June 14th, 2018 at 11:00 am


Was the last Southern Colonial-style home you saw in “Gone With the Wind”? Not surprising, since the iconic, boxy, colonnaded genre of architecture is far outnumbered in Southern California by tract, Mid-Century Modern, bungalow, Spanish Colonial, and even Victorian homes. (Perhaps ironic, too, since the Colonial-style mansion of Tara was built and filmed on a Hollywood studio lot.)

There are enclaves of Colonials around SoCal, notably in L.A.’s Hancock Park neighborhood, Glendale, Toluca Lake, and Coronado. So owning one is not out of the question. Working with a great real estate agent is the first step to locating a Southern Colonial on the market. Just make sure you know what kind of house you might be living in. In addition to older Colonials that may or may not have been renovated, some newer homes have been built to look like the real thing.

What defines the Southern Colonial architectural style?

Which brings us to describing what characterizes Southern Colonials. These homes draw their influence from those of European colonists who settled in America’s northern and southern colonies during the 1600s. As it evolved, the architecture aspired to the ideals of the Greek Revival movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Barron’s Real Estate Dictionary defines it as “a large, Early American style, 2- or 3-story frame house with a characteristic colonnade extending across the front. The roof extends over the colonnade.” Homes originally were built from brick, wood, stone, or combinations of the three.

On the outside:

You can tell if a house is Southern Colonial as you approach it from outside. Main features include:

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On the inside:

Should you buy a Southern Colonial home?

George Washington lived in a Southern Colonial, so why shouldn’t you?

As with any home purchase, a thorough inspection should be completed to assess any construction issues, such as foundation cracks, mold, termites, and other potential future problems. This is especially true with older homes. However, remodeled or newly constructed Southern Colonials are more likely to have been brought up to modern construction codes with energy and green standards in place. Your agent will be your best source for helping to assess a home’s condition and recommend vendors if needed.

Where to see examples of Southern Colonial architecture:

Still searching to find your perfect Southern California home? Start your search today.

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