Million dollar homes - Gorgeous Georgians

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you want to live like a king why not go for a house named for one - Georgian-style homes are stately, reserved and, well, regal.
Before the American Revolution, many wealthy colonists adopted this architectural style that was widespread in England at the time. It was called Georgian in honor of King George the First and saw its highest expression in Bath Spa, in southern England, where the


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- If you want to live like a king why not go for a house named for one - Georgian-style homes are stately, reserved and, well, regal.

Before the American Revolution, many wealthy colonists adopted this architectural style that was widespread in England at the time. It was called Georgian in honor of King George the First and saw its highest expression in Bath Spa, in southern England, where the rich came to enjoy the waters.

In The Colonies, Georgian homes tended toward the simple and the most basic model employed a strict symmetry: An entranceway located dead-center on the long front facade flanked by two windows on each side. The five second-floor windows posed directly above their first-story counterparts with the center window above the front door.

Much of the limited amounts of decoration in Georgians concentrated around the front entrance, which usually sported a decorative crown with a pedimented or arched roof and may be set off with fan lights and supported by classical columns or pilasters.

The symmetry is blatant. Cut a typical Georgian exactly in half front to back and you have two mirror images.

See 6 Georgian homes on the market now.

Some of the fancier Georgians sported third-story dormered windows on a gambrel roof. Dental moldings, looking like widely spaced incisors, often trimmed the eaves. The sash windows featured many small panes and frequently came complete with shutters.

While the typical Georgian exterior conveyed a sense of dignity, even austerity, the interiors exhibited elegance and richness. The use of carefully carved woodwork and moldings, paneled doors, built-in cabinets, decorative plaster work and medallions added craft touches to otherwise spare rooms.

Georgians were the design of choice for the few colonists who could afford them during the 1700s and later. The name honored not only King George the First, the first Hanover King to rule England, but his descendents George II, III and IV.

George III ruled during the revolution and after the United States achieved independence, Georgian design faded gradually from favor. The emerging style of the day, Federal, incorporated many Georgian themes but added such decorative detail as oval windows and Greek and Roman motifs, all topped off by an American eagle over the front door.

New England and the South boast some of the finest examples of historic Georgian homes. The shipping merchants and sea captains of coastal New England had a particular affinity for them, as did the early plantation owners of Virginia and the Carolinas.

Today, some of the old Georgians have been altered, given a Federal makeover or saddled with a wing or rear extension. For some critics, these asymmetrical features detract from the design's purity. But for most, the undeniable charms of these old beauties still shine through.

Photos: See Six Georgian homes on the market now.

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