The Georgian Style Home:
A Classic American Favorite Exudes Elegance and Curb Appeal
Perhaps rivaling the Colonial style in popularity, Georgian style architecture - with its clean lines and symmetrical balance - has remained a classic and enduring favorite in house design since its introduction to the American colonies in the 1700s. Named after the first four Kings George, who ruled Great Britain in succession from 1714 to 1830, Georgian architecture – and ultimately, Georgian house plans – was greatly influenced by British architect Sir Christopher Wren.
Ranging in size from estate mansions and plantations to smaller family homes and vacation getaways, Georgian house plans have survived numerous re-inventions and regional interpretations throughout several eras and generations. Georgian style homes are rectangular, two-story structures usually made of wood or brick, with balanced windows, gardens, and landscaping around the property.
Symmetry and balance are illustrated in two Georgian style homes. Top: This 2-story, 3-bedroom house (Plan #137-1317) includes a Great Room (kitchen/living/dining areas), sitting room, study, and 3 fireplaces. Bottom: This roomy 4-bedroom home (Plan #105-1054) has a traditional brick exterior, complete with matched columns and windows.
Features of the Georgian House Style
If you stroll around your neighborhood, you can recognize Georgian house styles by their distinct features. Watch out for the “boxy” look, and remember that symmetry and balance define these designs. Here are the other basic characteristics of Georgian home plans:
1. Multi-paned windows symmetrically arranged to frame the front door
2. Paired chimneys
3. An extended walkway leading to the main door
4. Short covered porch
5. Archways, pediments, or decorative element above the central door
6. Sometimes, a white picket fence
7. A gabled or hipped roof with dormers
8. Interior floor plans that often repeat the exterior’s focus on symmetry
9. A center hall and staircase often flanked by formal rooms on each side
This 5-bedroom, 3-bath Georgian style home shows most of the design characteristics: multi-pane windows; a long, paved walkway leading to the front door; a short covered porch; landscaping around the property; plus a white picket fence (Plan #109-1050).
Early Beginnings of the Georgian Style Design
One of the most adapted and imitated architectural styles, the Georgian house plan took flight in colonial America in the mid-1700s. It was prevalent in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Southern states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
The Georgian design originated in England during the reign of the King Georges. It was developed by English architects Christopher Wren, Indigo Jones, and James Gibbs, inspired by the Renaissance and ancient Greek and Roman architecture. Some of their concepts were based on the Renaissance’s models of rigid symmetry, window and door placements, and interior layouts.
Described as “the first architect-inspired style in America,” the Georgian design “arrived” in the colonies through British architectural pattern books. At the time, it was largely linked to the wealthy and privileged classes who could afford estate-like homes with elaborate landscapes and designs.
Much like all architectural trends, the Georgian style enjoyed its period of dominance – during colonial times and the Revolutionary War; a decline – after the revolution; and a revival – that continues to this day.
Beautiful landscaping around the property, symmetrical dormers, and columns on the front porch give this elegant Georgian house (Plan #206-1016) great curb appeal. Four bedrooms, breakfast nook, walk-in pantry, home office or theater, formal dining room, Great Room, and an impressive master suite are well-situated within the one-and-half-story brick home.
What about the Georgian Style Home Today?
With its elegant, classic lines, the Georgian house plan has broad appeal because of its timelessness and adaptability. People who love a sense of order, proportion, and history are drawn to its symmetrical elegance. Its architectural design lends itself to creating a home with impressive curb appeal in any neighborhood.
The Georgian design’s “box-like” shape lends to floor plans with flexibility for expansion and additional space. The style works for huge mansions built on several acres of land, smaller homes on narrow or sloped lots, and even townhomes in urban neighborhoods.
The photo above is a classic Georgian design (Plan #146-2292) with four bedrooms, a formal living room, and a family room, both flanking the foyer. An island kitchen features a dinette, where French doors open to a screened porch.
Not all Georgian style homes have to be on a grand scale. This modest two-story Georgian house (Plan #170-1303) – originally designed with 2 bedrooms – can be expanded for a growing family. Check out the gorgeous, landscaped front yard that shows a peek of the extended pathway. You have to love the symmetry and balance of this style!
If you love these homes from our collection – or the red brick residence in Driving Miss Daisy or the spacious house in the Home Alone movies – then the Georgian style is perfect for you.
This elegant red-brick Georgian-style home is the Winnetka, IL, where Kevin ruled in the Home Alone movies (photo credit: Home Alone House by anarchosyn under license CC BY-SA 2.0).
This classic Georgian Revival style house (Plan #137-1522) reveals the exterior symmetry and proportions that are the hallmark of a classic Georgian home. Once inside, the floor plan continues that symmetry – but also defines what makes it a Georgian Revival home – with a layout and rooms configured for modern living, including a large kitchen, a spacious Great Room, or gathering room; and a first-floor master bedroom suite.
Top: This 6-bedroom Georgian house has all the classic Georgian home design elements when viewed from the curb, creating an impressive and stately presence. Bottom: Once inside, you'd see that the designer has adapted the classic Georgian floor plan to work well for today’s active family. While the home still has a center hall with flanking rooms, a large gathering room, and essentially a separate kitchen, there's a large main-floor master suite with his and her closets as well as lots of space for outdoor living – and a 3-car garage (Plan #196-1023).