Rate this item
(0 votes)

Features Include:

  • Low-pitched roof, or flat roof with a balustrade
  • Symmetrical 6-over-6 double-hung windows, w/shutters, arranged around a center paneled door with elaborate surround (pediment, pilasters, sidelights, and fanlight)
  • Semicircular fanlight over the front door
  • Narrow side windows flanking the front door
  • Tooth-like dentil moldings in the cornice
  • Palladian window
  • Circular or elliptical windows
  • Decorative swags and garlands
  • Oval rooms and arches

Bloomfield_CT.jpgDeerfield_MA_Daniel.jpgFederal-6.jpgHamden_CT.jpgHeritage Hills.jpgHeritage_Hills_vonMaur.jpgHH-132_Lafayette_NE.JPGKalamazoo MI.JPGMiddletown_CT.jpgNantucket_MA-1.jpgNantucket_MA-2.jpgNorwich_CT.jpgSouth Woodstock_VT-1.jpgSouth Woodstock_VT-2.JPGSouth Woodstock_VT-3.jpgZeeland_MI.jpg


Like much of America's architecture, the Federal (or Federalist) style has its roots in the British Isles. Three Scottish brothers named Adam adapted the pragmatic Georgian style, adding swags, garlands, urns, and Neoclassical details. In the newly formed United States, homes and public buildings also took on graceful airs. Inspired by the work of the Adam brothers and also by the great temples of ancient Greece and Rome, Americans began to build homes with Palladian windows, circular or elliptical windows, recessed wall arches, and oval-shaped rooms. This new Federal style became associated with America's evolving national identity.

It's easy to confuse Federalist architecture with the earlier Georgian Colonial style. The difference is in the details: While Georgian homes are square and angular; a Federal style building is more likely to have curved lines and decorative flourishes. The White House in Washington DC began as a Georgian, and later took on a Federalist flavor as architects added an elliptical portico and other Neoclassical embellishments.

Federalist architecture was the favored style in the United States from about 1780 until the 1830s. However, Federalist details are often incorporated into modern American homes. Look past the vinyl siding, and you may see a fanlight or the elegant arch of a Palladian window. This was the first style of the newly formed United States, and it had a place in nearly every part of the country—particularly in bustling urban areas like Salem, Massachusetts.


McAlester, Virginia and Lee. A Field Guide To American Houses. New York, Alfred A. Knopf: 1984.
“House Styles, Picture Dictionary of Houses in North America and Beyond” About .com. Mar 1 2013 <>
Architectural Style Wikipedia. Mar 1 2013. <>


Last modified on Friday, 29 March 2013 18:15
Mark Smith

Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and my design company is located in Stevensville, Michigan where I reside with my wife and two children. 


Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Mark Smith and I reside in Stevensville, Michigan my wife and two children. I have been interested in Architecture since my boyhood days; however, because of my families business—a lumberyard—I never really got a chance to pursue my dream until later in my career. Read more...


Who's Online

We have 144 guests and no members online