I count myself extremely lucky to be able to live in such an amazing house as we do, not only amazing in how it looks and feels, but because of it’s history and reflection of culture. It was built in around 1890 and withstood both world wars, Einstein, the Suffragettes, the inventions of mobile phones, generations of life, births, deaths, weddings and so many celebrations. As I sit here now think of all the others who have sat in this room before me, who they were, what they did etc – it’s very humbling.
So, in honour of all the beautiful period properties out there, I thought I would round up a few of my favourite, and one or two not so great features of living in a Victorian home.
The height and light you get from the ceilings is one thing that really sets period homes apart from the rest. Lovely big windows, grand curtain dressings and picture rails all add the extra special character, and gives you more opportunity to add drama and creativity to a room. Then, even when the ceilings aren’t 10ft tall and dramatically shrink at the back of the house the house rings true, which adds more charm and history to the house.
This is definitely the main detail for me that makes the difference, we were extremely lucky that ours came with an abundance of original features left. However, now there are so many restoration and reproduction companies out there that even if a house has been gutted over the years, you can add back some features such as the fireplaces, mouldings, ceiling roses, plasterwork, floorboards into the house. I love seeing the different features within period properties too such as the more individual relics like butler bells or pantries.
As I touched on a bit before, the history of the house : what it’s been through, it’s story, who lived here, what happened in the house etc. is another one of my favourite things. It’s crazy to think of all the different time periods that the house has lived through, all the different inventions and trends, how they might have affected the house and what the house looked like. There’s nothing I would love more than to be able to see how the house has been decorated throughout it’s life, most eagerly during the art Deco period and when it was first built. One thing about it’s history I’m not super keen to dwell on for so long is the probability that someone definitely died in this house, and may or may not be haunting it.
Another one of my not so favourite parts about the house, but admittedly does give it part of the charm, is that as it has been through so many decades, trends and renovations throughout it’s time means that it is a bit of a patchwork quilt. A job is never simple or as easy as it sounds, because you fix one thing and discover a whole different problem entirely, a picture can’t be moved without a massive hole being found behind it, or find someone’s bodge job in the past which then has to be rectified. No wall is straight, smooth or free from nobbles and bobbles (or bolts sticking out the wall), every door is jagged and tattered, floors are wonky and at different heights, but each one tells its story.
A final downside that I’m sure most other period home owners would tell you is that they are cold! With all the patchwork going on you’re sure to get gaps and draughts. So, just be sure to invest in some good heating, fires, hot baths and dressing gowns to keep cosy.
Would you ever live in a period home?