The saltbox house and building style came about because of necessity, pure and simple. Early colonists, with homes built in the traditional Colonial style, often found themselves needing more space as their families grew. The most cost effective way to get it was to build a one story addition onto the back of their home and extend the roof down to cover it. The result was the saltbox style home, so named because these homes strongly resembled the boxes colonists used for storing salt in at the time.
Saltboxes at a Glance
From the front a saltbox house looks like any other colonial style home. It is two or three stories tall, rectangular in shape, has a tall central chimney, and sports a symmetrical row of windows on each floor. Its defining characteristic isn't apparent until you stroll around to the side. Where a traditional colonial home looks almost identical front and back, a saltbox sports a long sloping roof in the back that comes all the way down to the first floor and accommodates extra living space.
No Need to Show Off
The other thing that sets a saltbox home apart from other colonials is its simplicity. Where other colonial styles such as Georgian and Federal homes are known for their pediments, Palladian windows, and pilasters, saltbox colonials tend to strive for a more humble look without all the sequins and frills. They are rarely outfitted with all the extra ornamentation and keep things simple with plain clapboard or shingle siding.
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Modern Saltbox House Plans
As with any building style, modern saltbox house plans take great liberties with the original form. What used to be formulaic is now more of a jumping off point for architects and designers. That being the case, modern saltbox house plans incorporate everything from double car garages to sprawling decks and porches into the traditional design. Whatever your taste, there's sure to be a saltbox house plan somewhere out there that fits the bill.
If you're interested in purchasing or building a saltbox home, it's best to contact a realtor or general contractor in your area. Realtors will have the latest skinny on any saltbox style homes currently on the market and a good contractor will be able to sit down with you and get your new build underway.