New England style homes were born in the early days of the American colonies. Religious dissenters coming from England began establishing homes that, initially, were little more than wood shacks. As time went on, they brought architectural elements from their previous country and blended them with new materials and a building style that was their own.
Over time, New England architecture evolved from Postmedieval English homes in the 1600s to Early Classical Revival in the mid-1800s. These homes made use of the abundance of wood found in the New England forests in their timber frames and cedar shake shingles.
To create the signature New England cedar shake shingles, large chunks of cedar wood are split and left in their natural rough state and then cut into individual shingles. As a result, each cedar shake is completely unique and the natural variance in color and texture creates a distinctive look that can be seen in a variety of New England home styles.
A resurgence in the colonial aesthetic, especially Cape Cod homes in New England and elsewhere, has led to a desire to return to these natural materials. However, cedar shake shingles require regular maintenance — every 2 to 4 years moss and fungi must be cleaned. They are also more expensive than other roofing materials because they are a specialized product, and they are more susceptible to fire unless they are pretreated.
It’s no wonder that modern day buildings make use of modern materials that mimic the look of cedar shake shingles, but are easier to install and don’t require regular maintenance. In Colonial Revival homes that were built in the late 1880s and into the 1950s, more modern materials and building styles were used, which allowed architects and designers to reinvent colonial designs in a modern way.
Today, as people continue to be inspired by the New England colonial style as they build new buildings and restore the old buildings. New materials give them the ability to stay true to the colonial style while still creating a building with sustainable materials that will stand the test of time.
New England Colonial Resurgence
Many New England style homes have been lost over time — but many original buildings that remain have benefited from active campaigns to preserve and restore them — so the style has experienced a resurgence, and new homes continue to be built with a strong New England colonial influence.
A Natural Look…With A Guarantee
Brava synthetic cedar shake roofing beautifully mimics the split texture of traditional cedar shake shingles. On a New England style house, they perfectly capture the natural beauty and variation that would be found in natural wood. Our cedar shake shingles are available in any color or custom color combination — in addition to our core collection of 9 hues — and will maintain this look for years to come. There is also a guarantee with our 50-year limited transferable warranty.
Cedar Shake Roof On A Stunning Cape Cod
Cape Cod homes are known for their symmetry and door that is centrally located on the front of the house and flanked by an even number of windows on each side. Dormers are common in Cape Cod style homes, especially those built during the 1950s, which add space upstairs to allow natural light to reach areas where it wouldn’t otherwise. Cedar shake shingles help the home stay true to its New England roots.
Stately 17th Century Saltbox Style
Saltbox style homes traditionally have a roof that has an asymmetrical slope, with the roof reaching further to the ground in the rear of the home. What initially began as the practice of adding a lean-to at the rear of the home to extend available space, eventually became a style in and of itself.
It is thought that Queen Anne’s tax on two or more story homes led to the surge in saltbox homes. Since the rear of the roof is the height of a single-story, the owner’s weren’t required to pay the tax.
Brava’s cedar shake tiles fit perfectly on this reproduction center chimney saltbox. The cedar shakes easily pass for hand- split traditional cedar shakes, so you can maintain a traditional look without the maintenance that comes with traditional cedar, and the variegated color makes them look even more authentic.
Dutch Colonial Gambrel Roof
Dutch Colonial houses reduced the pitch of the roof and include a gambrel roof that resembles a barn roof. As Dutch Colonial grew popular, tile, slate, and thatch roofs gave way to wood shingles. Often Dutch Colonial homes were an expanded version of a previous home, so the original stone walls wouldn’t extend above the roof line. Rather, the portion of the house that reached to the roof would be constructed from wood or brick. The cedar shake shingles on this Dutch Colonial style home are a beautiful way to maintain the history of the style without having to worry about maintaining wood shingles.
A Subtle Nod To The Federal Style
With a nod to the door surrounds in a Federal colonial home and the dormers common on Cape Cod style colonials, this beautiful blend of colonial architecture maintains the classic New England look by utilizing Brava’s cedar shake roof tiles. Popular in the mid-1800s until the early 20th century, when Victorian architecture took over, Cape Cod style homes saw a resurgence in the 1950s and are still a popular style today.
Maintain A Historic Look With Brava Cedar Shake
Building materials continue to improve and innovate, but it is still important to maintain historical accuracy in many home and architectural styles. Brava Cedar Shake shingles allow you to do this without compromising the integrity of the building, all while staying true to Mother Nature and preserving a portion of history.
Contact the experts at Brava today to explore ways to maintain historical integrity with modern materials.