By Brad Litz
Real Estate Developer, Broker & Appraiser
The respect for the history of our neighborhoods is always evident when talking with neighbors. Thus, I thought I would take the opportunity to discuss some of the more influential and common styles of architecture in the area. To liven it up a bit, I’ll include some fun facts and easy ways to spot each style so that you can impress your children with your vast knowledge as you drive them through the neighborhood discussing the pedigree of homes (not that they will care, but it can be self-gratifying).
The first of which style to discuss is the Tudor Revival, which most of us, including me, call an English Tudor. However, my friend Amy, a studied architectural historian, will always correct me and insist I use the word revival. So, since original Tudor architecture dates back to roughly the 16th century and most of our neighborhood was developed in the early 20th century, Revival it is.
Tudor houses are typically made of stone, brick or stucco and many have half timbering, which could be considered the most characteristic and obvious feature of a Tudor house. Half timbering is the use of rough looking beams with stucco in between. You often find this on the portion of the house close to the roof, but don’t be fooled into thinking a Tudor house must have half timbering, as many do not (this tidbit of information will make you sound the most intelligent when having a common dinner table discussion about architecture, as I’m sure most of you do quite often).
A more defining trait is the Tudor arch, a common feature on many Tudor houses that is used on doors, doorways and windows. Typically the windows in Tudor houses are long and vertical, and they are often paired, often made from leaded glass and comprised of several tiny windowpanes.
The most interesting bit of information about Tudor houses is that they rarely have symmetrical floor plans or façades and, as stated by several sources, they are supposed to look as if they grew from the ground. I’ll be confirming that with several sources, but I find it very interesting. As well, it was common to a call a Tudor house a ‘stockbrokers’ house’ due to its popularity at the height of Tudor Revival mania from 1900 to 1940. Stay tuned next month for the highly anticipated discussion on Colonial Architecture (its going to get crazy!).