With a wide variety of home styles to choose from, architecture from the classical era is one style to look out for. These homes are patterned after building styles from Greek and Roman architecture, and they come with the same elegance and classic look as some of the world’s most famous buildings. If you are looking for a unique home style, consider modeling your home after the classical revival style and incorporating some of the style’s interesting attributes. Tall columns, unique decorative pieces, and wide front porches will surely add the charm you are searching for in a home.

What is the history behind the classical revival style?

1790-1950

An early period of classical revival building began in the late eighteenth century, starting with homes being built mostly in the south modeled after Greek architecture. Many of the columns during this earlier period were square instead of the more modernly common cylindrical columns. Homes were also larger as many of the homes in this style served as large extended family homes or plantations housing many people.The later period of classical revival style homes began around the end of the nineteenth century and featured a combination of Greek and Roman inspired architectural types. More round columns were seen during this time period. The houses built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries featuring the neoclassical style were also smaller than the houses were in past centuries.

What are the characteristics of the Classical Revival style homes?

Columns

Columns are a popular defining characteristic of homes built in this style. Large columns adorning either side of the front porch are commonplace. Some homes can have as many as 6-8 tall columns on the front, stretching the height of the home. They are often white in color and made of iron, steel, and concrete. Most columns are cylindrical in shape, but some styles mimicking Greek architecture have been known to use square edged columns. Though columns can sometimes be viewed as outdated, a little creative placement and fresh paint colors can make all the difference in terms of adding some modern edge to this classic style.

Intricate Design

Decorative pieces are extremely common in the classical revival architecture. Accessories like doorknobs, porch lights, columns, and the like were never plain and always adorned with period appropriate designs. Brass and iron were used liberally in the accessories especially for a classic look. The entire architecture was devoid of any plainness or simplicity, opting instead for the elaborate and deliberate in all areas of the home to give the entire house a feeling a completion and attention to detail.

Side-gabled Roof

The roofs of neoclassical homes are fashioned after ancient buildings from Greek and Rome. Their roofing structures are almost always side-gabled, which means that the roof peaks into a triangular shape on the sides, usually featuring a window in the center. This gabled structure serves several purposes as it allows run off of rain and debris from the roof itself, and it adds some aesthetic interest to the roof, a feature that is usually a flat and boring part of home design.

How is the Classical Revival style different from other home styles?

Rarity

Unlike many home styles, homes modeled after the classical revival look are somewhat rare comparatively. Most buildings modeled after this era of architecture were not residential dwellings, but instead were banks, churches, and government buildings. This rarity of residential classical revival styled homes does make some sense because homes at the time of the revival were built in a much different style than official buildings were, with little overlap in architectural choices between the two. Not until the more recent half-century have residential homes been the more frequent buildings designed in the neoclassical style.

Intricacy and Purposefulness

As mentioned previously, small and often very intricate designs played a huge role in this home style. Instead of plain roof molding often seen on homes, roof molding and edging were carved into patterns to add visual interest. Design was even added to door frames and archways, leaving an air of upscale planning surrounding the entire building. The homes were almost always built using brick, which was sometimes left as exposed red brick and sometimes painted white to match the bold white columns at the front. In stark contrast to the sleek design of many modern homes, the neoclassical style centers on sharp edges and bold accessories, making it a fun choice for home owners looking to mix older architecture with newer interiors.

What are some examples of this classical style?

The McCallister Home

One well recognized example of this style of home can be found in the Home Alone movies from the 1990’s. The McCallister family home is built in the classical revival style, and it incorporates many aspects of the period. The home has long rectangular windows, a slanted roof, and columns surrounding a generous front porch. The style is grand and welcoming at the same time, which is an important point when dealing with a building that is meant to be lived in as opposed to a commercial building.

The Tara Plantation

The movie Gone With the Wind perfectly demonstrated the beginning of the era of grand architecture that is similarly employed in classical revival homes. The home used in the movie was replicated and is located in the historical section of New Orleans, Louisiana. Built to be an exact copy of the infamous Tara plantation, the New Orleans home boasts the same white and far reaching columns as many homes of its time. It is a large home with big white bricks and green shutters on the windows. It was built in the 1940’s and is a popular historical tourist spot.

The classical revival style is gaining in popularity for a reason. Its grand columns and wrap-around porches are appealing to many home buyers because of their charm and timeless appearance. Homeowners who desire a home with a stately and nostalgic appearance are opting for many features belonging to this style as they search for real estate. If you lean away from modern design and architectural trends, consider the neoclassical revival style as an always welcome alternative. Classical revival style homes have something to offer all tastes and consumers because of their attention to detail and far-reaching historical significance.

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