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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Early Colonial American Period

Early Colonial American-1620-1790

The Early Colonial American style originated around 1620 and endured until the 1790's. With the settling of Jamestown, Virginia (1607), and Plymouth Massachusetts (1620), these settlers sought to create reminders of the homes and comforts that they had left behind. Because this "New World" hadn't been settled, there was no established trade, limited tools, and very little skilled craftsmen, styles became inventive and original. The peasant looking homes eventually developed into the saltbox shapes which came to be known as the Cape Cod house.
The interiors of this period showed how the settler’s attention was first centered on survival not on the decoration of their living spaces. As they became more prosperous and secure in their environment, trade was established and the class structure settled in, the homes then reflected each occupants situation. A plan for instituting this period's style in your home would be to keep the lines of your furniture very angular and simple, some of the furniture of this period had folk painting but most furniture was very plain. Wall color was not often used as pigment was very costly at this time so most homes were without paint and only a coat of whitewash was applied to the walls. The windows were usually deep set and if they had glass, it was thick and really not very good at reflecting light into the interior of the room. Textiles were also simple and made of flax which was sometimes embroidered with images of animals or flowers. Flooring was wood with rugs rarely used to trod on, instead they often were displayed on tables as a valuable and prized possession. For resources for your Early American interior or for Historic House Museums of this period please go to
The American Historic Interior is a blog site that is devoted to all things relating to the American Historic Interior from 1680-1930. I hope that all of the postings will be informative and help you in your search for information about YOUR historic interior. I will be posting one a month starting with the Early American Colonial period which was roughly from 1680-1710. Please visit again to read about the interiors from this period as well as suggestions on recreating this period of interior in your home.