Federalist Homes

Georgian Architecture was popular in the English colonies of the time. In the American colonies, colonial Georgian blended with the neo-Palladian style to become known more broadly as ‘Federal style architecture’. Georgian buildings were also constructed of wood with clapboards; even columns were made of timber, framed up and turned on an over-sized lathe.     

     Federal-style architecture is the name for the classical architecture built in the United States between c. 1780 and 1830. In the early Republic, the founding generation consciously chose to associate the nation with the ancient democracies of Greece and the republican values of Rome.

     American federal architecture was most influenced by the Ancient Roman architecture fashionable after the unearthing of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Bald Eagle was a common symbol used in this style.  Homes had balanced proportions and light-filled rooms. Fireplace openings were reduced in size with flanking columns or pilasters. Side-lights around doorways and fan-lights provided light to halls.

     Wood-paneled rooms gave way to walls hung with textiles and wallpapers. Much Federal furniture is in the manner of was based on Hellpewhite and Thomas Sheraton but American designers also began to look to France for styles. The most familiar furniture made in the Federal style is that produced by Duncan Phyfe in New York.

Tomorrow, American Forts   Rita Bay

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