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Federal Style Homes

Federal Style Homes

The federal architecture was at its peak between 1785 and 1815, which is when several federal style homes surfaced along the eastern coast of the United States.
Abhijit Naik
The federal style architecture, sometimes referred to as the federalist architecture, has been closely associated with the American identity. This style derived its name from the Federal Era, i.e., the period in which it was introduced. Some of the most famous architects who embraced this style were Charles Bulfinch, Asher Benjamin, Robert Mills, Samuel McIntyre, and Alexander Perris.

Historic Federal Style Homes

The design of these structures is based on the English neo-classic design, which is a variation of the Gregorian architecture of the 18th century. Architecture of this style is predominantly noticed in the eastern United States, especially the coastal areas, wherein several houses were constructed during the post-revolutionary war period. Most of these were built by the affluent families of this era.

Early trade and manufacturing sector boom in this region brought in enormous amount of wealth, which was, in turn, channelized towards the construction of these homes, as they were considered status symbols during that period. Interestingly enough, these homes weren't subject to the onslaught of the modern construction, and still continue to stand tall in various parts of the United States, including Massachusetts, Maine, Annapolis, Maryland, and Georgia.


The American eagle motifs and the Palladian windows were the predominant traits of the federal style homes in the United States. They were typically characterized by oval rooms and windows, which were arranged symmetrically around the center doorway. These homes generally sported low-pitched roofs, which were oval in shape, and a decorative crown located right above the front door. Their roofs were either hipped, central, or side-gabled. The roofs with hipped pattern had slopes on all the four sides, while the side-gabled roof featured a straight slope from the ridge to the eave. These homes always featured doors and windows arranged in a symmetrical manner. The front door had narrow side windows, equal in number, flanking it on both sides. Some of these homes did feature round or elliptical windows.

The sidelights were optional, but the fanlight was mandatory. The fanlight, which was normally semicircular or elliptical in shape, ensured that ample amount of sunlight entered the house during the day. All these characteristics of the federalist homes may make one feel that the federalist architecture is same as the Gregorian architecture, but that's not the case. These houses are different from the Gregorian colonial homes in several aspects, including the wings projecting on the sides which the Gregorian homes lacked. Decorative swags, garlands, and the federal style furniture were also the common attributes of these homes.

Standing tall in the various regions of the United States today, these homes have something which makes them stand out in the crowd of gigantic concrete structures. The fact that these homes are associated with the rich history of this region, makes people crave for them, and it would be quite surprising to come across someone who wouldn't like to have one of these for himself.