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Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian Homes: The difference between period architecture

Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian homes have always popular amongst home hunters. The charm that comes with a period property is difficult to replicate in new builds, which makes period homes extremely attractive to buyers and tenants alike.

Although many people refer to these homes collectively as ‘Period’ or ‘Classical’ each style represent a totally different period in architecture, society even. Yes, there are a few features which can be seen across all styles, such as quoins and columns, but when you look closely you can really appreciate the beauty of each era.

Georgian and Regency Architecture (1714- 1830)

Although many replica Georgian homes have been built across the years true Georgian homes are eponymous with the period when George I, George II, George III and George IV reigned. 10 Downing Street is probably the most famous Georgian house, though London is not short of familiar Georgian homes. The expansive white painted mansions that line Regent’s Park and the mansions found in Mayfair are just some of the other familiar Georgian homes around London. Externally, these homes are easily identifiable by their grand symmetrical frontages with flat or shallow roofs hidden behind a parapet, tall rectangular windows with a ‘fan’ window often above the main entrance. Typically the most fashionable Georgian homes had their interior walls panelled from floor to ceiling and divided horizontally in three parts. Upper class Georgian’s could now afford to lavishly decorate their homes, which often included lighter shades of paint such as pinks and lavenders on the walls and darker, more expensive shades of paint on skirtings and coverings. Georgian homes would also often have beautiful, intricate ceiling roses and plasterwork as well, which is a key giveaway today upon entering any Georgian property.

Victorian Architecture (1837- 1901)

Although some Victorian properties retain a few of the classical features, such as columns and panelled proportioning, that can be found in Georgian homes, Victorian properties are also heavily influenced by the renaissance and Gothic revival movement.

Victorian homes can often be identified by Gothic revivalist features such as pointed windows, porches, dormers and roof gables. Though not all Victorian homes will have these features. As the Victorian era included the industrial revolution in Britain, there many changes in society and the way buildings were constructed during the era, which means there are differences to be seen between early, middle and later Victorian architecture.

Whilst early Victorian homes typically had more complex designs, porches and bay windows, as the period went on the style became simpler and saw the introduction of new materials such as glass and iron.

The Victorian age was at the height of the British empire and the wealth that came with this led to Victorian furnishing their homes with extravagant decorations. Wallpaper was a fairly new invention and the wealthy would plaster floral wallpapers, rich dark fabrics and an array of exotic artefacts and ornaments across their homes to show their wealth to visitors. To a lesser extent, this was also seen in the homes of the middle classes, who were trying to portray a picture of wealth through the design and decoration of their homes.

Victorian homes remain some of the most popular designs today and often feature high on buyers ‘desired property type’ lists. This is partially due to the fantastic opportunities to convert the loft spaces into an extra floor of accommodation.

You can still see many Victorian homes around the affluent areas of Knightsbridge. Chelsea and Primrose Hill.

Edwardian Architecture (1901- 1918)

The Edwardian era of architecture actually extended beyond the reign of King Edward VII and was especially influenced by Georgian and the Arts and Crafts movements.

At this time, the population was rapidly increasing and the introduction of new railways lines gave rise to the ‘Suburbs’. The suburbs were all built in the countryside, sp allowed a lot more space for Edwardian's to build their homes. Often built on larger, leafy plots, Edwardian homes are easily distinguishable from Victorian and Georgian homes.

Edwardian properties are often much shorter than equivalent Victorian homes, as the residents of these homes had a lesser need for servants. Gone were the days of cellars and second floors for servants and in came large welcome halls and spacious gardens.

Externally, you can often identify an Edwardian home by the Dutch gables, sash windows and deep bay windows. Edwardian homes also are often half-clad in timber or sub-divide windows into smaller square panes in order to create an aesthetic appeal.

Internally, Edwardian homes often had far less clutter than a typical Victorian home. The days of dark furnishings and exotic artefacts and ornaments were slipping away and in came the trend of plainer decorative designs across the home. The world transitioned from oil and gas lamps to electricity, which meant that many Edwardian homes were built with light fittings on the walls. Wallpaper designs were often now much lighter in colour and had simpler patterns. Flowers and decorations were now used to compliment floral fabrics and wallpapers, rather than swamp every surface to show wealth.

Today you can still see many fine examples of Edwardian homes across London, especially in Hampstead Heath, Dulwich and Richmond. The Rosewood hotel (formerly Chancery Court Hotel) in Holborn is just one of many excellent examples of Edwardian architecture in London today.

Trends that last

It is amazing that hundreds of years later, people will still specifically ask for homes that are Georgian, Edwardian or Victorian in style as these often offer a truly bespoke canvas from which to create a home, personal to the owner.

We’d love to see your favourite Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian homes locally – just share them on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #loveperiodproperty and make sure you tag us too!

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