If you can imagine a storybook cottage straight out of a fairytale, then you have a good idea of what a Tudor home looks like. Tudor homes originated in England during the Tudor period (between 1485 and 1603) and ranged from smaller cottages to larger country manor homes.
“You know you are looking at a Tudor home when it has a steeply pitched roofline, all brick exterior, stucco accents with wood patterns, and arched doorways,” says Sandra Shurling, broker/owner at Re/Max in Greensboro, GA. “Also, the enormous chimney is a must in a Tudor home—not only was it used to heat the home but to also make a statement.”
Tudor homes are quaint and cozy and can still be found throughout the U.S. For historic home enthusiasts, there’s lots to love about Tudor homes. Here’s a little background on this classic architectural style.
A brief history on Tudor homes
Tudor architecture reflects a style that became popular in Europe during the reign of Henry Tudor VIII.
The style originated in England and Wales and combines Renaissance and Gothic design elements built with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. By the 1900s, architects brought the style with them from Europe to America and started a whole new Tudor revival.
Tudor-style homes started popping up across the U.S. around the mid-19th century and grew in popularity until World War II. Tudor homes reached their peak in popularity in the 1920s, and by the 1940s, less expensive, mass-produced housing developments started producing Tudor-inspired homes.
“Tudor-style homes became popular in the U.S. in the 1920s among the nation’s wealthy who were building near town centers,” says Shurling. “The elegance of a Tudor home was attractive to those wishing to display their wealth. The medieval style from England also gave a romantic feel to the home.”
Asymmetric design is a popular feature on a Tudor home. You can identify a Tudor home on the street by its steeply pitched roof with front-facing gables, mullioned windows made of leaded glass, and tall chimney protruding above the steep roof.
Tudor homes can have brick exteriors or half-timbering accents consisting of wooden boards with stucco or stone in between. They usually have embellished front doors that look like they belong on a castle with arches or decorative ornamentation.
Common interior features include wood beams, white stucco walls, and rounded doorways and windows.
“In today’s architecture, we do see a lot of the Tudor aspect used on large estate homes,” says Shurling. “Where I live on Lake Oconee [in Georgia], the enormous lakefront homes often use the steeply pitched roofline, rounded stucco doorways, and elaborate chimneys as statement pieces just as the original Tudor style became popular to show wealth.”
The American Tudor
In the early to mid-1900s, Tudors began sprouting up in the U.S. The American Tudor continued the trend of an asymmetric roof with pitched gables, a half-timbered frame, and a stucco or brick façade.
These types of homes were usually two stories, and since their materials were expensive, they were constructed in more well-to-do neighborhoods. That’s why they earned the nickname “Stockbroker’s Tudors” since most people during the Great Depression couldn’t afford these kinds of homes.
The American Tudor homes typically have off-center front doors and more ornate details around windows and doors. Tudor-style homes were particularly popular in the northern U.S. but can be found in suburbs all over the country.
“Tudor homes were very popular in northern climates with lots of snow. The steeply pitched roofline and sturdy construction can withstand the weight of the snow and not allow it to pile on the roof,” says Shurling.
Gavin Townshend, author of “The Tudor House in America, 1890–1930,” called the Tudor Revival the most popular style for U.S. homes between 1890–1930, next to the Colonial Revival.
Some famous Tudor homes include the Getty House in Los Angeles; the Nathan Moore House in Oak Park, IL; and the M. Lloyd Frank Estate, also known as the Frank Manor House, in Portland, OR. (This estate is now part of the campus of Lewis & Clark College.)
Since Tudor homes were popular and built in the 1920s, many of these types of homes are now considered historic and can be found near historic small-town squares.
“Where I once lived in downtown Monroe, GA, our street had several Tudor homes, and I never tired of walking past them,” says Shurling. “They draw you in, begging you to stare and dream of a different time.”