Why the Georgian townhouse still appeals to buyers
London’s architectural identity is inextricably linked with its Georgian heritage. When thinking of atypical Georgian townhouse, the mind immediately leaps to Spitalfields, Bloomsbury or Hampstead, or the grand yet understated building facades on, say,Bedford Square. But Georgian architecture, though more concentrated in inner London, can be found throughout the capital.
The London Borough of Fulham and Hammersmith offers many fine examples of Georgian architecture. This includes Hammersmith Terrace, an elegantly imposing row of Georgian townhouses dating from approximately 1750, while the streets leading off from the Fulham Road and the King’s Road also entertain a varied selection of Georgian buildings.
As a place in which to live, the Georgian townhousehas provedenduringly popular. But this wasn’t always the case. Georgian properties fell out of favour for a time in the 1960s and 70s, with many lying vacant. As a result, many such buildings were demolished.
The appeal of the Georgian terrace
David McKinstry, Secretary at The Georgian Group (a conservation organisation) and an architectural historian, in pinpointing the reason for the enduring appeal of the Georgian townhouse, said: “Modern owners most often admire the sense of ‘good’ proportions; rooms that feel comfortable to live in, not only physically but visually”.
With Georgian terraces, regardless of size the general floor plan is versatile, which is why, McKinstry says, it “has endured to be adapted by the Victorians and Edwardians, and into the 20th century”.
This is true. With the Georgian townhouse, the design layouts are simple and symmetrical. Rooms are square and therefore easier to furnish, and easier to live in. This layout has been carried through into the eras which followed, and a Georgian townhouse still adapts well to the way in which we live today. Neo-Georgian properties are not uncommon, either.
A Georgian terrace also has plenty of ‘curb appeal’. Georgian property facades are distinctive, while their clean lines and generously-sized sash windows are strikingly attractive.
Georgian architecture draws its inspiration from Ancient Rome and Greece. As such, it is celebrated for its classical proportions, uniformity, symmetrical rooms, high ceilings, cornicing, sweeping staircases, and sash windows, sometimes with internal shutters.
The bone structure of Georgian properties is very appealing, especially when you consider the sense of space created by the high ceilings and grand proportions, while the large casement windows allow in plenty of natural light – and light-filled, spacious properties are what most of us look for.
Buying a Georgian Property
Georgian properties are very adaptable for modern living, so if you like the style of this era, don’t worry that living in such a property will be impractical. If you do buy a Georgian property, remember that a sensitive extension is usually possible, whether that be extending into the basement (this has proved popular, particularly in Hammersmith and Fulham, for homeowners seeking to expand), extending into the attic space, or a rear extension. A Georgian property can take a rear extension, whether that be a modern-style extension or an extension that’s in-keeping with the period.
Another benefit of buying a Georgian property is that your modern appliances or furniture won’t look out of place. A Georgian backdrop is a flexible one, and the interiors will complement any style of furnishings and furniture.
Period homes retain their value because the style is enduringly popular. Let’s face it, Britain is obsessed with homes that were built in the past. The homes built during the Georgian era are highly celebrated – and will doubtless prove a good property investment.