Seventeenth-century houses in colonial North America were simple structures that were primarily functional carrying over traditional designs that went back to the Middle Ages. During the first half of the eighteenth century, however, houses began to show a new elegance. As wealth increased, more and more colonists built fine houses.
Since architecture was not yet a specialized profession in the colonies, the design of buildings was left either to amateur designers or to carpenters who undertook to interpret architectural manuals imported from England. Inventories of colonial libraries show an astonishing number of these handbooks for builders, and the houses erected during the eighteenth century show their influence. Nevertheless, most domestic architecture of the first three-quarters of the eighteenth century displays a wide divergence of taste and freedom of application of the rules laid down in these books.
Increasing wealth and growing sophistication throughout the colonies resulted in houses of improved design, whether the material was wood, stone, or brick. New England still favored wood, though brick houses became common in Boston and other towns, where the danger of fire gave an impetus to the use of more durable material. A few houses in New England were built of stone, but only in Pennsylvania and adjacent areas was stone widely used in dwellings. An increased use of brick in houses and outbuildings is noticeable in Virginia and Maryland, but wood remained that most popular material even in houses built by wealthy landowners. In the Carolinas, even in closely packed Charleston, wooden houses were much more common than brick houses.
Eighteenth-century houses showed great interior improvements over their predecessors. Windows were made larger and shutters removed. Large, clear panes replaced the small leaded glass of the seventeenth century. Doorways were larger and more decorative. Fireplaces became decorative features of rooms. Walls were made of plaster or wood, sometimes elaborately paneled. White paint began to take the place of blues, yellows, greens, and lead colors, which had been popular for walls in the earlier years. After about 1730, advertisements for wallpaper styles in scenic patterns began to appear in colonial newspapers.
【題組】41. The author mentions elaborately paneled walls in line 26 as an example of
(A) how the interior design of colonial houses was improved.
(B) why walls were made of wood or plaster.
(C) How walls were made stronger in the eighteenth century.
(D) What kind of wood was used for walls after 1730.