Steep Multi-Gabled Roof Lines

Tudor’s steeply pitched roofs (thought to have evolved from earlier centuries’ thatched roofs) are well suited to regions such as England that endure lots of rain and snow. That’s why so many Tudor homes in this country show up in the Midwest, Northwest, and along the East Coast, although other regions certainly boast their fair share. Tudor roofs typically include side gables and dormer windows that let in natural light. And they’re often graced with massive brick or stone chimneys that are capped with elaborate chimney pots. 

“Noble” Exterior Materials

Built by prosperous homeowners, those early American Tudors tended to be constructed from “noble” cladding materials designed to last for a lifetime and beyond. Brick was a popular choice, with the first level often boasting an elaborate installation pattern, and the second story featuring stucco in combination with decorative half-timbering (see next slide). Some Tudor-style homes were built with stone walls enhanced by a decorative stone trim. These traditional building materials are complemented by color schemes of brown, buff, cream, and white. 

Decorative Half-Timber Framing

Tudor Revival’s decorative half-timber framing is meant to fool the eye—at least in the United States. What is it exactly? A frame of thin boards (often with stucco infilling) is added outside the cladding to mimic medieval construction techniques. Those long-ago structures depended upon heavy timbers to support the weight of the house. The space between those supporting timbers was filled, leaving them visible. 

Groups of Windows

Tudor-style houses usually feature tall, narrow multi-paned windows in groups of two, three, or four. Sometimes the glass panes are diamond-shape instead of rectilinear, and surrounded by lead came rather than wood. The windows are usually casement style, which means they open outward to the left or right to provide fresh air and a clear view to the outdoors. Occasionally these homes include double-hung windows with two sashes that slide up and down to provide ventilation.

Elegant Entryways

Some Tudor features are decorative and some are meant to provide protection from the elements. Tudor entryways—such as the one shown here—do both by recessing the door from a thick masonry wall or adding a small roof over the door. Elegant Renaissance-style embellishments may include an arched or peaked board-and-batten door with a single small window, hefty metal door hardware, and quoinlike cut-stone blocks set into the surrounding wall. These embellishments make the doorway a focal point and enhance curb appeal. 

Period Tudor Interiors, part 1

Want to create period interiors for your Tudor-style home? Consider these suggestions:

  • Retain and celebrate architectural features such as exposed ceiling beams, Tudor-arch doorways, board-and-batten wall paneling, and flagstone fireplaces with elaborate mantels.
  • Choose a warm color scheme (e.g. crimson, yellow, and orange), with brown as the base neutral. Add touches of blue and green for contrast.

The owner of this 1926 Tudor kept the original red brick fireplace, and the exposed ceiling beams, a signature of Elizabethan-era architecture. He painted original plastered walls a burnished gold hue, extending the cozy color to the entry and stairwell to create a welcoming first impression. Heavy draperies, an Oushak rug, and velvet-upholstered wing chairs boost the level of coziness—an important attribute for Tudor interiors. See more ideas for ideas for Tudor interiors on the following slide.

See a Tudor Revival House renovated in Old World style.

Interior Design: Norm Wogan

Period Tudor Interiors, part 2

  • Furnish rooms with heavy, ornate wood furniture: genuine antiques or reproductions designed to look aged, but well-preserved.
  • Think cozy. Decorate the windows with ornate drapes made of heavy, luxurious fabrics (such as velvet). Pull comfy upholstered wing chairs close to the hearth. Use oriental-style rugs over hardwood or stone floors.
  • Enhance the feeling of warmth by adding classic English artwork or heavy tapestries.

This 1926 Tudor Revival’s master bedroom features a quintessentially English bed with a wood-paneled headboard and barley-twist posters supporting a canopy. The room’s Old World ambience is boosted by the addition of an antique French stone fireplace and an early-1900s French alabaster-and-iron chandelier.

See a Tudor Revival House renovated in Old World style.

