The federal architectural style was not a new architecture style when it was first introduced in America, but more of an Americanized style of the popular Adam style from Europe. The name “federal” was used for this style because of the time period when it was used the most here in America. This specific style of house is easily spotted and is found mostly on the East Coast where the birth of our nation took place. It is a style that is rarely seen in the Midwest or the West Coast.
The Time Period for Federal Architecture
It was when America was still in its infant stage of being a new country (1780 – 1820) that the federal architecture style was the most popular. This is why it carries the “federal” name with it.
Like most of the new architecture that was introduced in America when it first started, its basic style was borrowed from what was learned by builders and architects when they were in Europe. The federal style is based from the Adam style of architecture that was created by the Adams brothers in Europe, who in turn based their architecture style on the original architecture styles of the Greeks and Romans.
How Can You Identify the Federal Style?
The federal architectural style is very easy to identify. The main part of the home is in almost a perfect rectangle and the arrangement of the doors and windows are symmetrical. There are usually additions to the house to add on to the living space or for a garage, but the main part of the house is very distinctive.
Also common on this style of home is the clapboard siding and window shutters. If there are any embellishments, it is usually in the form of a projecting gable that is centered to the entry of the home.
The Windows and Doors of Federal Style
It is common to find windows accompanying the front door of a home built in the federal style. These windows can be found flanking both sides of the door or as a semicircle addition on the top of the door itself.
The windows in these types of homes are usually in a very specific pattern and style. Generally there are two windows on each side of the front door and then five windows on the 2nd story of the home. The windows are most commonly double-hung windows with six panes in each sash.
Homeowners have been known to add other types of windows to enhance the look of their federal style home, but the 6-paned, double-hung windows are the most common ones used.