The period of architecture that we often consider to be Georgian is equivalent to the 18th century. The period as a whole was largely influenced by the use of classical architecture and classic traditions of style which originated from Europe.
The Georgian era gave us stunning architecture that is typified by elegance, balanced proportions and aesthetically-pleasing symmetry.
Many Georgian property owners would like to keep the originality from the era but also imbed some modern aspects in a sympathetic way. Whilst this is possible, it is important to consider a few elements when looking to restore a classically traditional property.
It is important to remember that the Georgian period was a long one and overlapped with the Regency period. Therefore, there will be many stylistic differences between houses from this era.
Within the Georgian era there was the classic Palladian style that was popular during the first few decades of the period, followed by the Adam (or neoclassical) style that dominated between 1760 and 1790. After this came the Regency era, which further developed the Italian-inspired heritage seen in previous years.
Each style is very much united by the fundamental features of what makes Georgian architecture so distinctive, but a well-maintained Georgian property should keep in mind these separate time periods.
Repair rather than replace
It is always worth trying to renovate and repair rather than replace. You’ll find that many of the attractive features of a Georgian home simply can’t be matched with modern replicas, such as fireplaces.
Floorboards are another example. Found in both hard and soft woods, they tend to be wider than the boards available on the market today and for many people the originals are far more attractive.
It is recommended that all original interior features such as fireplaces are kept if possible; if you can repair it and bring it back to life then that’s fantastic. A basic Georgian fire contained a plain wooden frame with two uprights and a beam, and all fireplaces formed the basis of the chimneypiece. Fireplaces were normally designed depending how wealthy the owners were, so if yours looks in pretty good condition – hang onto it!
Timber door furniture
Georgian front doors generally had central knobs at waist height with no letterboxes; brass door knobs were part of the Victorian era.
Nowadays many homeowners choose to use timber doors due to their durability and sustainability and this can help them to remain in-keeping with Georgian architecture too.
Sash windows are a key feature of both Georgian properties, and are also definitely worth retaining. If they’re in need of repair or you’re concerned about a lack of energy efficiency, consider investing in renovations rather than breaking away from your home’s special period character.
If you are a Georgian property owner and are looking to restore it into the 21st century without losing its authenticity, then seek the expertise of The Sash Window Workshop who can help with many aspects including the installation of timber doors and sash windows.
Colours and Paint
In contrast with our modern tendency to strip softwood furniture, Georgians preferred to paint most wooden surfaces. Very expensive woods like seasoned oak or mahogany would have been the only ones left au naturel.
When it comes to colours and you really value authenticity, remember that many of today’s favourite shades were not actually available to Georgians as the pigment technology was not fully developed at the time. Instead, iron and red oxides were the cheapest and most widely used colours along with shades of brown and green.