Interior Design: Norm Wogan

Updated Tudor Exterior

Today’s architects, designers, and homeowners appreciate the good bones of century-old Tudor homes, but sometimes update them—inside and outside—to suit contemporary life. The original red brick of this 1920s Tudor was stained with a diluted taupe-colored paint for a more subdued and harmonious palette. See subsequent slides to get ideas for updating interiors in a Tudor home.

Tour a Tudor home that has been updated for kid-friendly living.

Architect: D. Stanley Dixon

 

Updating Tudor Interiors

Want to retain some of that old-house feel while updating a Tudor home for 21st-century living? Restrict your efforts to surface changes that can be reversed, if desired: repairs, painting, and adding different furniture, window treatments, and rugs.

The owners of this new (but vintage style) home thought all the dark-stained woodwork felt overwhelming. Architects Cliff Duch and Joseph Cronk, and designer Andrew Howard helped give the home a fresh start by painting much of the woodwork white—including the entry’s board-and-batten paneling and the staircase’s balusters, newel caps, newel posts, and risers. The floor, handrail, and tread were left dark as a nod to the home’s vintage roots. A round table and plush rug allow the paneled walls to take center stage. 

Architects: Cliff Duch and Joseph Cronk
Interior Design: Andrew Howard

Updated Foyer

Painting woodwork white is not the only solution to refreshing a tired space. In this Tudor home’s foyer, traditional dark-stained board-and-batten wall paneling has been left in place—but brightened with a custom settee in a striking print.

Visit a beautifully updated Tudor-Style Home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Living Room, No. 1

Now, as in the past, this 1925 Tudor’s leaded-glass bay window acts as a focal point for the living room. Designers Joe Lucas and Parris Chilcoat honored the stately architectural feature, but injected youthful energy by painting dark woodwork white (including the matched pair of bookcases), and adding an upholstered settee and chairs to the seating area. See another view of this living room on the next slide.

See more images from this updated 1925 Tudor home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Living Room, No. 2

The home’s sparkling leaded-glass French doors and half-circle fanlight introduce daylight to another welcoming seating area. This one is furnished with upholstered furniture, a neutral rug over sisal carpeting, and pink-print pillows that make the room more approachable and energetic.

See more images from this updated 1925 Tudor home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Breakfast Room, No. 1

Black-trimmed muntin-glass windows and the original hardwood floor hark back to the home’s century-old roots. But white-painted woodwork, woven chairs, and pretty shade fabric give this breakfast room a fresh vibe that belies its age.

See more images from this updated 1925 Tudor home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Breakfast Room, No 2

To update this 1928 Tudor home, architect D. Stanley Dixon converted the existing kitchen into a breakfast room with board walls and pantry doors with iron hardware. The detailing speaks to the home’s Tudor styling, while the white-painted walls refresh the nearly 90-years-old space. See the next slide for another view of this room.

See more images from this kid-friendly Tudor home.

Architect: D. Stanley Dixon
Interior Design: Lauren DeLoach

Updated Breakfast Room, No. 2

The breakfast room’s Old English attitude could have been diluted by the family’s request for a television. But designer Lauren DeLoach made the family’s idea work by hanging pewter plates around the wall-mounted television; the overall effect is one of a decorative grouping rather than a technological intrusion. 

See what it took to help this 1928 Tudor make a comeback.

Architect: D. Stanley Dixon
Interior Design: Lauren DeLoach

Updated Dining Room, No. 1

Part of a 1932 Tudor that needed serious updating, this revived dining room is viewed through one of the home’s original Tudor-arch doorways. The room’s design is classic Kay Douglass, the homeowner as well as a designer; she favors clutter-free designs that emphasize texture and form. A long, narrow, antique table is centered in front of an original bay casement window; beneath it sits a thoroughly modern sea grass rug. Persimmon-hue draperies add cozy columns of color to the original bay casement window.

Tour a 1930s Tudor with a simple European aesthetic.

