Making the most of your Georgian home
Built between 1714 and 1820, the Georgian period home is the most lusted after in Britain.
Perhaps it's our love for all things Austen which makes us yearn for the kind of house in which we could imagine Mr Darcy moodily lurking - or maybe we just love the clean lines, high ceilings and symmetrical proportions which make Georgian architecture lighter and more typically attractive.
Whatever the reason, according to estate agents Savills, Brits will typically pay a whopping 43% premium for a Georgian home over any other - even the thatched chocolate box country cottage.
So if you're one of the lucky owners of an Austen-era property, what do you need to know to make the most of its enviable looks?
Look After Your Plasterwork
If there are three things that typify a Georgian room, it's ornamental cornices, coving and ceiling roses. If yours have been removed or damaged consider reinstating them - this can be a very costly exercise; so if you can't afford to do it properly (using an expert), don't do it at all.
It's also very important to look after any plasterwork you do have and, perhaps surprisingly, most damage can come from above so beware stripping floors or having building work done in rooms above ornate plasterwork.
Additionally it should be remembered that despite the modern fashions for 'picking out' plasterwork in a complimentary colour that in Georgian times this was not normally done, worth considering if you wish to have a home in keeping with its period.
Beware Brass Furniture
Many retailers will sell brass knobs, hinges and knockers as 'Georgian' or even advise you that shining brass door furniture was typical of the era. However, more often than not Georgian homes would have been fitted with black painted cast iron door furniture.
Equally letterboxes were a Victorian invention (although practicality may override authenticity on this one!) while most doors would have been fitted with one large, rounded central knob rather than a handle.
To find authentic door furniture visit a reclamation yard or take advice from a restoration specialist.
Retain Original Features
Important in any period home are the features such as fireplaces, windows, staircases and floorboards which help in dating a home and, more importantly, give it character.
In recent years 'period features' have become as desirable a selling point as extra space, gardens and garages. As with original plasterwork other features should be kept in as original a state as possible and repaired only by qualified and experienced professionals.
If you should need to replace or reinstate items try reclamation yards or online auction houses before installing reproduction items - these can look unconvincing and, as an example, Georgian floorboards can be extremely hard to replicate due to their unusual proportions.
Let Your Personality Shine Through
Provided your home isn't a listing building you can, within building regulations do whatever you like with it. It can be tempting with any historic building to slavishly restore and decorate, paying minute attention to specific historical detail. As Le Corbusier said: 'a house is a machine for living in' - so remember to use your own taste and needs to make the most of your Georgian home.