Period features: a buyer’s guide
Add character to a contemporary property by reinstating traditional designs
Not every contemporary home needs to showcase stark, white minimalism – period elements are a great option to add contrast. Whether you’re restoring original features or recreating a traditional look, embracing the past can add a luxurious edge to a property and increase its value.
To translate period elements in a contemporary setting, its beneficial to play around with colour, finish and position.
When it comes to heating and fireplaces, wood-burning stoves are a popular alternative to more modern systems. While traditional in appearance, contemporary versions are high performance and eco-friendly. The Purevision Classic stove range at Charlton & Jenrick offers a variety of efficient and stylish options.
‘There was a trend for ripping out features in old properties in favour of minimalism, but people are falling back in love with restoring character,’ says Angus Blundell, marketing director at heatingoil.co.uk. ‘Many homeowners are putting wood burning stoves, AGAs and roll-top baths back into their homes, and they’re sensible options in terms of energy. As well as looking great, AGAs and wood-burning stoves are brilliant for heating our homes.’
There are numerous period choices for underfoot, and if you aren’t lucky enough to possess the original thing, replicas and modern versions will create the same traditional feel with added benefits. Encaustic flooring can add grandeur to any entrance or room, while parquet is currently making a comeback.
‘Parquet flooring is a versatile option, with different finishes and laying styles,’ says Jago Anderson, creative director at Element7. ‘Herringbone has always been popular, but we are seeing an increase in demand for chevrons and mansion weaves, as well as the use of larger planks. Colour is important, too; paler designs without knots give a light and airy feel, whereas darker grains create a classic finish.’
Sliding sash windows can make a huge difference to the look and feel of your home. There are many specialists who can carefully restore originals back to their former glory, and there are also companies that can fit double and triple-glazed sashes to meet current energy-saving standards, using slim glass to retain a period look.
One company making it easier to recreate the classic appearance of Victorian sashes is Anglian Home Improvements. Using the latest PVCu technology, the Elite vertical sliding sash window marries authentic detail with the latest thermal efficiency, security and noise-reduction technology. Each window is made bespoke to your exact specifications and there is a wide variety of frames to choose from online, where you can also obtain a free quote.
‘There has been increasing demand for windows with period appeal,’ says Mark Farmer-Wright, product development manager at Anglian. ‘Whether it’s replacing existing timber-framed sashes on a period home or personalising a property by replicating a classic look, the Elite sash provides a high quality, sympathetically styled option. Offering the best of both worlds, homeowners don’t have to choose between kerb appeal and comfort.’
While previous generations may not have had as many bathrooms in a house, their style was impeccable. Freestanding clawfoot designs work well in large, contemporary spaces. Chadder & Co has a collection of over 100 original antique baths, all of which have been refurbished and enamelled.
‘Choosing an antique bath with an unexpected colour and shape can really bring a contemporary bathroom alive,’ advises Martin Chadder, CEO and head designer of Chadder & Co. ‘Make sure you don’t go overboard with unusual pieces and then end up with the wrong effect. Mixing interesting textures alongside smooth and unblemished materials should help you to accomplish the right balance.’