Neocolonial Homes for 1950s-1960s America

01
of 07

Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia

Historic 1950s black and white photo of unlandscaped tract housing under construction.
A typical 1950 suburban development finishing construction. Photo © Lambert/Getty Images

The Post-War Housing Boom

After World War II and the Great Depression, the United States was ready for a growth spurt. Between 1947 and 1959 family income rose nearly 80 percent, from $3,000 to $5,400 per year. The American dream was affordable and achievable—a car, a family, and home ownership. Popular house styles, like the Neocolonials in this series, were a mix of old traditions and modernity.

The Neos

Most historic styles can be reinvented into new, or "Neo," home designs. According to McAlester's Field Guide to American Houses, Neocolonials are a type of neoeclectic house style. The plans in this picture gallery are for houses larger than Minimal-Traditionals, Ranches, and Cape Cods, but somewhat smaller than the Neocolonial, Neo-Colonial, or Builder's Colonial houses built at the end of the 1960s and beyond.

As you look through these plans, consider that the neocolonial house—once the new kid on the block—may now be worthy of preservation and historic restoration.

Neocolonial Floor Plans From the 1950s and 1960s

  • Harmony
  • Angora
  • Spacious Charm
  • Club House
  • "Modern Expance"
  • "Camalot"

Learn More:
Guide to Mid-Century Homes, 1930 - 1965 >>>
Where do people live in the U.S.? >>>

Sources:

  • "Income of Families and Persons in the United States: 1969," Current Population Reports: Consumer Income, Bureau of the Census, Series P-60, No. 35, January 5, 1961, p. 1. PDF online. [accessed May 2, 2012].
  • Martin, Sara K. et al. Post-World War II Residential Architecture in Maine: A Guide for Surveyors. Maine Historic Preservation Commission, 2008–2009. PDF online [accessed May 2, 2012].
  • McAlester, Virginia and Lee. Field Guide to American Houses. New York. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1984.
02
of 07

Cape Cod Three-Bedroom Colonial

1950s floor plan and rendering of neo-colonial Cape Cod house called Harmony
1950s floor plan and rendering of neocolonial Cape Cod house called "Harmony". Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

The "Harmony" House Plan

At first glance, this house appears to be a typical Cape Cod home with a steeply pitched roof and center chimney. Details, however, make this a "modern adaptation of early American design," according to advertising brochures.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by the Cape Cod colonial style, but without rigid adoption (for example, asymmetric, irregularly-shaped windows on the first floor facade; a "neo" side porch)
  • Side gabled roof
  • Two stories with dormers
  • Multiple exterior sidings
  • Lack of decorative shutters, although expected on a Cape Cod style
  • Modern features, such as the "glass block partition between the living and dining rooms"

See Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia for an introduction to these mid-century home designs.

03
of 07

Warm and Fuzzy

1950s floor plan and rendering of two story, neo-colonial mix of styles called Angora
1950s floor plan and rendering of two story, neocolonial mix of styles called "Angora". Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

The "Angora" House Plan

Sweaters made of angora or mohair were new, popular, affordably luxurious, and very "now" in the mid-twentieth century. The cozy, affordable "Angora" house imitates the Georgian Colonial and the Georgian Colonial Revival house styles.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by a colonial style, but without rigid adoption
  • Side gabled roof
  • Two stories
  • Different exterior siding delineating first floor from second floor
  • Decorative shutters
  • Modern features, such as the garage and a variety of window styles. The window in the stairway is a smaller version of the design found in the "Modern Expance" floor plan.

See Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia for an introduction to these mid-century home designs.

