-room building built of wood or as opulent as a grandiose mansion, some of which still survive today. Colonial Rhode Island was fortunate. The colony's coastline provided many useful trees such as beech, maple, and sycamore for timber, and rivers for water power. There were also fields of corn and potatoes to feed the colonists.
The typical colonial house was a one-story structure with clapboard siding and a gable roof. It consisted of a large central room with a fireplace, a smaller second room next to it, and small windows on the side facing away from the road. There might also be a small attic space above the second room. There were no walls inside these rooms except for thin panels at the top of the doorways. The floor was usually made of wooden boards that were not separated into rooms until later when carpeting was introduced into America.
There were only about 250 houses in all of Rhode Island at the time of its settlement. Most were simple one-room structures with flat roofs and no running water inside them. Some had stone fireplaces, but most did not. A few had porches or small balconies, but most people went outside to get warm in winter or cool off in summer.
Colonial-style houses are often square or rectangular in design, with the door in the precise middle and the equal number of windows perfectly reflected on either side. They are typically two to three storeys tall, with comparable, traditional room layouts. The main floor usually has a large central hall with room doors opening off it, with smaller rooms to the sides and a small back yard. There may be a fourth floor with attic storage space.
The central part of the house is called the "great room". It is here that the family gathers for meals and social events. A fireplace may be located here as well. The great room is sometimes also called the "parlor" because it is where people would hang out if they didn't have anything better to do (i.e., work).
The second floor is where families once had their bedrooms but now include playrooms, libraries, sewing rooms, etc. These days, parents are using the third floor as extra storage space or make them into multiroom suites with shared bathrooms. There are also some modern homes being built with more than one story above the first floor; these are called "mansion" homes and can cost up to $1 million.
Colonial-style houses were built after 1660 when the British government passed the Building Act. This act required all homeowners with the means to do so to build a fireproof home.