If you've ever driven along the northern New England coastline stretching from Rhode Island and Massachusetts through New Hampshire and up into Maine or taken a fall foliage trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire or the Mohawk Trail in Connecticut you've probably stopped several times to not only enjoy the gorgeous view, but the unique architecture and landscape of the homes that populate these quaint, historically rich states.
New England architecture has changed over the centuries but it still retains the inspiration, charm and style from the era in which they were first built. You can see the influence and variation of these beloved home designs throughout the United States from Colonial to Cape Cod to Victorian to farmhouses.
Colonial-styled homes continue to inspire architects and designers looking to recreate the traditional appeal and charm of Colonial New England architecture. Typically these homes feature a symmetrical floor plan with a simple, rectangular shape in 2 to 2 1/2 stories. The second story floor plan is equal in size to the first floor and generally reserved for the bedrooms. Aesthetically an authentic Colonial design will feature a centered doorway flanked with rows of double hung windows, a gable roof, classical details such as columns, cornices, shutters and a brick or clapboard exterior. Newer variations on Colonial designs incorporate a covered front porch and attached garage with the second floor living area extending over all or part of the garage.
A bit more formal and larger than traditional Colonials are Georgian style homes, which drew their inspiration in the 1700s from the elaborate homes being built in England. Like Colonials they have a rectangular shape, multi-pane windows and symmetrical design but with much more elaborate ornamentation, grand columns, paired chimneys, a spacious entry and elaborate staircase.
Equally popular are Cape Cod homes, which grace the coastlines of New England and were originally designed to withstand the harsh weather of the Northeast. Prominent features include window shutters, which are as much functional as decorative, wood siding or shake shingles, a steep roofline and gables. They are almost always one and a half stories with the bedrooms on the second floor. The interior typically has a fresh, clean look with interior doors, cabinets, trim and mantels painted white to highlight the rich hardwood floors, which typically run throughout the entire home. Since these homes enjoy their roots along the coast, you'll find wall colors in light blues, beiges, greens and pinks.
Victorian architecture became very popular in New England during the Industrial Revolution because of its unique departure from more traditional symmetry with the inclusion of ornamental elements like turrets, intricate gables and trim and wrap-around porches. These designs continue to enchant homeowners because of their distinguished charm and elegance.
A quintessential New England-styled home is the rural farmhouse. This architectural style is easy to identify with its large, inviting front porch and dormers. Inside you'll find a large open country kitchen and cozy gathering places to enjoy time with family and friends.
If you're looking to build a new home and want to capture the warmth and charm of New England-inspired house plans, you'll enjoy our collection of farmhouses, Colonials, Cape Cod, Victorian and Yankee Magazine House Plans.