Before And After 1970s Colonial Exterior Remodel

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Before and after 1970s colonial exterior remodel – Embark on a journey through time as we explore the captivating transformation of colonial exteriors, from their pre-1970s grandeur to the modern adaptations of the 1970s. This architectural evolution unveils the interplay between preservation, revival, and the irresistible allure of contemporary influences.

Before the 1970s, colonial exteriors showcased a symphony of architectural styles, materials, and design elements. These homes stood as testaments to their historical roots, exuding an aura of timeless elegance.

Architectural Styles

Before the 1970s, colonial exteriors showcased a range of architectural styles that reflected the diverse influences that shaped American history and culture. These styles played a pivotal role in determining the design and appearance of colonial homes, leaving a lasting legacy on the built environment.

One of the most prominent styles was the Georgian Revival, which emerged in the late 18th century and drew inspiration from the architecture of England’s Georgian era. Georgian Revival homes were characterized by their symmetrical facades, rectangular floor plans, and large windows.

They often featured classical details such as pediments, pilasters, and cornices.

Federal Style

Another influential style was the Federal Style, which flourished in the early 19th century. Federal homes were typically smaller than Georgian Revival homes and exhibited a more delicate and refined aesthetic. They often featured elliptical or fan-shaped windows, elaborate doorways, and decorative moldings.

Greek Revival Style

The Greek Revival Style, which gained popularity in the mid-19th century, was inspired by the architecture of ancient Greece. Greek Revival homes were characterized by their monumental columns, triangular pediments, and wide porches. They often featured details such as fluted columns, dentil moldings, and egg-and-dart motifs.

Gothic Revival Style

The Gothic Revival Style, which emerged in the mid-19th century, drew inspiration from the architecture of medieval Europe. Gothic Revival homes were characterized by their pointed arches, stained glass windows, and steeply pitched roofs. They often featured decorative details such as pinnacles, gargoyles, and quatrefoils.

Materials and Construction Techniques

Colonial homes built before the 1970s typically utilized a combination of durable materials and traditional construction techniques. These factors played a crucial role in ensuring the longevity and resilience of these structures.


  • Wood:Wood was the primary material used for framing, siding, and roofing. Common species included pine, oak, and cedar, known for their strength and durability.
  • Brick:Brick was often used for exterior walls, providing excellent fire resistance and insulation. It was typically laid in Flemish bond, a distinctive pattern that enhanced both structural stability and aesthetic appeal.
  • Stone:Stone was sometimes used for foundations, chimneys, and exterior walls, offering exceptional durability and resistance to weathering.

Construction Techniques

  • Post-and-Beam Framing:This technique involved using heavy timber posts and beams to create the structural framework of the house. It provided excellent strength and flexibility, allowing for large open spaces and varied rooflines.
  • Clapboard Siding:Clapboards, thin wooden planks, were installed vertically over the exterior walls. This provided a weather-resistant barrier while also creating a distinctive aesthetic.
  • Shingle Roofing:Wood shingles or slates were commonly used for roofing, offering good insulation and water resistance. They were often laid in overlapping rows, creating a textured and visually appealing surface.

Durability and Longevity

The combination of durable materials and skilled construction techniques resulted in colonial homes that could withstand the test of time. The use of wood, brick, and stone provided excellent structural integrity and weather resistance. The post-and-beam framing allowed for flexibility and expansion, preventing damage from shifting foundations or settling.

As a result, many colonial homes built before the 1970s remain standing today, serving as testaments to the enduring quality of their construction.

Design Elements and Features

Colonial exteriors before the 1970s were characterized by a distinct set of design elements and features that contributed to their overall aesthetic and functionality. These elements, rooted in traditional architectural styles, harmoniously blended to create homes that exuded charm, elegance, and a sense of history.

The symmetry and balance of colonial exteriors were achieved through the use of identical windows, doors, and other architectural details on both sides of the facade. This symmetry created a sense of order and stability, visually anchoring the home and enhancing its curb appeal.


Windows played a crucial role in the design of colonial exteriors. Typically, they were double-hung sash windows with multiple panes, providing ample natural light and ventilation. The windows were often adorned with decorative trim, such as shutters, pediments, or crown molding, adding visual interest and character to the facade.


