Victorian Houses Were Built to Last and Make an Ideal Home
There are thousands of Victorian houses in the UK. How can you renovate yours sympathetically, while still adding your unique stamp?
The world has progressed beyond all recognition over the past hundred years or so, and it is fair to say that most of the articles that were in everyday use in the early 20th century would be something of a culture shock if we were to try to use them today.
Clothes were heavy and uncomfortable, cars were charming but slow and unreliable, and as for communication – the telephone was at a similar level of development to the motor car, and today’s skype, snapchat and so on would seem like something from another planet.
Yet there was one thing that the Victorians definitely knew how to do as well as, and some would argue better than, today, and that was build homes. The fact that there are still so many thousands of Victorian houses standing today, along with their perennial popularity and fashionability tells its own story.
If you are among the thousands of homeowners giving a Victorian house yet another new lease of life, there are some important considerations, from the design of the windows to Victorian floor tiles, that will be in keeping with the period of the property, while ensuring modern day comfort and convenience.
Wooden sash windows can cause you to heave a sigh. In a restoration project, they are likely to be draughty, rotten and nigh-on impossible to open and close. They are also an important part of your home’s unique character, so what to do?
If the frames are rotten, you have little choice but to replace, but if they are basically sound, you would be amazed at the transformation that can be affected by getting them refurbished. Sash windows are designed to be refurbished every 10-20 years, but it is common to find they have had no work in three times as long. As well as making them work smoothly, you will also find that getting them refurbished manes them far less draughty.
You will find a variety of floor surfaces in Victorian homes, including hardwood, tiles and stone. Resist the temptation to install the ubiquitous laminate flooring, this is better kept for modern buildings. A more traditional parquet floor looks great and although it is more expensive, it will last a lifetime.
In kitchens and bathrooms, consider Victorian floor tiles to provide a surface that is low maintenance, hard wearing and simple to keep clean. Again, it will blend in perfectly, and visitors will be certain it has been there forever.
As we mentioned earlier, you will not be the first person to put your stamp on your home. Chances are it has been modified, modernised and remodelled many times over the years, and not always for the better. In the 1950s and 60s, homeowners started to install central heating systems. That’s all for the good, but they also had something of an obsession with removing and plastering over the fireplaces.
One of the biggest joys is unlocking something from your home’s past, and reinstating one or two of these is a great way to do it. This handy walkthrough is a great resource to show you how, and period fireplaces need not be expensive if you take the reclamation yard route.