Georgian Style in Period Property

By Oliver Burns

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November 20, 2013|

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  • he Georgian era spans more than a century and takes in various influences from Palladian to Neo Classicism. Following on from our ‘Introduction to Georgian Style‘, we have picked out the quintessential elements that make up this grand period look at a glance.
Image via Oliver Burns

Whether a townhouse or country estate, original Georgian houses tend to have a traditional red (or yellow) brick or stone façade, with a sloping slate roof. Steps usually lead up to a panelled front door with a semi-circular filigree fanlight above, and canopy & pediments.

Sash windows are a stunning key feature of these historical treasures, with the tallest and most elegant windows on the main floors, decreasing in size to almost square windows on the top floor, where the servants lived. Typically all of the windows would have shutters.

Image sourced via The National Trust

Inside, Georgian colours started with bolder, more baroque inspired hues such as sage green and burgundy; but as the century progressed, the palette became lighter and lighter to showcase more neutral blues, greens, soft greys, dusky pinks and flat whites, which are very on trend right now.Pavilion Grey and Oval Room Blue from Farrow & Ball are amongst our favourite Georgian colours.

Image sourced via De Gournay

Walls were panelled, but from the mid 18th Century the trend was to only panel to dado height and the plaster above was either painted or papered. Wallpaper became hugely popular during this period; especially simple repeat patterned papers such as trefoils or impactful chinoiserie, imported from the Far East. Today, we use stunning chinoiserie wallpapers from De Gournay and Fromental in a lot of our projects.

Wallpaper collaborations between Oliver Burns & Cole & Son: Images via Oliver Burns

Towards the end of the 18th Century, simple block papers were introduced, and geometric patterns were very fashionable. For our Walpole Mayfair development, we exclusively collaborated with Cole & Son to create two bespoke wallpapers from previously unprinted Georgian prints from their archives.

A Robert Adam influenced fireplace: Image sourced via Chesneys

The fireplace was the focal point of the room, and it followed the strict rules of proportion of Georgian design. A variety of classical fireplace styles were introduced throughout the 18th Century, but decorative carving featuring swags, urns, ribbons and medallion motifs, flanked with classical pillars and inlaid marble panels were a defining feature.

Images via Oliver Burns

Interior architecture in the grandest Georgian homes showcased awe-inspiring plasterwork ceilings, columns and intricate mouldings featuring delicate motifs. When we restore period properties we often have to repair or reinstate these original features, so we aim to work with specialists like Stevensons of Norwich who are experts in restoring and reproducing historic plasterwork.

Gilded coffer ceiling: Image via Oliver Burns

Various decorative techniques were also used to great effect; creating opulent interiors designed to impress. Gilding (the application of thin layers of metal, most commonly gold and silver) was a favoured technique of the Georgians, and still is in luxury interiors. We often use specialist artisans to hand gild furniture, accessories and bespoke cabinetry to pick out and enhance detail as well as create dramatic architectural details on columns and coffered ceilings.

Chippendale Chairs in the Dining Room at Croft Castle: Image sourced via The National Trust

The famous cabinetmakers of the era were Chippendale and Hepplewhite. Furniture was delicate, and key pieces included sideboards, console tables with marble tops, Kneehole desks; drinks cabinets, card tables and glass fronted bookcases. Wing chairs and chairs with hoop or shield backs were typical. In the bedrooms and dressing rooms; chaise-longues, wooden four-poster beds and washstands featured.

A modern interpretation of classic Wing Chairs: Image via Oliver Burns

When restoring or working in Georgian properties, our goal is to breathe new life into the interiors, whilst respecting the history and original features of these gracious buildings. It’s a delicate balance, which rests on the brief from our client, and how historically significant a building and its contents is. Mixing classic and contemporary design works well, it just has to be done sensitively. Eminent architects and craftsmen of the day created beautiful, elegant homes that were designed to last and to please forever – a wonderful legacy which we want to continue and an inspirational philosophy that embraces our ethos of Thoughtful Luxury; to design with longevity in mind.

Written by SL

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