To the Whigs who came to power of George the first in 1714, a new style was needed for this coming new age and new ruling class, which is what inspired them to build a new civilization that would rival that of ancient Rome, seeking a solution of antiquity. However, at times the conditions of the 18th century were considered grimy, over-crowed and generally unsanitary in England, so not quite ancient Rome. London, in particular, suffered terribly from dirt and pollution and this seeped into the housing.
Of course, in later years, as London accumulated more wealth, property began to improve in quality, especially in areas like Mayfair. Despite this luxury in the 18th century, only a tiny portion of the population lived in luxury. The rich built great country houses. A famous landscape gardener called Lancelot Brown created beautiful gardens. (He was known as 'Capability' Brown from his habit of looking at land and saying it had 'great capabilities'). The leading architect of the 18th century was Robert Adam. He created a style called neo-classical and he designed many 18th-century country houses. However, wealth around London has started to disperse and the incredibly wealthy are moving on. Townhouses and mansions of the past have been transformed into luxury living for the modern family today, such as a Carlton Court serviced apartment
The more ‘well off’ residents owned incredible houses with beautiful furniture, some of it veneered or inlaid. In the 18th century, much fine furniture was Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, and Thomas Sheraton. The famous clockmaker James Cox made exquisite clocks for the rich. Unfortunately, the poor had none of these things. Craftsmen and laborers lived in 2 or 3 rooms. The poorest people lived in just one room. Their furniture was very simple and plain.
Across the pond
Like England, American went through some changes during the 18th century. American house styles come in many shapes, some with architectural details borrowed from classical profiles, some unique to the New World. The story of these styles' evolution parallels the timeline of American history—a colony dependent on the Mother Country turns into an industrial nation with a unique design language. Two opposite houses can be seen here:
Log cabins – up to 1850’s
American log cabins were usually built by rural families in developing settlements, especially in the middle Atlantic colonies. They featured long walls and up to three rooms. The earliest settler houses were built quickly using wood, which was found in abundance in the surrounding areas. It was necessary that they were sturdy to protect against the harsh weather and wildlife.
Georgian – Late 1700’s
American Georgian architecture was based on some of the earlier European styles but, surprisingly, not the British Georgian style of the period. While the British emphasized Greek architecture, the Americans had a style of their own. Georgian houses could be found in every part of the colonies in the 18th century. These were usually considered for the wealthier individuals.