Georgian style refers to a style originating in England in the 1600's based on forms following the classical principals of design developed by Andrea Palladio during the Italian Renaissance. In the mid 1600's, architects Indigo Jones and Christopher Wren began designing buildings using Palladios' design principals. This style became wildly popular in England, replacing the medieval.
| By 1700 Georgian designs reached the American colonies in the form
of architectural manuals and pattern books. In the 1700's New England had
a building boom. Wealth was accumulating along the Eastern seaboard with
wealthy captains, merchants, shipyard owners, and mill owners creating a
new class of 'first families" in the colonies. Many people were visiting
England and there was free travel between the colonies. The Colonists looked
to England for precedents of fashion and taste. New standards of sophistication
and elegance were developing and those who wanted to display status, wealth
and taste were eager to have the new Georgian style home.|
This new style involved new concepts of living. The multiplication of rooms led to increased specialization of rooms into separate rooms for sleeping, cooking, dining and so forth. Fireplaces in the living quarters became smaller and more efficient, since they were used for heating only and the large hearth could be confined to the kitchen only. Comfort, convenience and privacy were beginning to play a role in the colonists' lifestyle as they increased their wealth.
Pre Georgian 1698
|New England Georgian style is adapted to its immediate surroundings and
climate as well as the puritan influence, which resulted in an less ornamentation
and a smaller scale than Georgian style in other colonies.|
Exterior finish: would have been unpainted shingles, or clapboards. Later painted white or yellow or red. Roof was wood shingle. Cornice at the roof was usually decorated with dental molding (tooth like cuts). The windows almost touched the cornice or roof. Very little overhang of roof. Double hung windows with 12 over 12 panes or 9 over 9. Comers could be decorated with quoins. (Quoins are usually found in masonry work but Northern Georgian wood structures simulated them in wood). Front door had a triangular pediment or a flat pediment and pilasters. Sometimes there was an extended pediment supported by columns to form a front entrance.
Our South Shore towns have a great many Georgian style homes remaining from the 1700's. Fortunately they have remained private residences and some have been changed very little.
During the late 1800's Georgian style was revived and builders modified the style to accommodate the more modern lifestyle and taste of the new century. Now we have examples of original Georgian and Georgian "revival" homes and buildings as well to consider, With time and practice you will be able to spot the original from the revival. There also exist 20th century reproductions (some well executed and some not so).