Solid in construction and balanced in style, a Georgian terrace house is a workhorse of a building, often with good bones. If you own a Georgian terrace, or a flat in one, and you're planning on renovating it, here is what you need to know to make the most of your project.
Georgian architecture varies in style but is generally guided by a sense of symmetry and proportion based on classic Greek or Roman architecture.
Exteriors tend to be free from fancy ornamental decorations. It’s a plain but pleasing style. The Circus in Bath is a fine example of a grand Georgian terrace, but house designs can differ greatly and many Georgian buildings still form large and central parts of London, Bristol, Edinburgh and many other larger cities in the UK.
Depending on your specific building, its age and location, you will want to check the state of the original brickwork and any alterations that may have been done to it over the years. With the name ‘Georgian architecture’ referring back to the rule of British monarchs George I through to George IV, the period encompasses the years between 1714 and 1830. Quite a few additions or changes may have been made to your home, and some of this older renovation work may only become apparent as you start your own project and lay bare the bones of your very own ‘Georgian’. Generally speaking, the standards of construction of the time were high. In the UK, brick or stone was used as the main building material, and brick was often disguised with stucco.
Terraced town houses were usually tall and narrow with one family occupying the whole of the building. In recent years, many Georgian terraces have been converted into flats and the resulting floor plans can sometimes be less than ideal for our modern lifestyles. Considering the layout of your home and the flow from room to room is the starting point for turning your house into a modernised home that suits your life and style. It’s well worth investing a decent amount of time and effort into the planning stage of your project, and experienced architectural designers along with knowledgeable builders can make all the difference.
Whether you are converting a small flat into a more suitable apartment or updating the floor plan and general interior design of a family home, the devil is often in the details of form and functionality. It’s all about making the most of your space, and especially making the most of smaller spaces. Clever room configurations and storage solutions are essential. Think extra spacious kitchen cabinetry, wardrobe storage systems and space-saving appliances amongst others.
Windows of the era were typically plain rectangular sash windows. They are generally large and evenly spaced. In some cases windows may have been bricked in to avoid paying the window tax that was applicable at the time. Double-glazing may be a good option if your budget allows this, as it will help keep your home warmer in winter and also reduce noise levels. If your flat is on the ground level, or below ground level, lighting will be a key feature to consider during your renovation planning. A good lighting plan, in combination with light wall colours and possibly even large, strategically placed mirrors can really brighten up a dark space.
The historic fireplaces that you will likely have in one or more rooms make a lovely design feature but will do little to keep your toes toasty in winter. Effective and cost-efficient heating is invaluable in creating a comfortable and healthy house, so make sure you include this in your plans from the get go. There are many different options on the market ranging from gas heaters through to fully automated central heating systems.
If you have an outdoor area or garden space to call your own, consider accessibility and usability, and the best ways to create indoor-outdoor flow. Adding extra living space to your home may be possible by extending into the garden area and building a lean to addition. However, it pays to check first with your local council to see which kind of building rules and regulations you may have to comply with. Other issues to consider when renovating a Georgian terrace include access for tradespeople with all their materials, and maintaining good relationships with your neighbours along the way.
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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.
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