Georgian Interior Design - A New Old House
image courtesy of Marta Hansen - Hansen Architects
Georgian influenced interior design begins with a motor court that circles around a fountain and drops you off at the stately main house. Columns and side lights flank a front door that beckons you into a world steeped in the meticulous details of more romantic times. But as you enter, the home’s story is carried forward into the present by a series of comfortable and spacious rooms.
The homeowners prefer traditional, and because the site was close to the water, environmental restrictions called for a home with a relatively small footprint. The neighbors caused more complications that nobody anticipated. “We had to design around an eagle’s nest,” says architect Marta Hansen, “we couldn’t plan any construction for the breeding and nesting season.”
What eventually emerged from design meetings was an updated rendition of a Georgian Five Part Colonial House Type. A popular housing configuration of the 1770’s, the style is typically broken down into a main house, a detached kitchen and parlor connected by two hyphens or breezeways. In colonial times the kitchen was separated in case of fire and the breezeways helped cool interior spaces. Here's a look at an authentic Five Part (see below)...
The design team riffed on the basic model, producing a two-story main house that holds an entry hall, formal dining room and kitchen. The single story living room occupies one wing with a hyphen leading towards the guest house. The master suite is in another wing with a second hyphen leading towards the garage. By breaking the four bedroom, five bathroom, 7000 square foot house into interconnected parts, massing was kept to a minimum while green space was maximized. The brick walls of the main house are complemented by the wood siding used on the wings.
In the new Georgian, exterior facades were purposely mixed up, creating the effect of an old house that was tastefully added onto over the years. The design illusion is enhanced by a keen eye for the authentic nuances of two hundred year old building techniques. "We used a Flemish-bond brick coursing for the main house that you can find on houses in historical Annapolis,” says Hansen.
The basement door was hidden in plain view on the front of the house, because that’s where it would have been in the 1700's. The presumption was that most guests would be arriving by water, so putting the utilitarian door on the street side would make more sense. The construction schedule lasted two and a half years as the builders worked around the resident eagles and waited for the right stone mason to become available.
images courtesy of Celia Pearson
The kitchen was designed around river views as appliances were cordoned to the interior wall. Upper cabinets were reduced to a minimum to increase window space which floods the room with natural light. Stainless steel was used sparingly, traditional colors and decorating makes it all work. Even a 21st century convenience – the island, makes perfect sense.
One of the homeowners favorite spaces in the home nestles in a rounded corner of the master suite. The cutting room serves as an indoor potting shed, an area to indulge her passion for plants. Note the vaulted beadboard ceiling and the same material used as wainscoting that's run high on the walls. Traditional, dark stained cabinetry and stone tile floor and a farmers sink ties the space together. The result is a striking rendition of Georgian inspired interior design.
The master bath held to the traditional vision but avoided fussy by using a tasteful, limited pallet of white granite countertops, painted cabinetry. wainscoting, and yellow walls. This modern-era
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