Living in an older property that has been beautifully restored can feel like a privilege. While most of us would never dream of giving up our mod cons, the echoes of lives gone by in older properties can be just wonderful.
Sure, modern houses are more energy efficient, open plan, and have enough electric sockets in the right locations. But you can’t visit a period property and fail to ben mesmerised by its character and charm.
My Aunt and Uncle live in an absolutely stunning farm house in the Surrey countryside, which is well over 200 years old - it is truly breathtaking, but takes an exceptional amount of work in it's upkeep. It is a labour if love for sure - but I know one thing, there's nothing more wonderful than snuggling up at Christmas time in front of their huge fireplace surrounded by beams and low ceilings. It's truly a magical place and we are blessed to be able to join them there each Christmas, we also held our wedding reception in their huge barn back in 2012.
Our Wedding reception back in 2012 - held in our family's barn
Here are just a few of the best bits of British housebuilding in the last 150 years:
Best bits of Victorian houses
A Victorian house is a description given to the style of property that was typically built from the mid-1800s and into the Edwardian period. Typically these large houses were gothic-looking with high ceilings. Ornate fireplaces and tiling are important features to preserve for the true Victorian look. The Edwardian period saw the introduction of installed plumbing and wiring, but these would nbo longer be up to standard. Floorboards should be protected against woodworm and other problems and then sanded and coated with a varnish. Other features to add original Victorian style to your home would be to add chandeliers and ceiling roses.
Best bits of 1930s houses
By the 1930s many houses were built with a bathroom inside the house, rather than in the back garden. The properties tended to be smaller than years gone by, and better quality construction was used. Bay windows and chalet bungalows became popular. Homeowners with lots of money had the most attractive designs on large suburban plots. For those interested in the pre-war era, these properties are perfect. Look out for those that retain their second reception room and gabled porch.
Best bits of Post-War houses
Once World War II was over, there was an explosion of house building. Many home properties in London were flattened by the bombing. Others were simply condemned. Houses were built in terraces, and almost all had a good sized garden. These were filled by tenants with beautiful flowers and an abundance of fresh vegetables from their veggie patches. All houses were built with electricity services, and many had small, simple fireplaces for coal burning. If you live in a post-war house you'll enjoy a good sized garden and most likely some additional outhousesyy that many of these properties came with.
Best bits of the 60s and 70s houses
The 1960s and 70s saw the rise of the big building firms. Entire estates were planned to offer modest terraced and semi-detached housing. With these houses you need to watch out for cracked lintels and other signs of hurried building, as a lot of these properties went up fairly speedily and without as many rules and regulations as the building trade has today. Gas fittings were installed as standard in most houses. This made it possible to do away with fireplaces in all bedrooms. Light was a really important factor too: many of these properties enjoy enormous picture windows, almost the width of the room. Some designs were quite ‘space-age’ in style. The modern style of the time was unlike anything seen in the previous decades. Some custom properties are extraordinary in their appearance. Look for original kitchen furniture and funky weatherboarding designs.
We all have a favourite era when it comes to properties. And many of the houses built today include some features of the designs that were popular back then. The older properties may have been updated for today’s standards but restoring a period feature could add value to your home and will certainly help it to stand out from the rest.
Love the house you’re in.