What is a saltbox house? A house with a 'catslide' (hee hee) roofline. (that's nasty) It is a Colonial style of architecture which originated in New England. This style is one you will see most often as the symbol or icon for primitive decorative items. Saltboxes are frame houses with two stories in front and one in back, having a pitched roof with unequal sides, being short and high in front and long and low in back. The front of the house is flat and the rear roof line is steeply sloped. The sturdy central chimney is a simple but effective focal point. The simplicity and strength of this design, first seen around 1650, continues to make saltbox houses popular today.