Federal Colonial Style Windows

Federal Colonial Style Windows

Federal Colonial style homes came into being around the end of the Revolutionary War. If this is a home style that you love and have decided to model your new home on, then choosing an authentic window style is essential. Whether you're looking into new construction or replacement windows, we're here to help you make the right choice for your Federal Colonial style home. 

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What is Federal Colonial Style?

After the Revolutionary War, from about 1780, the Federal style of colonial homes found their way into American upper-class residences. It was first produced in England, Russia, and Scotland by the Adam brothers, which is why this style can often be referred to as the "Adamesque↗" or "Style of the brothers Adam." With an educational background in Greco-Roman studies, Robert Adam pioneered Federal Colonial furniture and architectural styles. He incorporated classical elements influenced by Roman, Greek, Byzantine, and Baroque forms. 

Colonial style homes have many influences (Georgian, Dutch, or Greco-Roman), but they all follow a particular blueprint. This home-style from the 1700s is known for its box-like shape and perfect symmetry. From the street view, symmetrical windows surround the front entrance. 

The Federal Colonial style differs from other Colonial types with the following features: 

  • Two or three rooms deep
  • The main building is a box shape, sometimes having an additional wing to the left or the right.
  • Two to four chimneys, usually placed on either side of the roof
  • Embellished projecting gables above the front entrance, and sometimes the roofline
  • The use of columns, panels, pillars, tablets, or friezes
  • Clapboard siding, painted white or a brick exterior (materials dependant on location)
  • The use of decorative moldings
  • Semicircular or elliptical ornamentation above the door
  • Some homes will incorporate a widow's walk (a railed rooftop platform)
  • The use of geometrical shapes for ornamental purposes, oval, fan-shaped, or circular motifs framed by fluted radiating lines, is widespread. 

The Federal Colonial style homes were popular in port cities along the East Coast of the U.S.

Windows for Federal Colonial Style Houses

Federal Colonial style homes feature multiple vertical windows. Street view appearance shows symmetrical windows on either side of the door, with another above the door. Federal Colonial homes can sometimes feature a Palladian style window (pictured below), showcasing Renaissance influence. A Palladian window is a spectacular window style with a large, three-section window where the center window is arched and more extensive than the accompanying windows. Many modern window brands will create this look with specialty-shaped window options or the use of a hung window and a rounded shaped non-operable window above it.

Double or single hung windows, also known as sash windows, open vertically on a sliding mechanism. Colonial homes favor this style, completing the ornate look with colonial grille (grid) patterns. Modern replacement windows can make use of between-the-glass aluminum grids or removable interior grids for easy cleaning.

Small picture windows will sometimes embellish front doors, either on the side or above the doorframe. These small panes are stationary and offer additional lighting into the home. The Federal Colonial homes typically make use of fan-shaped windows for this space.  

Andersen Architectural Collection Windows

Andersen is the perfect partner for architecturally authentic windows and doors.



Featured Properties, The Modern and The Historical

Patrick Ahearn Architects created a modern interpretation of a Federal Colonial Style↗ home in the historic district of Edgartown, Massachusetts. This beautiful contemporary home displays the typical symmetry that is quintessential of Colonial-style homes. The embellishments are free of grotesque antiquity and instead exudes elegance within its use of Roman-inspired pillars and frieze above the main entrance. 

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Fort Hunter Mansion↗ is a historical↗ example of a Federal Colonial home, constructed in 1814. The grand entrance is typical of the Federal Colonial decorative embellishments

Federal Colonial Style Homes, The Bottom Line

While some effort is needed, staying true to architectural styles gives homeowners and architectural-enthusiasts a sense of pride. For architecturally authentic windows we recommend Andersen E-Series windows because they are highly customizable.


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