Victorian houses, grand or humble, typically are solidly built and simply configured. Inside, the 19th-century homes were originally built with interesting features, such as sash windows, ceiling medallions, cast iron fireplaces, molding and tall baseboards. But these details have not always been appreciated. In decades past they often were ripped out and replaced with cheap modern materials in a bid to bring the homes up-to-date.
Today, though, a more considered approach is the norm. We want to preserve or reinstate original features to bring character to our homes without compromising on contemporary style and functionality. Often this means marrying hallways, living rooms and bedrooms bursting with authentic character with a highly efficient kitchen and bathroom. But there are other ways of celebrating a Victorian home’s ancestry without living in a museum piece. Here’s how.
Say yes to sash windows. Victorian homes were originally typically fitted with simple sash windows. If you have original ones, repairing and waterproofing them can help them live a long and beautiful life. Also consider upgrading sashes with double glazing; numerous companies can fit double-paned units into existing frames. Alternatively, there are companies that can manufacture authentic replacements.
Preserve original floorboards. Homeowners are as obsessed with original boards today as they were a few decades ago, when it became fashionable to rip up carpeting and show off the wood beneath. Even battered and worn boards can be repaired and patched, so seek renovation advice before giving up on your Victorian originals.
Celebrate a ceiling medallion. Original features such as ceiling roses are great assets, but you can bring them gloriously up-to-date. Why not juxtapose a contemporary light fitting with a traditional plasterwork medallion? In this living space, the lattice design of the shades throws interesting shadows onto the ceiling, drawing the eye up, so you can’t fail to spot the original features.
How to Gently Bring a Victorian Home Into the 21st Century