Vermont Country Living -- The Interior is Must See

A farmhouse in the countryside of Vermont. Built by Joan Heaton Architects.

Joan Heaton Architects, located in Bristol, Vermont, specializes in quality residential design for new construction, addition, renovation and historic restoration projects. Since 1996 we have collaborated with clients, local builders, and artisans to bring innovation to New England's distinctive architectural traditions.

As Vermont architects, we strive to create architecture that integrates sustainable design and green building practices. We draw inspiration from contemporary forms as well as historic New England buildings to create our own enduring architecture. This approach gives us the flexibility to meet our clients' diverse needs and interests while respecting the regional context.

An architectural style is characterized by the features that make a building or other structure notable or historically identifiable. A style may include such elements as form, method of construction, building materials, and regional character. Most architecture can be classified within a chronology of styles which changes over time reflecting changing fashions, beliefs and religions, or the emergence of new ideas, technology, or materials which make new styles possible.

Styles therefore emerge from the history of a society. They are documented in the subject of architectural history. At any time several styles may be fashionable, and when a style changes it usually does so gradually, as architects learn and adapt to new ideas. The new style is sometimes only a rebellion against an existing style, such as post-modernism (meaning "after modernism"), which has in recent years found its own language and split into a number of styles which have acquired other names.

Styles often spread to other places, so that the style at its source continues to develop in new ways while other countries follow with their own twist. For instance, Renaissance ideas emerged in Italy around 1425 and spread to all of Europe over the next 200 years, with the French, Belgian, German, English, and Spanish Renaissances showing recognizably the same style, but with unique characteristics. A style may also spread through colonialism, either by foreign colonies learning from their home country, or by settlers moving to a new land. One example is the Spanish missions in California, brought by Spanish priests in the late 18th century and built in a unique style.

Historically there were three main types of German farmhouses, many of which survive today. The Low German house or Niedersachsenhaus (Lower Saxony house) is found mainly on the North German Plain, but also in large parts of the Netherlands. It is a large structure with a sweeping roof supported by two to four rows of internal posts. The large barn door at the gable end opens into a spacious hall, or Deele, with cattle stalls and barns on either side and living accommodation at the end. The Middle German house may also be a single unit, but access is from the side, and the roof is supported by the outside walls. Later this type of mitteldeutsches Haus was expanded to two or more buildings around a rectangular farmyard, often with a second story. The South German house is found in southern Germany and has two main variants, the Swabian or Black Forest house and the Bavarian farmstead.

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