Periods are timeframes in history which are often defined by the ruling monarch at the time. For instance, the Victorian Period is named after Queen Victoria. Period House refers to buildings or property that were constructed before the First World War and are characterized by a distinct style of architecture. More specifically, period properties refer to properties built under the rule of a specific monarch. Currently, there is a strong debate on including later 20th-century architecture in the realm of period houses.
Despite belonging to the historical past, period houses are very popular amongst people as they have an interesting appeal to them. These properties delicately combine a magnificent historical exterior with a contemporary interior that is equipped with all the modern facilities.
Quick Note: When talking about Period Houses, we need to make sure that we do not mix them up with English Heritage Listing. Most properties constructed before 1840 are listed. Listed buildings are graded according to their importance and come with certain responsibilities regarding their maintenance.
Now, let’s take a deeper look at the different types of period properties and how to distinguish between them.
Tudor Period Houses
The Tudor Period occurred from 1485 to 1603. The Tudor style of architecture first became popular during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Tudor homes are easy to recognize due to several distinguishing features. Firstly, Tudor houses have a steep roof that is often coupled with several overlapping gables (the triangular portion of the roof) that face the front. This creates a unique and fascinating shape. Secondly, the windows of Tudor houses are tall and narrow. They have a number of panes that are either rectangular or diamond in shape. Large clusters of windows are also common. Moreover, there are floating bay windows (referred to as oriel windows) present on the first or second floor of the house. This creates a very picturesque effect. Thirdly, the front door is also a significant architectural feature on Tudor homes with a round arch at the top that is usually bordered by a contrasting stone. This helps the door stand out against the brick walls. Lastly, Tudor chimneys have decorative chimney pots – a metal extension at the top of the brick chimney making Tudor houses easy to spot.
The majority of the Tudor properties have a brick exterior which is accented with decorative half-timbering. Half-timbering is basically a wooden frame of thin boards with stucco or stone filling in the spaces between the boards.
Elizabethan Period House
The Elizabethan era from 1558 – 1603 is marked by the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. It is the epoch in the Tudor period of the history of England. Properties built during this time are characterized by a pretentious architectural design that is all about show and pomp. The Elizabethan architecture combines motifs from the Renaissance with intricate Flemish work. Properties from this period comprise ornate brickwork and huge glass panes coupled with multiple gables, towers, and chimney stacks. Gardens with fountains and pavilions are also typical features of this period.
Stuart Period Houses
The Stuart Period lasted over a hundred years, from 1603 – 1714. Properties from this period were made from timber. They typically have small rooms at the top of the house along with super spacious parlors. These houses have extensive wood paneling, elaborately designed fireplaces along with richly plastered ceilings. Moreover, the Stuart period houses marked the beginning of a trend for terraced homes.
Since these houses were made from timber and timber frames, they were highly prone to fires. Unfortunately, the threat did come to life as the Great Fire of London wiped out over 13,000 houses in 1666.
Georgian Period Houses
The Georgian period named after the Hanoverian kings George I, George II, George III, and George IV ranges from 1714 – 1830. Houses built during this time are probably one of the most popular period types of country properties.
Georgian property characterizes townhouses that comprise three or even four stories. They usually have sash windows but the panes are quite small. The first two floors have tall windows whereas the top stories have smaller ones. These properties did not have their own garden and were therefore built around garden squares.
The Georgian period characterizes elegant exteriors, spacious rooms, and tall ceilings that give an increased feeling of light and space. This significantly differs from the smaller, darker architectural designs that were popular before the Georgian era.
Victorian Period Houses
Properties built between 1830 and 1901 are classified as Victorian Period Houses. The Victorian-style is heavily affected by the Gothic revival and renaissance movement. Meanwhile, it also retains some of the classical features that the Georgians adopted including columns and proportioning.
Victorian period houses have a kitchen at the end, with gardens at both the back and front along with built-in terraces. Another popular and distinctive feature of Victorian houses includes decorated wooden panels placed on the ends of gables. Victorian period houses often have ornate ridge tiles constructed using terracotta (glazed or unglazed fired clay, traditionally red). The terracotta floor tiles in the porch areas and the ground floor have a geometric design. They were mainly made of natural colors such as brown and red, but sometimes colors such as black, off-white, and dark blue were also used.
The interior of these Victorian houses was replete with décor items, dark-colored fabrics including red and green, and large mantelpieces. This helped to accommodate a wide variety of decorative ornaments. The walls were usually plastered with floral wallpapers instead of being painted. Victorian windows featured huge six-paned sash windows that would slide vertically. These six-paned windows later changed to four-paned. In the center of these windows, there was a single glazing bar that went all the way down. Triple-sided bay windows were also in fashion in the Victorian period. These projecting windows featured a straight, flat front and slanting sides. In most cases, the window on the ground floor had its separate, own roof. However, sometimes, it would merge with a bay window on the first floor.
Most Victorian houses also have stained windows influenced by the Gothic revival movement. Stained glass can be found on windows as well as doors. Since these houses were built in a pre-car age without garages such gardens are sometimes now removed to make way for parking.
Edwardian Period Houses
The Arts and Crafts Movement significantly influenced the short Edwardian period from 1901 to 1910. The Movement promoted simple design and an appreciation for handmade products. Therefore, Edwardian period houses are quite modest and less ornate than other period properties. They commonly have front gardens. The exterior is painted with light colors because, with the advent of gas and electrical lighting, designers no longer had to worry about the black streaks caused by soot.
Other distinctive characteristics of Edwardian Period Houses are wide hallways, parquet wood floors, wooden-framed porches, and timber cladding at the top of the house.
Art deco, also known as style moderne, movement in the field of decorative architecture first originated in the 1920s. It gradually evolved into a common style in western Europe and the United States during the 1930s. The name Art Deco was adapted from the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, conducted in Paris in 1925. It was at this exhibition where the style was first displayed.
The most common features of this period include geometric styles and a focus on ‘solid’ aesthetics. Art Deco houses are noticeable because of their streamlined appearances, large constructions, and an imposing look. Strong lines and geometric shapes clearly indicate an Art Deco architecture.
Period properties are beautiful and ornate. They have a rich history associated with them which makes them popular amongst buyers who look for something special. If you own or are looking to buy a period property, you will benefit from several qualities. These include thick walls, large rooms, and immense storage space.
It is an undoubted fact that period properties can endure the test of time. Those that exist today have already survived hundreds of years of wear and tear and bad weather. However, there does come a time when some features such as the staircase of your period need to be restored. Renovating, refurbishing, or maintaining a period house can be a challenging process. You must take care to avoid mistakes that can ruin your period house. If your period property is listed, make sure you know the legal restrictions on the works that can be carried out.
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