The front door was a focal point of colonial exteriors, often featuring an elaborate surround with sidelights and a transom window above. The door itself was typically made of solid wood, with raised panels or other decorative details. The door’s hardware, such as the hinges and doorknobs, was often made of wrought iron or brass, adding a touch of elegance and durability.

Porches and Verandas

Porches and verandas were common features of colonial exteriors, providing sheltered outdoor spaces for relaxation and entertaining. Porches were typically supported by columns or pillars, while verandas were enclosed with railings or balustrades. These outdoor spaces extended the living area of the home and enhanced its connection to the surrounding landscape.


Colonial exteriors were typically topped with steeply pitched gable roofs, which provided ample attic space and allowed for efficient water drainage. The roofs were often clad in wood shingles or slate tiles, adding texture and visual interest to the facade.

Dormers, small windows projecting from the roof, were common features, providing additional light and ventilation to the attic.


Chimneys were essential elements of colonial exteriors, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. They provided a means for venting smoke from fireplaces and stoves, while also adding a touch of warmth and character to the facade. Chimneys were often made of brick or stone, and their design varied depending on the region and period.

Colonial Revival Architecture

The 1970s witnessed a resurgence of interest in colonial architecture, leading to the emergence of colonial revival architecture. This architectural style drew inspiration from the colonial period of American history, particularly the Georgian and Federal styles. The popularity of colonial revival architecture can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Nostalgia for the past
  • Desire for a sense of tradition and stability
  • Growing appreciation for historic preservation

Colonial revival exteriors typically feature symmetrical facades, with a central doorway flanked by windows on either side. The windows are often double-hung or casement windows, and the doorway is often topped by a pediment or entablature. The exterior walls are typically clad in clapboard or shingles, and the roof is often gabled or hipped.

In contrast to pre-1970s colonial exteriors, colonial revival exteriors often feature more elaborate detailing, such as decorative moldings, cornices, and pediments.

Modern Influences and Adaptations

Before and after 1970s colonial exterior remodel

In the 1970s, colonial exterior remodels embraced modern influences and adaptations, reflecting the changing tastes and lifestyles of homeowners. These modifications aimed to enhance functionality, comfort, and aesthetics while preserving the historical charm of colonial homes.Modern materials and construction techniques were introduced, such as vinyl siding, aluminum windows, and insulated roofing, which offered durability, energy efficiency, and reduced maintenance.

Open floor plans became popular, with larger windows and sliding doors creating a seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Exterior Finishes

Traditional clapboard siding was often replaced with vinyl siding, which offered a low-maintenance alternative with a wide range of colors and textures. Aluminum windows and doors provided better insulation and weather resistance, while also allowing for larger openings.


Asphalt shingles became the preferred roofing material due to their affordability, durability, and variety of styles. Insulated roofing underlayment improved energy efficiency and reduced heat loss.

Windows and Doors

Large windows and sliding glass doors were incorporated to maximize natural light and create a more open and airy feel. Double-glazed windows provided better insulation and reduced noise.

Advantages and Disadvantages, Before and after 1970s colonial exterior remodel

These modernizations offered several advantages, including:

  • Enhanced functionality and comfort
  • Reduced maintenance and energy costs
  • Increased natural light and a more open feel

However, there were also some disadvantages:

  • Potential loss of historical authenticity
  • Limited compatibility with traditional materials and techniques
  • Increased construction costs compared to traditional methods

Preservation and Restoration: Before And After 1970s Colonial Exterior Remodel

Before and after 1970s colonial exterior remodel

Preserving and restoring colonial exteriors is crucial for maintaining the historical and architectural heritage of these homes. It involves maintaining the original design, materials, and construction techniques to ensure the preservation of their historical integrity. Challenges include addressing deterioration, respecting historical accuracy, and balancing modern updates with traditional aesthetics.

Successful Preservation and Restoration Projects

The restoration of the Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts, exemplifies successful preservation efforts. The project meticulously restored the home’s exterior, including its clapboard siding, window frames, and trim, while preserving its original architectural details. Another notable example is the Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, where ongoing restoration work maintains the historical accuracy of George Washington’s iconic home.

These projects demonstrate the importance of preserving and restoring colonial exteriors to safeguard our architectural legacy.