At the heart of Britain’s property ladder lies a hub of beautiful period homes. Whether you own a pre-Georgian cottage or a Victorian terraced house, it can be hard to maintain the traditional appearance of a historical property. We’ve outlined some tips on how to keep period features as authentic as they were in their original era.
Charming countryside cottages – the pre-Georgian home
With their thick thatched roofs and large, welcoming fireplaces, these rare 17th century cottages are the definition of the ‘chocolate box home’. These compact properties have low ceilings and are often characterised by open window seats and tight stairwells.
Maintain the look
Pre-Georgian cottage owners are often keen to keep the rustic charm of their homes. It’s important to remember that pre-Georgian cottages were not built for space, so try not to extend them more than 25%. It might be worth relocating to a larger property if you want more room, as too much expansion will lose that modest cottage feel.
In pre-Georgian times, cottages were home to society’s poorest members, so try not to make your period home too luxurious. The style won’t fit in with the cottage’s simplistic appeal.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with using modern fittings if you’re adding them as new. A simple electrical fitting is more honest than a brass reproduction.
Finally, when renovating your pre-Georgian period home, don’t try to cover the whole house at once. The project will be more manageable if you take one area at a time, plus you’ll learn refurbishing habits as you go along. It’s also worth asking for professional advice if you’re unsure about how to fit and decorate your period cottage.
Elegant and spacious – the Georgian home
Built between 1720 and 1820, Georgian period homes provide more space to accommodate modern living. Inside you’ll find ornate staircase balustrades, wooden wall panelling and high ceilings. The exteriors usually have large windows and shallow, tiled roofs.
Maintain the look
The Georgians were fond of painted window frames, furniture and doors and only expensive types of wood, such as mahogany and seasoned oak, were left unpainted.
It’s difficult to replicate traditional Georgian floorboards, which tended to be wider than today’s. It’s recommended that you try to repair original boards rather than pulling them out and starting again.
Use unique curved Georgian skirting boards to complement the traditional interior furniture
The dawn of terraced housing – the Victorian home
Victorian homes were built between 1830 and 1901, the era of the terraced house. These houses were sturdy and built to last, with pitched roofs and spacious attics. There are four main styles for Victorian housing – Italianate, renaissance, Queen Anne and medieval. Larger, detached Victorian properties often have a Tudor or mock-gothic style.
Keep the look
If you live in a Victorian property and want to maintain the historical look, there are several things to consider.
When it comes to the interiors, always be authentic. Keep your carpets heavily patterned with large floral, geometric or animal print designs. During the Victorian era, most homes had carpets, with a two-foot margin around the perimeter to reveal stained or stencilled floorboards.
Towards the middle of the century, dado rails to match Victorian skirting boards became a popular element in Victorian houses, particularly in the dining room or hallway. This is because they could protect the wall plastering from the backs of chairs, or people rushing through.
The most important interior feature of a Victorian home is undoubtedly the wallpaper. The Victorians had an enormous variety of wallpapers, ranging from mass-produced floral patterns on wood-pulp paper to hand-printed rag paper of sophisticated design. Reproductions of these prints can still be found today.
Period style influences – the Edwardian home
The Edwardian home style is heavily influenced by other periods, with the larger dimensions of Victorian homes and medieval exterior panelling. They are known for wide, spacious hallways and bay windows, and are usually fronted by wooden porches.
Keep the look
In the early Edwardian era, property interiors followed a colour scheme of sage green, blue, grey and burgundy. But they did become lighter as the style developed, so you could get away with using Wedgewood blue, pea green or dusky pink if you want to give your home a more colourful Edwardian vibe.
As Edwardian homes borrowed styles from other periods, their features were often very similar to Victorian and Georgian designs. Edwardian skirting boards, like in other period properties, are typically taller than they are in modern homes, so if you’re replacing them you’ll need to consider restoring them to their accurate size.
Edwardian-style walls should be panelled, but only to dado height. If you have panelling in your hall, paint the cornice to match the walls, but if your walls are painted, you should instead paint the cornice the same colour as the ceiling, as was the Edwardian fashion.
Still not sure on how to keep your period property features? We provide a bespoke service to match patterns that are out of production, so you can easily keep the historical charm alive in your home. Contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 048 0786 to find out more.