What is a Greek Revival Style Home?

What is a Greek Revival Style Home?

Anyone who has spent hours, if not months, looking online at old houses knows the splendor of Greek Revival homes. The Greek Revival movement was a popular style in the 1800s. You can find architectural elements in simple, elegant houses or grand, elaborate mansions.

Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the southern tip of the Balkans and is located at the crossroads of EuropeAsia, and Africa. Greece shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Sea of Crete and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean Basin, featuring thousands of islands. The country consists of nine traditional geographic regions and has a population of approximately 10.7 million. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki.

What is a Greek Revival Style Home?

The Greek Revival-style houses are reminiscent of buildings from ancient Greece and feature classical motifs and symmetry. The early 19th-century Americans popularized this style.

What makes a house Greek Revival special?

Many classical architectural flourishes are common in Greek Revival homes. Temples inspired mansions and some houses. They featured elaborate elements such as columns, pediments and porticoes. Most Greek Revival homes were simpler and more minimalist, with rectangular shapes and minimal ornamentation.

Exterior

  • Doric columns in marble or white-painted Doric columns
  • Pilasters
  • Low-pitched gabled roof
  • Porticoes and wide porches
  • Piazzas
  • Detailed friezes and cornices
  • To imitate marble, painted white exterior
  • Elegant front doors with small-paned sidelights
  • Rectangular transoms
  • Six-over-six double-hung sash windows

Interior

  • Plan for open rectangular floors
  • Tall doors and windows on the first floor
  • Detail plaster ceilings
  • White plaster walls
  • Hardwood floors

History of Greek Revival Houses

After an archeological expedition in Europe in the mid-17th century, the Greek Revival movement was born. However, it didn’t take root in America until 1820. It wasn’t originally intended to be used on houses but instead on public buildings. The Constitution was only 37 years old, and the new United States government wanted its buildings to reflect the ideals of democracy. Notable architects such as Benjamin Henry Latrobe (designer of the U.S. Capitol), and William Strickland (2nd Bank of the United States in Philadelphia), began using the classical rules of form and symmetry when building America’s “temples” of government. Nearly every new public building was built in the Greek Revival style between 1830 and 1850. This became known as the “National Style.”

The Greek Revival style quickly became a favorite architectural style for public buildings and houses throughout most of early 19th-century America. Each region added its unique flourishes to its design principles. The hot and humid south saw many Greek Revival plantation homes built with plenty of outdoor space via entrances and porches. To capture the classic spirit of the north, houses were simpler in the large cities. They had minimal pilasters and simple window trimmings. Some homeowners in New England adopted the new design trend by adding Greek Revival elements to Colonial-style homes. Front entrances could also be enhanced with porticoes and columns, while interiors could be decorated with decorative moldings and ornate plasterwork.

Interior Design