What is a Salt Box House?

A saltbox house is a type of New England colonial house that has become a classic architectural style in America. With its distinct shape and steeply pitched roof, the saltbox house has a unique look that instantly stands out from other architectural styles. If you’ve ever seen one of these homes, you likely know how distinct and captivating they are. But what is a saltbox house? In this article, we’ll explore the history of the saltbox house, its defining characteristics, and how these unique homes remain relevant in the modern-day.

A Salt Box House is a traditional New England-style home with a distinctive roofline. The roof is asymmetrical, with one side being much longer than the other. The house typically has two stories, with the longer side of the roof extending to the first floor, creating a long, sloping roof. Inside, the house has an open floor plan, with the living area, kitchen, and dining area on one level. The Salt Box House is known for its simple, classic design and its ability to withstand strong winds and heavy snowfall.

What is a Salt Box House?

A Salt Box House is a type of New England colonial style house that is characterized by its steeply pitched roof and asymmetrical design. The Salt Box House was originally designed in the 1600s and is named after its resemblance to a salt box, a traditional container for storing salt.

Design Features

Salt Box Houses have a number of distinctive design features that set them apart from other colonial style houses. These include:

  • Asymmetrical shape – the front of the house is shorter than the back, which gives it a distinctive look.
  • Steeply pitched roof – the roof has a very steep pitch, which was designed to shed heavy snowfall common in New England.
  • Gable end – the gable end is typically located at the front of the house and gives it a unique look.
  • Central chimney – a central chimney was often used to provide heating and cooking needs for the household.
  • Small windows – the windows were small to help keep the heat in and the cold out.
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Construction Materials

Salt Box Houses were typically constructed using locally sourced materials, such as wood, brick, and stone. The roof was usually made of wood shingles, while the walls were either brick or wood.


Salt Box Houses were originally designed as single-family homes, but today they are often used as vacation homes or rental properties. They are also popular with homeowners who appreciate their classic style and charm.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Salt Box House?

A Salt Box house is a traditional New England home style with a long, pitched roof that resembles the shape of an old-fashioned salt box. The term “salt box” refers to the shape of the roofline, which is similar to the shape of the wooden lidded container used to store salt. The one-and-a-half story style of house was popularized in the 1600s and 1700s, and is characterized by an asymmetrical roofline with one side of the roof being much longer than the other.

What are the features of a Salt Box House?

Salt Box houses feature a steep, pitched roofline with a long side and a short side. The long side of the roof typically extends down to the first floor and creates a covered porch or entryway. The walls are usually made of wood, although stone and brick can also be used. Salt Box houses often have simple, symmetrical facades with a central doorway flanked by two windows, and the windows have double-hung sashes. The interior of a Salt Box house typically has an open floor plan and exposed beams on the ceiling, as well as a large central chimney.

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Where are Salt Box Houses typically found?

Salt Box houses were originally found in the New England area, particularly in the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. However, the style has become popular in other areas of the United States, such as the Midwest and the South.

What materials are used to build Salt Box Houses?

Salt Box houses are typically made of wood, although stone and brick can also be used. The walls are usually made of wooden planks or boards and the roofs are often made of cedar shakes or wooden shingles. The interior of a Salt Box house typically has exposed beams on the ceiling, as well as a large central chimney.

What are the benefits of a Salt Box House?

The Salt Box house style offers a variety of benefits, including its low-maintenance construction and its long, steep roofline which helps to maximize attic space and provide extra insulation. The asymmetrical roof also helps to protect the house from the elements, while the large central chimney can help to draw out smoke and heat. Additionally, the style of the house is often considered to be aesthetically pleasing and can add a unique charm to a home.

What are the disadvantages of a Salt Box House?

The main disadvantage of a Salt Box house is its asymmetrical shape, which can be difficult to construct and can be expensive to maintain. Additionally, the steep roofline can cause issues with snow and ice accumulation, as well as water runoff. The large central chimney can also be expensive to maintain, as it needs to be regularly inspected and cleaned.

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A saltbox house is a type of traditional New England home that is easily recognizable for its sloping roof and charming, rustic features. Its timeless design has endured through centuries of change, making it a beloved and iconic symbol of the colonial and early American eras. For those looking for a unique and homey living space, a saltbox house is the perfect choice.

This is Anthony Thompson, chief editor and the founder of this site, Tinyhousegarage. I'm a home architect. Basically, I've created this site to help people build tiny houses with a limited budget and land space or people who are homeless. As a home architect, I became very disheartened when I saw homeless people around me, which influenced me to create this site to help people build beautiful tiny houses.

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