Interior Design: Kay Douglass

Updated Dining Room, No. 2

This room used to have a “sad old vibe,” according to interior designer Joe Lucas. But a fearless mix of elements turned that attitude around: painted-white woodwork, playfully patterned wallpaper, and emerald green curtains that showcase original leaded-glass French doors. Painted Louis-style chairs add to the youthful mix with striped upholstery on the back and velvet-covered seats.

Visit a beautifully updated Tudor-Style Home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Kitchen, No. 1

A total makeover left this 1928 Tudor Revival’s kitchen with pale Venetian plaster walls and a beautiful Belgian black stone floor. An airy look prevails, though, thanks to two pairs of French doors that welcome light into the revitalized space. Like the doors, new white-painted wood cabinets feature wavy leaded glass with an Old English attitude. The original Wolf range was restored. The island is an old American shop bench that was cut down and fitted with casters.

Interior Design: Norm Wogan

Updated Kitchen, No. 2

Designer John K. George peeled away layers of a 1913 Tudor’s flooring to reveal the kitchen’s original pine planks with an incredible patina. He preserved most of the circa 1970s cabinets, but gave them credible historic charm by adding moldings, muted green paint, and vintage-look bronze hardware. George tapped a reclaimed-lumber business to install a new coffered ceiling using salvaged antique wood. See more details from this kitchen on the next slide.

See how the kitchen in a 1913 Tudor gets a respectful renovation.

Interior Design: John K. George

Updated Kitchen, No. 2

As part of the kitchen makeover, a nondescript china cabinet was painted red using a dry-brush technique to simulate a timeworn patina. The faux antique now occupies focal-point status positioned against contrasting green-painted cabinets. Beneath vintage light fixtures (recycled from a church) sits a table-style island made of distressed pine beams wrapped with hobnailed iron banding.

See how the kitchen in a 1913 Tudor gets a respectful renovation.

Interior Design: John K. George

Updated Master Bedroom

Pale hues give this once dark bedroom a light and airy personality, starting with gray-painted walls and a bed layered in white and linen-stripe bedding. The 1928 Tudor’s original windows are covered with lightweight silk taffeta draperies of ethereal blue—a far cry from the heavy velvet window coverings that might appear in a period interior. 

Architect: D. Stanley Dixon
Interior Design: Lauren DeLoach

Updated Master Bathroom, Part 1

This master bath features a soft gray-painted vanity that boasts furniture-style details: full inset doors and drawer fronts, faux feet, and a marble countertop. Below the storage piece, oversize hexagonal tiles channel tile floors from the early 20th century. So do the new deco-style sconces, which call to mind the Tudor home’s 1925 roots. See another view of this bath on the following slide.

Take a walk through this updated Tudor-style home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Master Bathroom, Part 2

A Swedish arm chair cozies up to the deep soaking tub, which along with the exposed tub filler lends vintage charms to this updated master bath. The window shade is made from bargello-pattern linen that draws out the colors in the painting above the tub.

Take a walk through this updated Tudor-style home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

Updated Child’s Bedroom

Natural woven shades open to reveal the bedroom’s original casement windows, which fill the space with daylight. Deep green-painted walls, a bold fabric for the upholstered headboard, blue and brown bedding, and a papier-mâché animal sculpture give the room a youthful energy that suits the boy who occupies it. The vintage armchair includes cushions upholstered in faux zebra hide.

Take a walk through this updated Tudor-style home.

Interior Design: Joe Lucas and Parrish Chilcoat

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Get the Look: Tudor Style

Learn more about authentic Tudor-style home exteriors and how you might go about updating the rooms inside

Written by Debra Steilen
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Jeff Herr

You probably hear people identify this asymmetrical style of architecture by one word—Tudor—but Tudor Revival may be more accurate. Here in the United States, this style of home first became popular during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century—then again in the late 20th century. These homes feature elements inspired by the medieval architecture of Tudor England in the early 16th century—thus, the term Tudor Revival. Learn about Tudor style’s key elements—steeply pitched roofs, decorative half timbering, embellished doorways, and more in the slides that follow.

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