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For Thanksgiving, Modern Takes on Colonial Architecture

When we think Thanksgiving, often the first thing that comes to mind is a family gathered around a table. While numerous visuals references are available—the complicated cliche of Indians and pilgrims breaking bread outdoors, Norman Rockwell's midcentury portrait of guests gathered around a white tablecloth, or a modern, multicultural family sitting down to dinner—oftentimes, we're drawn to historic scenes set in Colonial-era homes. The traditional homes of New England, especially early dwellings sometimes called "First Period" buildings," typically wooden structures sporting steep roofs and leaded glass, reflect the styles and traditions of the southeastern part of England and have served a an important influence on American homes. While there's plenty to appreciate, renovations and new buildings that riff on the elements of these designs provide new insight and appreciation of older designs. Like our Thanksgiving dinners, this look at how different architects have adapted and updated classic building tropes proves that an occasional refresh can add quite a bit to tradition.

Images via Architectural Digest
Designer Victoria Hagan, working with Botticelli and Pohl Architects, conceptualized a summer home in Nantucket that both met the island's strict building codes and added a more modern layout, including this open entryway.

Images via Tria Goven
This new build in Bridgehampton was conceived of by architect James Merrell as a "modern house bursting from a colonial." The many modern updates include the addition of a sleek bronze handrail that contrasts with the blond wood stairs.

Images via Dwell
To provide a modern finish to an updated 1920's Rhode Island home, architect Jack Ryan of 3six0 Architecture clad an addition in horizontal red cedar clapboards. The slight but standout change to the exterior gave a local architectural tradition new life.


Images via Country Living
Colonial and color don't have to be mutually exclusive, as this sensitive renovation of a 1784 home in South Windsor, Connecticut, demonstrates. The bright paint on the stairs, which created a faux runner, as well as the blue paneled closet, gave both areas splashes of color. Other parts of the hime adhered closely to period detailing, such as Palladian windows and molding on the entryway. It's not a massive overhaul, but the restoration project does show how colorful changes can be made to more traditional dwellings.

· The Exuberant Work of Interior Designer William Diamond, "Colonial Revival on Acid" [Curbed]
·Nab the Picture-Perfect Colonial From Mad Men for $1.15M [Curbed]