The rise in wealth from cotton in pre-Civil War America made it possible for grand homes to be built on abundant plantations throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic states. Many characteristics of Plantation style homes were derived from French Colonial architecture of the 18th and early 19th centuries. The defining element of a Plantation house plan is the expansive porch with balcony above, using stately Greek columns. Arched windows and French doors accessing the outdoor living spaces are also common features of Plantation house plans. The smooth exteriors are accented by tall French windows that let breezes and soft light filtered by wooden shutters into the home. Often seen surrounded by Spanish moss-draped oaks throughout the Gulf States, family-friendly Plantation homes bring a rich sense of regional history to country, suburban, and coastal neighborhoods.
Veranda-wrapped plantation houses remain a seductive image of home. Among the most evocative are Oak Alley Plantation on the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge (http://www.oakalleyplantation.com/ ); Shadows on the Teche (http://www.shadowsontheteche.org/) in New Iberia, Louisiana; and Oatlands (http://www.oatlands.org/ )near Leesburg, Virginia.