Tudor style homes are some of the most popular homes around today, owing to their flexibility in terms of indoor floor plans, as well as their grandeur when seen from the outside. Historically, Tudors came in large and small sizes, and while the small ones resemble quaint, storybook cottages, it’s the large ones were truly impressive and memorable, and became synonymous with what you think of when you hear “Tudor style home.”
“The name of this style suggests a close connection to the architectural characteristics of the early 16th-century Tudor dynasty in England. But the Tudor houses we see today are modern-day re-inventions that are loosely based on a variety of late Medieval English prototypes.
Common features of Tudor-style homes include a steeply pitched roof, prominent cross gables, decorative half-timbering, and tall, narrow windows with small windowpanes.”
Though it is named and fashioned after the gabled homes of the Tudor era in English history, the style itself as we know it today was actually an architectural trend that originated in the United States around 1850, and continued to be immensely popular until after WWII, when they began to see a decline.
The reason for this decline had a lot to do with a shift in the American economy: As the fashion evolved, grander and grander styles of Tudor homes became the norm. Because of all the different materials required to construct these homes, and how decorative they are, they were very expensive to construct. In the 1920s, they were nicknamed “Stockbroker’s Tudors,” after the rich stockbrokers of the Roaring 20s who could afford to construct them.
After the Great Depression, the New Deal, and the war, the new American middle class emerged and grew at an intensely rapid pace. These new middle class families could easily afford styles of home made cheaper by early 20th century advancements in mass production, like the popular colonial style. However, the myriad of materials required for Tudor homes made it so that they were still too expensive for the average American family to afford, so they fell out of fashion.
If you’re enamored by the classic, Medieval, Shakespearean charm of Tudor style homes, buying one is certainly an option for you, especially in our area: Because of our often cold, rainy, snowy climate in the Northeast, these homes are far more common here than they are in other parts of the country. And they’re even more common on the Main Line, given the area’s beginnings as a country escape for many of the wealthier inhabitants of the Philadelphia area around the time that the train line came into use.
If you’re looking to buy a Tudor style home on the Main Line, please reach out to me by email or phone to set up an appointment, or even just to ask questions. Whether you’re a first-time buyer, or looking to move into a newer, bigger place, I’ll be happy to help you get into the house of your dreams in any way that I can. (And if you decide that a Tudor isn’t for you after all, I’ll be happy to help you find a style that does work for you, like a colonial, craftsman, or Ranch style home.)
If you want more expository information on Tudor homes, though, here’s a list of pros and cons of owning one.
The Pros and Cons of Owning a Tudor Style Home
- Unlike most homes, Tudors are known for their lack of symmetry from the outside. This lack of symmetry translates to a lot more freedom in terms of the layout inside the home. Some of them may even have secret rooms, or cool features like “servant” stairs that lead directly into the kitchen, or dumbwaiters. (Kids especially will love these features.)
- Because they fell out of fashion in the 40s and 50s, most Tudors you find nowadays will be older, and full of history. Some may even be on your local historical register, or else may have once been the home of a famous local. If you’re a lover of history, this is a definite plus.
- Many Tudors have slate roofs that are extremely durable, and will not weather as easily as other roofing materials.
- The homes are often large, with plenty of space for a growing family.
- The romantic, intricate style looks very beautiful and impressive from the outside: If you take pride in the facade of your home, and you’re they type of person who wants to light their house up at night, a Tudor style is perfect.
- With all their space, these homes are great for large families!
- These homes are very easy to renovate and customize due to their already asymmetric builds and solid construction.
- Their solid construction also means that they need less maintenance than other homes of comparable age – or even some more recently built ones, depending on how hurriedly they were constructed.
- Because of their aforementioned complex and expensive construction, Tudor homes are often more expensive to purchase than other homes of comparable size in different styles.
- It is not uncommon for the roofs, with all of their gables and dormers, to have issues with the valley flashing between them: This means that they sometimes have problems with leaks.
- Since many of the features in these homes were made with stucco (and a long time ago), they eventually begin to deteriorate and need repair. Keep an eye out for this if you see a listing for a Tudor style home that seems too good to be true – but also remember, that’s exactly why it’s so important to have the home inspected before you close on it.
- Because they’re usually older, it’s likely that a Tudor style home might need more repairs than a home that is new construction, or even one that was built in the last 30 to 50 years.
- If you don’t have a large family (or the ability to pay a cleaner,) owning a home as large as most Tudors are may prove to be a bit of a task when it comes to cleaning.