Tudor Revival and English Cottage Style

Tudor Revival and English Cottage Style

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Tudor Revival and English Cottage Style

Medieval style in America

In 1928, in the Builder's Home Catalog, you would have found the following

description of this style:

"The soaring, evanescent spirit of Gothic architecture seems to have little to do with domestic buildings. And in actuality it is impossible to find such salient features as high vaulted ceilings, delicate buttresses and real stained glass windows short of a mediaeval castle. Yet if we look at it in a broader way, if we remember that the desires for buoyant freedom, for romance itself is at the core of Gothic architecture we can find some domestic expression of it. Chief among these are the half timber houses of Tudor and Elizabethan England.

The principle behind the Gothic home is one of frankness. That is the exterior is a frank expression of the interior. The floor plan is first laid out and, regardless of its intricacy, the exterior is made to reveal what it encloses. Thus the Gothic style is the most flexible of all. Though symmetry is sacrificed it is more than made up for in the subtle balancing of parts. The finished result, if carefully watched, will be a beautiful composition of shapely architectural forms, varied wall surfaces, projecting casements and rich, decorative detail. For the expression of one’s personality in a home, nothing could be more pliable, and in the end satisfying."

An outgrowth of the Queen Anne style favored for its storybook charm and design versatility, the Tudor Revival style was popular in many areas of the US from 1915 to about 1940. Its impact may have been as modest as a single steep dormer on a small house to a grand medieval manor. This style and its cousin—the English Cottage—continues to be extremely popular and still influences contemporary American architecture.

The Tudor Revival is found in homes both small and palatial. The cottage-style variant is generally smaller and more common. It is frequently found in house pattern books of the 1920s and 30s.

English cottage styleDescription

The Tudor and English Cottage style is notable for its steeply pitched, cross-gabled roof. Decorative half timbering is common in the gable and second story. The windows are relatively tall and slender with multi-pane glazing separated by either wood or lead muntins. Chimneys are very large and commonly decorated with ornate chimney pots.

Several different siding treatments are common including brick, stucco, stone, and wood shingle or clapboard. On the balloon framework of the 20th century, brick was particularly popular and various siding combinations are commonly seen.

Roofs are found in most roofing materials but the most interesting variation is the false thatched roof where the roofing material is rolled around the eaves. The effect created is very charming and effectively mimics the thatched roofs of English country cottages. Less common is the parapeted gable.

Windows, another distinctive feature, are often casement types opening out as well as the more common double-hung window. Multiple windows are arranged in ribbons across the façade. Sashes are multi-paned with lead or wood muntins.

General Characteristics

Typically, Tudor or English Cottage style homes have a combination of the following characteristics:

  • One-and-one-half to two stories
  • Asymmetrical plan
  • Cross-gabled, medium to steeply pitched roof, sometimes with clipped gables
  • Half-timbering
  • Arrangements of tall, narrow windows in bands; small window panes either double-hung or casement
  • Over scaled chimneys with decorative brickwork and chimney pots
  • In the English Cottage, a steeply gabled, enclosed entry is common
  • Cozy, irregularly-shaped rooms

House Plans - Examples of the Tudor Style

  • Radford Design No.543 An Early example of the half timbering found on Tudor Style homes - 1903.
  • Bilt-Well Model 4230 A Tudor Cottage with clipped gables - 1924.
  • The Westmoreland A Tudor style English Cottage - 1926.


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  • Thatching

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A thatched pub (The Williams Arms) at Wrafton, near Braunton, North Devon, England

Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge (Cladium mariscus), rushes and heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost, local vegetation. By contrast in some developed countries it is now the choice of affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.



Thatch during renovation.

Inside view of an Inca roof in one of the few reconstructed buildings of Machu Picchu

The tradition of thatching has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years, and numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used in England over the past three centuries survive in archives and early publications.

In equatorial countries thatch is the prevalent local material for roofs, and often walls. There are diverse building techniques from the ancient Hawaiianhale shelter made from the local ti leaves, lauhala[1] or pili grass of fan palms to the Na Bure Fijian home with layered reed walls and sugar cane leaf roofs and the Kikuyu tribal homes in Kenya.[2][3] The colonisation of indigenous lands by Europeans greatly diminished the use of thatching.

Thatch has probably been used to cover roofs in Europe since at least the Neolithic period, when people first began to grow cereals. Wild vegetation, especially water reed (Phragmites australis), was probably used before this but no records or archaeological evidence for this have survived ”.[4]

Early settlers to the New World used thatch as far back as 1565. Native Americans had already been using thatch for generations. When settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, they found Powhatan Indians living in houses with thatched roofs. The colonists used the same thatch on their own buildings.[5]

In most of Europe and the UK, thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, and in many towns and villages, until the late 1800s. The commercial production of Welsh slate had begun in 1820 and the mobility which the canals and then the railways made possible meant that other materials became readily available. The number of thatched properties actually increased in the UK during the mid-1800s as agriculture expanded, but then declined again at the end of the 19th century because of agricultural recession and rural depopulation. Gradually, thatch became a mark of poverty and the number of thatched properties gradually declined, as did the number of professional thatchers.

Thatch has become much more popular in the UK over the past 30 years, and is now a symbol of wealth rather than poverty. There are now approximately 1,000 full time thatchers at work in the UK, and thatching is becoming popular again because of the renewed interest in preserving historic buildings and using more sustainable building materials.

[edit]Thatch material

  • A closeup of the thatching.Bundling technique used in straw thatching.
  • Inside view of a straw-thatched house.Outside layer of moss and lichen growing on thatch.


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