During the late 1800's and 1900's, Americans were looking back to America's earlier styles, and building copies of the originals, with updates for more modern tastes and materials. The Dutch Colonial Revival style mimicked 1600's and 1700's Colonial homes with gambrel roofs (popularly called Dutch Colonial; but the gambrel roofed homes were built by English and other immigrants as well as the Dutch).
Victorian house design books of the 1870's and 1880's, such as Supplement to Bicknell's Village Builder, Containing Eighteen Modern Designs for Country and Suburban Houses of Moderate Cost, With Elevations, Plans, Sections., A.J. Bicknell & Co., Architectural Book Publishers, New York, 1871 and Palliser's New Cottage Homes and Details, Palliser, Palliser & Co., New York, 1887, offered designs with gambrel roofs. However, the designs are so rich with bay windows and brackets, fish scale shingles, verge-boards, etc., that it is hard to classify them with the later clean and little ornamented designs featured in the early 1900's.
The first examples of the more simple Dutch Colonial Revival style that I have seen were in photographs printed in Aymar Embury II, One Hundred Country Houses: Modern American Examples , The Century Company, New York, 1909 and in Chas. Edward Hooper, The Country House, 1904. Later, Frederick H. Gowing offered several plans for smaller Dutch Colonial homes in his 1925 work Building Plans for Colonial Dwellings, Bungalows, Cottages, and Other Medium Cost Homes . Many other books and sources offered plans in the style.
Most Dutch Colonial Revival homes were built of wood, brick, or stone (or, occasionally a combination), with a shingle gambrel roof. I usually see grey shingle in examples around Historic Chatham, Virginia, but I do not know if that is a local custom or not. The size of the homes varied a great deal, from small two-story structures of 1400 square feet to large examples with three stories.
The photograph seen at the top of the page is reprinted from Aymar Embury II, One Hundred Country Houses: Modern American Examples, The Century Company, New York, 1909. It is a cottage then belonging to a Mr. Henry S. Orr, Garden City, Long Island, New York and designed by Aymar Embury II, Architect (I do not know if the house is still standing). Note the interesting elements of eyebrow dormer windows on the front (third story) and the open wheel windows on the end (also third story).
Editor's Note: Considering the size and functionality of these homes, such as the one pictured above, there would be plenty of living space for a moderately sized family while providing more than adequate storage in areas such as the attic and the basement. Now, in the 21st century, with many homes providing much less storage space, more and more often families are resorting to renting pod storage containers or renting a storage locker at a local pod storage facility.
Copyright © 2003, 2013 Sarah E. Mitchell