Are you lucky enough to have any of these original features in your Victorian home?
The windows may rattle and the heating bills may be through the roof, but those of us who live in a Victorian terrace wouldn’t swap it for anything else. Here’s why…
Disagree? Then you might prefer our 6 reasons to love your modern new-build home
1. Sash windows
PVC windows may save you money on your energy bills but, let’s face it, they’re not much to look at. A traditional sash window, on the other hand, is a work of art, especially if you’re lucky enough to own one with its original shutters.
If all that escaping heat is weighing on your mind, you can always insulate them with sliding secondary glazing. Don’t try to double glaze original Victorian windows because the glazing bars will probably be too thin and you’re likely to end up with misting between the panes.
2. Encaustic tiles
It’s one of the tensest moments in any Victorian homeowner’s renovation project. You gently tease up the corner of the hideous 1970s carpet in the hallway and tentatively peer underneath. Your heart races as you glimpse a flash of terracotta and blue… then you rip up the entire carpet to reveal a pristinely preserved set of Victorian encaustic tiles. Huzzah!
Well, that’s the dream anyway. More often than not you’ll be faced with a fair few chipped or missing pieces, but fear not. A tile restoration specialist will be able to return your tiles to their 19th-century glory.
3. Period fireplaces
If you’re not lucky enough to find original Victorian tiles on the floor, you might find some around your fireplace instead.
Victorian tastes were a lot fussier and richer than most modern-day homeowners’, but you can blend original tiles into even the most contemporary of schemes by picking out one of the more subtle shades and repeating it in a couple of accessories or pieces of furniture.
4. Ornate cornicing
New-builds rarely give any thought to ceilings, but the Victorians were sticklers for top-to-bottom decoration detail.
Elaborate cornicing, coving and ceiling roses are all design delights that you might find in a Victorian property. Some of these are real masterpieces of craftsmanship, and they help draw attention to the lovely high ceilings favoured by the Victorians, too.
5. Original floorboards
If you’ve got them, flaunt them. They’ll add warmth and texture to your scheme whether you strip them down to their natural tone or stain them to the colour you want. Keep them in tip-top condition with regular oiling, waxing or lacquering. Every couple of years should be enough. Just be sure to put non-slip pads under your rugs.
Breaking your wrist by slipping on your perfectly polished Victorian floor is one of the most embarrassingly middle-class reasons to end up in A&E.
6. Cellar space
While the Victorians used their cellars for storing coal and canoodling with the scullery maid (probably), today they are in a prime position to add extra living space to your home.
With the help of a clever architect, you can let in enough light to create a spacious kitchen, a guest bedroom suite or even a games room (guaranteed to please any teenagers in the house).
7. An outside loo
No, we’re not suggesting a return to the days of traipsing down the garden path in the dead of night clutching your loo roll, but if you have a defunct Victorian privy in your garden, think twice before knocking it down.
Not only are they handy for storing things like lawnmowers and bikes, but they also make great potting sheds or even laundry rooms thanks to the fact that they come complete with plumbing.
Do you love your period property?