Select Page

Dutch Colonial Style


Dutch Colonial Style Overview

Dutch Colonial homes have been capturing the imagination of American communities for nearly four hundred years. The gambrel roof is a central characteristic of the home and is still seen in many styles today. A gambrel roof is a roof with more than one pitch which gives it a barnlike appearance. This also tends to open up more living space under the roof at a more economical cost.



  • Dutch Colonial: 1625-1840; New England area
  • Dutch Colonial Revival: 1890-1940



Most Colonial homes favored symmetrical designs with rectangular shapes. Dutch Colonials were no different, although revival versions tended to show some asymmetry, but still maintained balance. Dutch Colonial homes are typically one and one-half to two stories in stature. Additions to these homes are often built on the ends creating long linear layouts.


Front Door

Not surprisingly, Dutch doors accompanied the Dutch Colonial style. Dutch doors featured a top and bottom portion which could be opened independently. The idea was to be able to welcome in fresh air and sunlight by opening the top portion, while keeping out the critters and livestock by shutting the bottom portion.

Not all Dutch Colonial homes utilized Dutch doors, and paneled doors were also common. In either case, the door was often situated in the middle of the front façade, especially in the earlier renditions.



Dutch Colonial homes feature porches formed by the overhanging eves of the roofline. Variations include small porticos as well as renditions running the full width of the house.



Attributes of windows on Dutch Colonials tended to be the double-hung variety, but no standard typified the style. On the gable ends of the home, windows are more decorated and can also be circular.



Siding evolved based on geographic location as well as time period. Stone and brick walls were common in Dutch Colonial architecture, although examples of wood clapboard and shingle finishes also abound.


Roof & Dormer

By far, the most prominent identifying characteristic of a Dutch Colonial home is the gambrel roof, resulting in a distinctive barnlike appearance. Many versions also include flared eves, an effect whose curvature enhances visual interest. Dutch Colonial homes employ the frequent use of dormers, which can take on numerous varieties such as a traditional gable style, shed style, or hipped style.



Dutch Colonial homes are not highly ornamented but do often include a chimney in the gable end of the home. In some cases chimneys are paired on both ends of the home.



Dutch Colonial interiors typify the simplicity of their era with a central hall plan and a customary depth of one room.


Return to the sub-menu for Understanding Architectural Styles.