Go To The Source-Georgian

Different styles of architecture become popular and are quickly copied by home designers who water the essence of the style down so that it can be applied to standard “builder plans” with a minimum of fuss. These bastardized abominations are called by the same name as the design inspiration, but they really are nothing more than the builder’s standard floor plan with a few details stuck on. This is actually “green” design, because so little thought is required, the designer can turn the lights off early, thereby saving oodles of carbon.

But most styles do have an origin and looking a little deeper into an architectural style will lead a designer to a purer and more beautiful source. Today, let’s look at “Georgian” and close cousins “Adams” and “Early Classical Revival”. In the 17th and 18th centuries, British architects were discovering buildings of the Italian Renaissance and their ideas made their way to America by way of “builders companions” (the plan books of their day). They can be simple or elaborate, appear symmetrical (even when they’re not) and rely on good proportion and proper execution of detail for their appeal.

How to design a “Georgian” house. Step 1- Select your “go-to” floor plan. Step 2- Add vaguely “Georgian” detail such as brick or a column. Step 3- There is no Step 3. You’re done!

Another builder special “Georgian” home. Note the tower to the right of the overscaled entry. This will make the transition to “French Country” a snap!









Dear Designer or Prospective Home Owner, please don’t allow yourself to to be associated with such! Although people will smile and tell you how they’re sure that “you must love your house”, they’re just being polite. Below are  few of my favorite examples of correct and proper Georgian architecture.


The Hammond-Harwood House, classic American Georgian

Small, simple, Georgian perfection!

Marble Hill on the Thames in London.


















And here are a few examples of our designs:



About More Than Architects

I’m Rick Clanton. Michael Ruegamer and I are architects and the principals of Group 3 Design on Hilton Head Island, SC. We provide architecture and interior design services for homes in the US and the Caribbean Islands.
This entry was posted in architecture, classical, design, home design, traditional. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Go To The Source-Georgian

  1. Vernon says:

    I call that other stuff “rubbish Georgian” to distinguish it from the real deal. The rubbish architecture I have to drive by every day is just visually cacophonous, a jumble of unrelated forms. Georgian, including the little one here, nicely balances imposing and inviting.

  2. How do you feel about the modern infrastructure combined with some style and even some classical influences?

    • Traditional and classical architecture has alway incorporated “contemporary” technological advances. Windows being the earliest I can think of. Bathrooms, electricity, home automation.

      Also, peoples lives are different. Open kitchens and family rooms along with phasing out formal dining rooms and living rooms come to mind.

  3. Michelle says:

    What is more suitable to a big family, modern style house or the traditional design?

  4. I don’t think that’s for me to say… I see my primary function to advise not to direct. My personal preference is traditional design and that’s give an owner a broad range of choices appropriate to the context of the climate, the neighborhood and local history.

    I really like early modern architecture- Bauhaus architecture (Google it!) because it’s clean, simple and doesn’t abandon classical proportions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s