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The Georgian style can easily be identified through its classical details, symmetrical lines, and formal features. It was the main architectural style used to design houses in the English colonies in the 18th century, but many constructions passed the test of time and we can still admire them in their full beauty. It does not matter if we are talking about houses in Dublin, Bristol, Edinburgh or London, no one can mistake them with another style. 

In America, the Georgian style is considered the most popular one, people still continue to admire it for its decorative elements and symmetricity. The style is directly connected to the English architect Sir Christopher Wren. The best-preserved Georgian buildings are located in cities located close to the sea, like Williamsburg and Annapolis.

In Washington, the Gunston Hall is one of the best examples of this architecture. It was constructed for George Mason, one of the Founding Fathers who moved there in 1759. When constructing the Gunston Hall the architects inspired by the books they received from England. These books were imported from the UK in order to share recommendations of design when building houses in the colonies. These manuals were the ones that stood at the base of the Georgian style in the colonies because they offered complex details about the molding elements, fireplaces, doors, and windows.

Short history of Georgian architecture

The Georgian era covers the period from 1717 to 1830, years when George I and George II reigned. The main feature of Georgian architecture is the Palladian style. While Europe was highly influenced by the Rococo style, the UK and British colonies were focusing on the Georgian style. The main reason why England has decided to depart from the main European style is that they were focusing on building their empire and individuality. It was one of the wealthiest countries of the world and the growth of a new architectural style was not a surprise for anyone.

It is important to note that the formal elegance and restrained elements of Palladian design were in opposition with the excesses described by William Hogarth. Yes, it was a time of wealth for Britain but it also was a period of inequality, considering that the cultural refinement and the economy were based on the slavery phenomenon.

The Georgian style was based on the classical features promoted by the Italian Renaissance. Master architects like James Gibbs, Christopher Wren, and Inigo James first developed it in England. It slowly expanded to the colonies and it is often used to describe a time of prosperity and growth, a time propitious for formally constructed buildings to be designed.

What are the main characteristics of Georgian style?

The Georgian style has used many of the characteristics the Renaissance design promoted, door placement, window placement, rigid symmetry and the design of the interiors.

What materials were used?

According to the location where the house is constructed, the interpretations of the Georgian architecture varied. Northern states preferred to use shingle cladding, and wood. There were times when the corners of houses included wooden details or stone-imitating details. There were also times when wood was replaced with stucco and stone.

Southern states preferred to build houses made from stucco and stone even if the Georgian style promoted the use of brick. Brickwork was occasionally used for the first and second floors of buildings. In Virginia, we can find an example of Georgian brick details construction, the house from the Westover Plantation.

What model of roof does the style promote?

The Georgian style is known for the hip roof that sometimes even features dormers. Because the Georgian style promoted symmetric lines, there are very few cases when a gable roof was used. Christopher Wren was the main supporter of the hip roof; therefore, you can find many of his creations in the UK. Some Georgian houses are listed for sale, but you have to know from the beginning that they are considered exclusive homes and they are listed at pricey sums. An experienced real estate agent can find you a Georgian house for sale if you are interested in this style. However, considering that the style was used both on the UK mainland and in colonies, variations were sought for the hip roof, and in some cases, sport balustrades were used to enhance the trim and decorative moldings.

Types of windows

The standard solutions promoted double-hung sash windows, with lights and small panes. Because the frames were made from wood, some of them feature decorative elements. Georgians also included brick headers above their windows to boost the aesthetics of the building.

Characteristics of interior design

The Georgian characteristics were applied to both the interior and exteriors of a building. Moldings, doors, and alcoves were highlighted with plaster shapes and other similar embellishments. The design of the room was taken as a whole and the architrave, skirting boards, doors, ceiling details, and dado features shared the same shapes.

The Georgian doors were decorated with classical columns and precise details.  The interiors were the expression of wealth and taste, they feature garlands, vases, Roman-inspired niches, classical columns, urns, masonry figurines, and alcoves. The walls were decorated with paintings displaying Roman gods and goddesses and luxurious landscapes.

Example of an average Georgian house

A typical Georgian house featured two stories, and it was made from brick and stone. It had a symmetrical arrangement of the doors and windows and a side-gabled roof. Alongside the center door, other 5 openings were constructed. The front entrance was flanked with pilasters. The building also had multi-paned sliding sash windows, in most of the cases in a light 6 over 6 light pattern.

The houses designed in a Georgian style are the easiest to decorate and restore and this is why they are still available on the real estate market. They excel through their attractive and harmonious proportions, aspects that attract real estate investors. They are more extravagant at their lower floors and less in the areas used by domestics.