04
of 07

Two-Story Whitewashed Brick

1950s floor plan and rendering of neo-colonial Foursquare-type house has no central dormer
The "Spacious Charm" of this neocolonial reminds us of a foursquare-type house with European inspirations. Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

The "Spacious Charm" House Plan

This house looks like a large, whitewashed brick post-Victorian Foursquare style home. The hip roof and ornamental porch columns, however, give it a French-inspired look. The living area is just over a thousand square feet—not too spacious, but with lots of charm.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by various colonial styles, but without rigid adoption (for example, glass block windows appear to be in the first floor front closet)
  • Two stories
  • Exterior delineation of first floor from second floor
  • Decorative shutters
  • Modern features, such as a kitchen that will "reduce preparation hours" (it must be magic)

Why is this a Vernacular house?

Although realtors tend to label every house of mixed style a "neocolonial," a better word may be vernacular. "Vernacular houses are those that are either so simple they lack enough detail to fit an architectural style, or that combine elements from so many styles the resulting house can't be categorized."*

*Source: Martin, Sara K. et al. Post-World War II Residential Architecture in Maine: A Guide for Surveyors. Maine Historic Preservation Commission, 2008–2009, p. 34. PDF online [accessed May 2, 2012].

Compare This Home With Others:

 

05
of 07

Neocolonial Three-Bedroom Garrison

1950s floor plan and rendering of two story, neo-colonial Garrison style called Club House
1950s floor plan and rendering of two story, neocolonial Garrison style called "Club House". Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

Plans for a "Club House"

The Garrison colonial, where the second story hangs over the first story level, was popular in colonial New England. This three-bedroom neo or new colonial style "affords the most living area for the building dollar," according to advertisements for the plan.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by Garrison colonial style, but without rigid adoption
  • Side gabled roof
  • Two stories
  • Different exterior siding delineating first floor from second floor
  • Decorative shutters
  • Modern features, such as a variety of window designs, including a front bay

See Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia for an introduction to these mid-century home designs.

06
of 07

Very Freely Adapted Neo-Neocolonial

A two story, neo-colonial Foursquare style, but without the typical center dormer.
"Modern Expance" is basically a two story, Foursquare style - more vernacular than neocolonial. Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

The "Modern Expance" House Plan

The exterior is similar to the French-inspired Spacious Charm home in this series. The floor plan, however, is more similar to the Club House. Further, the positioning of the living room across the back of the house, with a rear porch and deck, is characteristic of the Tranquility Ranch House Plan of the same era.

Perhaps the misspelling of expanse in the plan's name is testament to the designer's defiance of any one house style.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by various colonial and neocolonial styles, but without rigid adoption
  • Two stories
  • Exterior delineation of the first floor from second floor
  • Modern features, such as window varieties, and a large exterior chimney

Neocolonial or Modernist?

The expansive corner window and the tall window in the stairway is said to add a modern "studio effect" to this 1950s era house. However you will find similar window designs on historic buildings such as Thomas Jefferson's Academical Village. Like most neoeclectic homes of the 20th century, the "Expance" reinterprets ideas that have stood the test of time.

*Source: Martin, Sara K. et al. Post-World War II Residential Architecture in Maine: A Guide for Surveyors. Maine Historic Preservation Commission, 2008–2009, p. 34. PDF online [accessed May 2, 2012].

See Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia for an introduction to these mid-century home designs.

07
of 07

Economical and Fit for a King

1950s floor plan and rendering of neo-colonial Cape Cod house
1950s floor plan and rendering of neocolonial Cape Cod house called "Camalot". Photo © Buyenlarge/Getty Images. Select the image to view full size in a new window.

The "Camalot" House Plan

Camalot is a brand of rock climbing equipment, so we presume the intended name of this floor plan to be Camelot, the legendary home of King Arthur. Compare this Cape Cod inspired design with the larger, three-bedroom Harmony plan in this series.

Why is this a Neocolonial style?

  • Inspired by Cape Cod colonial style, but without rigid adoption
  • Side gabled roof with an additional front gable
  • One-and-a-half stories with an unusual single dormer
  • Decorative shutters
  • Modern features, such as an attached garage

See Neoeclectic Homes in Suburbia for an introduction to these mid-century home designs.