Dating buildings using window style

But knowing some of the distinguishing details, and a little of their history, can deepen one’s appreciation of the unique personality of each town or city one visits.

Here, then, is a guide to five common New England house styles dating from 1630 to 1900.

The windows themselves are double-hung, typically with nine to 12 panes per sash.

Decoration is restrained and focuses on the doorway.

For quick identification, look at the arrangement of glass below the crown of the front doorway: if there is a row of small rectangular windows, the house is almost certainly Georgian; if there’s an elliptical or semicircular fanlight, it’s probably Federal.

On closer inspection, the entire facade is more “glassy.” Vertical sidelights often flank the entrance, making the doorway larger.

The lower-story windows appear directly below the uppers with the doorway in the center, making the facade exactly symmetrical.

Georgian houses are best identified by the orderly plan of their windows and doors.

The window placement on the front facade is absolutely regular.

In the high Georgian style, a row of square-toothed dentil molding typically parades along the cornice under the overhanging roof eave.

Georgian houses are like British regimental officers.

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