English Domestic style houses are New World adaptations of traditional, modest English buildings in transition between Medieval and Renaissance structural details. Thatch, the preferred English roofing material was replaced by wooden shingles to cope with the harsher New World climate. The high pitch of the thatch roof, continued to persist despite the change in roofing material. In the northern colonies, wood-frame walls covered with weather boards or wood shingles were popular construction materials. Houses in these colonies were mostly two stories tall with a large central chimney. In the southern colonies, separated from the north by the Dutch in New York and New Jersey, early houses were typically one story forms, with end chimneys. In the south, timber-frame houses were probably far more common than brick, but these have largely been lost due to neglect and indifference, and most surviving examples have brick walls.
English Domestic style houses are relatively easy to identify with steeply pitched, side gabled roofs, little or no rake or overhang, lack of cornice detailing and a massive central or end chimney built from stone or brick, often with a decorative shape. Windows are typically small, with narrow surrounds and fixed or casement sashes having many diamond-shaped panes. The English Domestic house plan is typically one room deep. Simple batten or vertical board doors are typical.