This is why Southern Architecture has such a strong preference for high ceilings

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Written By Jim J Neal

Southern architecture doesn’t just have a unique look.

Even if you love the simplicity and sophistication that modern home design offers, it’s not hard to see the charm of historic homes.

The type is something we all recognize. Imagine a grand home with a wraparound porch and Greek pillars. The driveway winds through mature oaks and weeping willows. It’s impossible to find a home quite like this, but it was not all about the show. Architectural Digest reveals that many antebellum mansions were built in order to show the wealth of their owners. However, some design elements had a higher purpose. Let’s take for example the high ceilings.

Here are the reasons porch doors are popular in Charleston.

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Why are Southern Ceilings so High?

Modern construction places the ceiling height at 9 feet. It’s unlikely that you will notice anything above or below this standard, but if your Southern home is historic, expect to be overwhelmed.

Although high ceilings can be a sign of grandeur, they are also a popular choice in the South for air circulation. You’ve probably experienced Southern summers, so you understand how vital A/C can be. But people in the past had to live without it.

New Orleans Architecture Tours reported that ceilings were on average 10-16 feet high. Classy, right? Despite the fact that these vaulted ceilings look great, they also help move heat upwards, which helps keep rooms and gathering areas cool and more comfortable. This is not the most intriguing old home feature, but it looks great and works well.

Talking about strange home features, if you see a house that has two front doors, it is because of these unusual home features.

Unique Southern Architecture Features

Although high ceilings are a hallmark of the old South, they are not the only thing that catches our attention. These are equally grand, but still serve a purpose.

  • Tall windows. Natural light and lots of windows are popular demands for modern construction, especially in a time where many people work from home. Although it’s easy for us to envy the tall windows that line South homes, they encourage airflow, just like vaulted ceilings.
  • Greek columns. They are a grand sight, but the columns that you see on many Southern mansions were there to support a second- or third-floor balcony. This is another place for residents to cool down.
  • Porches. Wraparound porches in the South are a homeowner’s dream. They not only look great but also provide shade on hot days. Here’s how you can find a rocking bench on Charleston porches if you are in South Carolina.
  • Basements. Or, rather, the absence of! Due to the lack of basements in many South homes, damp soil and other geographic quirks are common.

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Original publication onTaste of Home

Hannah Twietmeyer

Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer, content creator, and blogger based in Milwaukee. She has a passion about all things food and health. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in journalism and was previously a Madison Magazine contributor to dining and drinks.

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