Good Bones: Georgian
As an architect, there’s nothing I enjoy more than analyzing the details of what makes a house unique and appealing. So, every few weeks, I pop in to the ProTalk blog with a post about a different architectural style and share the details that give it character.
Today, we’re talking about the Georgian style.
When I think of the Georgian architectural style, I think of a style that says, “I’ve made it and I’m here to stay. I’m not a ‘One Hit Wonder’.” It’s a formal style firmly grounded in tradition. As a style that dates back to the founding of our country, for some it conveys both comfort and strength. It is a style that has endured the test of time – just like our country.
The Georgian is typically symmetrical—very ordered and precise. It’s strong sense of order is a draw for some people, giving them a feeling of stability and presents itself in the repetition of details—shutters, columns and colors.
Beyond the strength and endurance of the style, I like its sense of formality – black tie formality; men in tuxes and ladies in long, elegant gowns. It is prim, proper and restrained. To avoid this style getting too stiff and rigid, I’m always looking for that finishing touch that completes the exterior, like the necklace that completes the formal gown or cummerbund for a tuxedo. It could be a Palladian window or a half round window in the gable. Adding a double-stacked porch adds a new dimension to the style and creates an outdoor living space. Don’t forget to explore a variety of handrail patterns for your porch.
While the style can be executed with a variety of building materials including stucco and siding, brick comes to mind for most people. I think the use of brick reinforces the sense of endurance and stability. The color of the brick can dramatically change the feeling of the style. Red brick signals ultra-traditional, while brown bricks give a modern adaptation of the style.
To capture the feeling of brick while using alternative materials, try deep saturated siding colors that mimic the density. I like Flint for the main body with Georgian Gray trim and Winestone shutters and accents. Or use Stone Mountain Clay with Island Pearl trim and black shutters and accents for a more modern spin on the classic style.
Windows play a dominant role in this style because of their placement, proportion and style. They are typically evenly spaced and line up from one floor to another. The proportion should be two-to-one – the height is double the width. Trimming the windows with keystones in the headers and shutters on either side further enhances the look of the windows.
Since the Georgian looks great with a variety of materials, it can be found throughout the country. Its enduring characteristics and sense of order bring comfort to many. Even more importantly, the style brings a sense of accomplishment and pride, giving the occupants a strong, confident façade. That’s a really good thing that shouldn’t be ignored.