Colonial style house plans are inspired by the practical homes built by early settlers in the American colonies and elsewhere, which were based on Dutch, English, French, and Spanish precedents. Colonial style home plans generally feature a welcoming center stair hall with living room on one side, dining room on the other, and kitchen and private rooms at the rear. These practical, family-friendly plans make entertaining a special pleasure. Typical Colonial style
features include classical exterior styling centered on a columned entrance portico, sidelights
and fanlights, and multi-pane double-hung windows with shutters. Exteriors are generally wood or brick. George Washington's Mt. Vernon is the most famous example of an original Colonial house, though it also represents the Plantation style of building.
Many variations on colonial style developed in the American colonies in the 1600s and 1700s and most used classical ornamentation in some way. In the late 19th century, archeological studies and influential architects like McKim Mead & White of New York helped revive interest in colonial buildings, thereby prompting the aptly-named Colonial Revival style. Key references include William H. Pierson's The Colonial and Neoclassical Styles (Doubleday) and Marcus Whiffen's American Architecture Since 1780 (MIT Press).