A style of home that was built as the new face of American homes, was the Federal-style Houses. This took shape based on practicality and symmetry and minimalism in aesthetics. Today, we have been taken back by its simplicity to recreate it in our sense, giving it a new face, thus evolving the Federal Style House into a new era.

What Makes a Federal Style House? 

What Makes a Federal Style House

Federal Style House is a style that is closer in its aesthetics to the colonial houses. These houses are usually seen in areas such as Washington. D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, etc. It is characterized by the flat facade that holds ornamentation in symmetry with the essence of these cities. 

The detailing on the facade consists mainly of the brickwork from the structure and the hung windows that are arranged in a series of openings on the facade. It also borrows its key features from Georgian architecture which also uses a flat facade made out of brick. Simple in its nature the Federal Style House is an amalgamation of different styles that have evolved due to need. 

History of Federal Architecture

History of Federal Architecture

The history of Federal architecture dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries with strong ties to American history. It emerged close to when the war had passed in America and people were rebuilding their houses and communities. 

A Federal Style House was mostly seen during the post-war American streets that were developing and evolving from its ruins. Its rich existence can be witnessed in abundance in the streets of cities like Salem, Philadelphia, Massachusetts, etc. These were also a result of looking into designing a well efficient home that was practically meeting the needs of its users. 

With a rich past close to one of America’s important history snippets, this style has now grown into an aesthetic people want to make their own. Adding touches of modernity to it, a Federal Style House brings the nostalgic sense of old America to this new world. 

Features of Federal Style Home

Features of Federal Style Home

Even though the facade of a Federal Style House might seem simple, particular elements in its architecture make it one of a kind. These features include:

  1. The intricately laid-out brickwork elevates the flat facade with details.
  2. Simplicity can be seen in the lintel masonry.
  3. There is a sense of symmetry that is followed in the entire design that also seems to work out into rectangles.
  4. Ornate elements are also added to the facade accentuating its aesthetics.
  5. The door is centrally placed with windows that spread out on either side.
  6. The structure spans a height of 2 to 3 stories with Greek and Roman-inspired carvings.
  7. The interiors spread out with the main center hall, unlike other houses.
  8. Grand Staircases are also a part of the interior design.

Examples of Federal Houses

Examples of Federal Houses

When personal preferences come into the picture while designing houses, the styles each one of us goes for differ. With the authentic style being of a particular type, adding onto the same using modern aspects and techniques brings in the difference in style and evolution of the Federal Style House. Keeping the core element of simplicity the modern additions feature decorative elements and a pop of color. 

10 Examples of  Federal-Style Home Design

1. A Classic Black & White House

A Classic Black & White House

Sticking to the traditionality of the Federal house this color palette and the layout of the house in itself creates a sense of nostalgia for the time it was prevalent. Contrasting the white facade of the house are the black doors and the dark roofing tiles that help in accentuating the house as well as the surroundings. It also features intricate details which are minimalistic all at once.

2. Earthy and Muted 

Earthy and Muted  federal architecture

Drifting slightly from the classic of white and black is this Federal colonial-style house that features a green pop of color with the window shutters and a muted palette of browns and beige. It also has a facade feature where the door is shifted to the side with the windows spread out in the rest of the space. This disrupts the symmetry bringing a fresh outlook to the design.

3. Symmetrical with a Twist

Symmetrical with a Twist federal architecture

The addition of newer elements to the design of a Federalist house brings about a unique perspective to the design, which is the case here as well. With the addition of a feature wall-like element of the chimney on the side, the monotony of the facade is broken. This features classic elements of Federal Style House with the addition of a pop of color with the chimney.

4. The Union of Wood and Stone

 The Union of Wood and Stone federal architecture

Exploring the material varieties that can be included, this Federal-style home features a facade predominantly made out of stone textures. It also combines wood as well as textures for the roof and intricate detail in the front facade. The stone textures bring in a needed pop of surface which differentiates the different areas inside the house itself. Accenting blue window shutters are also given to complement the roofing as well as the combination of materials.

5. The Brick Red Facade

The Brick Red Facade federal architecture

With the texture and color of the bricks used, the facade of this Federal house style brings back another classic. The facade also explores other colors such as gray for the window shutter and white for accentuating the facade features. The combination of these colors highlights the characteristics of the Federal house without changing much of its features.

6. Reimagined Classic

Reimagined Classic federal architecture

The classic facade of bricks is explored here with slight variations in design. Unlike the standard Federal architecture that follows a flat facade, this design adds in levels with the middle portion of the facade standing out compared to the rest. Other facade detailing around the middle and the top story of the house, elevate this design to bring in a new perspective. 

7. Heightened Detailing

Heightened Detailing federal house

Details found on a Federal colonial-style house are usually minimal and this feature is explored in-depth in this facade design. This type of Federal Style House takes in the minimalism in decorative elements and adds it to the entrance of the house in an elaborate manner. With every other element being plain and simple, this addition accentuates the house rather than overpowering it.

8. Peppy with a Red Door

Peppy with a Red Door federal house

Adding color to the facade elevates the whole design which can be the case when you introduce a pop of striking color with a bright red front door. The red on the door is lightly taken to the facade walls as well with a decorative feature that is adorned on top of the door. This Federalist house also features a contrasting window shutter that balances out the shades of red. 

9. Bright and Summer with Yellow

Bright and Summer with Yellow federal house

Bringing a sense of character to the Federal-style home the facade here is painted yellow. The use of brick as the main element is also taken out to be replaced with wooden planks arranged horizontally. It still follows the core features of a Federal-style home by keeping the facade plain and simple whilst having a centrally placed entrance and symmetrically placed windows. 

10. Green with the Classic

Green with the Classic federal house

The pop of color given to the Federal house style here is green keeping the rest of the features intact. It features a symmetrical arrangement indoors and windows alike. The addition made here other than the color is the number of entrances and the shape of the windows. The contrasting white frames of the windows and facade bring out the texture of the brick as well as the decorative elements. 

The essence of a Federal Style House is mainly created with its simplicity that can be added to or subtracted from as your please. Keeping the symmetry of the design you can explore different ways of arrangement of individual elements of design. This way you will be able to go through your process to find the right one suitable for your taste.

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federal colonial-style house
federal colonial-style house
federal colonial-style house
federal colonial-style house
federal colonial-style house
federalist house
federalist house
federalist house
federalist house


1. How Is a Federal Style House Simple in Its Design?

A Federal Style House is simple in its design as the facade features brick as the main material with a detailing adorning a corner. It has symmetry in the facade as well.

2. Who Are Some of the Influential Architects of Federal Architecture?

Some of the well-known architects who belong to the Federal period are Thoman Jefferson, Charles Bulfinch, Samuel Lewis, Robert Mills, etc.

3. What Are Some Cons of Having or Designing a Federal Style House?

Cons when it comes to Federal house style are that maintaining the historic aspect of the home might get tedious and time-consuming. This is especially the case if you plan to take over a pre-existing home and restore it.

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