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Roots of Style: Georgian Homes Offer Familiarity Through the Ages

Familiarity comforts us. It is no surprise that when we choose a home, we often search for the familiar or an association in the context of our families. This could be one reason that Georgian-style houses are still common and popular, especially in the eastern U.S. They have a long and successful history.


Georgian architecture began in England as the result of the Renaissance's reaching the British islands in the middle of the 16th century, after its emergence from Italy and succession in France. The Georgian interpretation of classical architecture flourished in England in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, coinciding with the establishment of the American colonies.

Americans built in the Georgian style for most of the 1700s, and it was not until the 1780s that the nearly identical Adam style began to take over.

In the simplest terms, a Georgian-style house has a centered entrance door and two multipaned sash windows on each side of the entrance, sometimes with five aligning windows on a second level. Most but not all are two stories, and in some cases they are three, in addition to there being urban townhouse versions.

In this 20th-century Georgian, a primary, symmetrical front section (or elevation) is flanked by varying but still ordered sections. The closely related Adam style replaced Georgian at the turn of the 19th century. Classical revival, the style with large porches with prominent columns, supplanted Adam in the middle of the 1800s.

Early-20th-century tastes revived many earlier styles, including Georgian, while the advent of historic preservation and restoration created an affectionate following.

Roots in classical architecture and a strong and popular history continue to support traditional design through present times. Even if you don't live in a traditional-style house, chances are there is one close by.


Steven Randel
California licensed architect & contributing writer at HOUZZ specializing in residential projects throughout the state.