Analyzing details on a perfect, mid century Dutch Colonial — Royal Barry Wills design?

dutch colonial houseI was driving around recently and spotted this beauty of a house. It’s a Dutch Colonial on a bit of acreage just outside town. I’d bet my bonus it’s a Royal Barry Wills design. Let me count some of the ways I love it and its perfect little details…

matching windows in a dutch colonial houseThe windows upstairs all have matching window treatments. They are beautifully proportioned to the scale of the front of the house, as well.

window boxes on a dutch colonial houseThese folks certainly take pride in their house: The window boxes all match and are all planted and ready to show all spring. I love black shutters on a red brick house. The hostas add nice sun dappled color while still laying low. Also notice the nice hefty cornice (the white decorative trim running horizontally under the soffit of the roof above the doors and windows.

side porch on a dutch colonial houseI have been thinking about these mid century side porches — and similarly, breezeways — a lot lately. If you are going to add an attached garage — consider inserting one of these side porches with a mud room behind. Or, if you can handle the garage detached, insert a covered breezeways. You can make the cornice of the porch curved like this one…you might also consider trellis or ornamental iron columns. Brick floor… or concrete edged in brock.  Windows with shutters and shutter dogs. Door to kitchen or mudroom must be low key / very subordinate to the facade of the house. That’s because it’s bad feng shui to have “two front doors” — the energy does not know where to enter, gets confused, runs screaming.

early american bell on mid century porch

Don’t forget the Early American bell. See that teensy thingie on the bottom of the shutter — that’s the visible half of Shutter Dog, wrought iron hardware meant to hold the shutter in place, even if only decoratively.

dutch colonial house garage with cupola

Now this is particularly delicious — the attached garage (I think it is a garage…). Of course, dig the important cupola — a hallmark of mid century Early American architecture — . I’d say, the bigger the house, the bigger you can go with the cupola. Window boxes match those on the front. Lovely post lantern marking the entry way to the front door.

garage on dutch colonial house

early american bell on mid century porchThe siding on the garage is board-and-batten — and grey. Note, however, that the siding on the porch is different (clapboard?) and white. This is a classic design trick, too, on these mid-century American Colonial Revival homes. Break up the long low, and consider adding visual interest, by mixing your materials. You have to be careful not to overdo it, or get clashy, though.

board and batten sidingReminds me of this 1952 Dutch Boy paint add — here’s more board and batten siding. Hoever they have done the contrast with paint – did not change materials.


dutch colonial country house

Over to the right of the drive and further back — a second set of garages and a guest house, workshop or studio…

studio and garage next to dutch colonial house

Here is a little closer up. Carriage doors on the garage are just right.

mid century dutch colonial house

Dutch Colonial style was popular in the prewar period. But I am most certain this is a post war house because of the various Colonial Revival touches. I’m also thinking, prewar Dutch Colonials tended to be all brick, with less wood. More “Dutch/romantic” and less “colonial.” I am quite in love with this house. I might have to get all obnoxious and knock next time and ask for a tour.

  1. Just another Pam says:

    What a lovely house and yard.

    One of the houses I’ve had over the years was a blue shingled version of this built in 1900. We owned it but the locals, we were ‘from away’, always called it the xxxx house after the original owner, how can you not love that sense of history?

  2. Gavin Hastings says:

    The porch edged in…”brock”?…..I knew my name was all over this place! So nice!

    From the roofline and batten I feel that the garage was a later addition…which is exactly the way Colonials are intended to grow.

  3. Jason says:

    A beautiful home.

    I have a white ranch with breezeway (enclosed with windows in the front and slider in the back) and one car garage. My living room juts forward out of the house and the corner of that roofline makes a small covered porch in front of my foyer. I love my breezeway, everyone is like what is a breezeway, but then they go out there and plop down and say I wish I had one of these!

    I’m halfway to a cupola for the garage – I received a weathervane with a bird on it (put a bird on it) for my birthday. So I just need the wooden part to place it on.

  4. Gavin Hastings says:

    Your first illustration: the white half-cape….why why why is that affordable, easy to heat, cool and maintain home NOT being built today? Would people not buy it?

  5. Gavin Hastings says:

    ….and I think the narrow shutters are replacements. See the space between the front door and sidelight? My guess is it was intended to have door shutters as well.

  6. Maggy says:

    I have a friend who’s girlfriend’s sister (what a complicated chain of people!) bought a modern home out here and decided to gut it and redo the interior in a completely retro fashion. It was like a secret retro home I guess. Anyway, according to the girlfriend, her sister’s bank was very hesitant to give her the loan because of the idea that the house would not sell.

    And so the Battle Against Beige continues….

  7. Jenny says:

    Yes! Why not!? Gavin, let’s go into development and build a retro-subdivision and see if it does indeed, as I suspect it would, sell.

    Problem might be that to build that level of detail into modern houses is cost-prohibitive. So you could build it, and someone would want to buy it, but not for a price that you could make money on.

  8. Karen says:

    We moved into a 1954 mid-modest home a few months back and for the most part love it. Original tile and wood windows… One issue(s) however that I have, is that previous owners had inclosed the breezeway years ago making it an “office”, however they never properly insulated it, so now it’s a cold awkward dead space that is holding our unpacked boxes. I have tried convincing my husband of making it a breezeway again… My new solution (which is why I couldn’t sleep at 4am and writing this) is to knock out the brick enclosure in the front, and make it an inclosed screen porch (our laundry room addition is on the other side of the once said breezeway). Is that even possible? Would we need a permit you think? I’d love to see a post or here comments where someone has brought back an inclosed breezeway/ porch.

  9. Pam Kueber says:

    Hi Karen, I don’t think we’ve ever discussed this topic before. To find out whether you need a permit, contact your local officials, they will know and can advise you.

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