Good Bones: English Country

This is a warm and cozy style with gobs of character, plenty of nostalgia and Old World Charm. The person drawn to it has a flair for the extraordinary. These homes embrace a bit of random informality as the result of additions and alterations over time – all attractions to escape from the mundane for this home buyer.

The English Country house is a warm and inviting abode; a sharp contrast to the cold, gray climate it originates from. The exteriors are predominantly masonry as protection against the harsh winds from the North Sea. This includes both brick and stone often mixed playfully together. Other materials include cedar shake shingles in the gables and on dormers. The Tudor variations of the style include the signature heavy timber accents surrounded by stucco.

Characteristic features include steeply pitched roof with gables “clipped” to create “Jerkin-heads” or clipped hips. Roofs are often punctuated with dormer windows – sometimes eyebrow dormers. Windows are typically tall with small panes, sometime diamond in shape. You may also find a dominant chimney elaborately clad in brick, often in a playful and eccentric pattern. This is a very popular house in Texas where skilled brick masons use a variety of brick patterns including herringbone and basket weave.

As you consider combinations of brick and stone, keep in mind that one material should be dominant and the other more passive. This will create a complementary blend. Avoid choosing a busy pattern in both the brick and the stone. I prefer stone with a larger profile such as field stone paired with the brick. Ply Gem’s new slate roof tile is a beautiful and effective way to top off the house. Of course to be truly authentic, you would use a two foot deep thatch roof – but let’s not get carried away.

As for colors, I love the warmth of amber gold paired with teak brown, Island Pearl trim and a blue shutter. For a more playful look, try a light yellow color like Delray Sand, paired with a muted green like Irish Thistle, Dover White trim and a red shutter. Don’t forget to use a darker window frame where appropriate. Nothing defeats the warmth of an English Country home like dark trim around white windows – yuck!

This old world style is far from stuffy. On the contrary, it is bold, sophisticated and exudes effortless elegance; a homebuyer of the same caliber will find their match in the English Country home.