Tudor style front of home

What Is A Tudor House?

Rachel Burris5-Minute Read
May 14, 2020

Purchasing a new home can be a trying process that requires a fair bit of compromise. Unless money is no object, it’s crucial that you begin the search with a list of priorities. For some, it’s the size or location of the house that matters most. Those with large families may need a home with a certain number of bedrooms or one that’s situated in a good school district. For others, it’s a house’s aesthetic that takes precedence.

While you may be familiar with the classic look of traditional or Craftsman-style houses, the architectural designs available are as varied as the individuals who inhabit them. With so many popular home design styles, it can be challenging to keep them straight. However, one particular style that tends to be easily recognized is the Tudor.

Popularized in the United States in the early 19th century, Tudor houses have a romantic, fairy tale feel that makes them the envy of all homes on the block. Read this article to learn more about the intriguing histories, fine, natural materials and impressive aesthetic designs of these distinctive, dignified abodes and discover whether this style is right for you.

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What Is A Tudor Style House?

tudor style home exterior

Due to their exposed timber frames and gorgeous rows of latticed windowpanes, Tudor-style houses possess either the quaint feel of an English countryside cottage or manor, depending on their size. Unlike the symmetrical Colonials with their side-gabled roofs, Tudors feature a more asymmetrical design with front-facing gables that are more typical of Victorian-style homes. Yet, while Victorian houses are known for the highly decorative brick and millwork that defines their dollhouse-like appearance, the Tudor style has a far more mature, stately aesthetic.

A Brief History Of Tudor Architecture

historial tudor style home

Tudor architecture harks back to the late 15th and early 16th centuries when the Tudor family reigned over the United Kingdom. The original British design combined the vertical lines of Perpendicular Gothic architecture with the decorative embellishments of the Renaissance style. Its popularity inspired Americans to appropriate the style in the early 20th century.

The homes that you may recognize are known as Tudor Revivals, the majority of which were built in the suburbs of the Northeast and Midwest from the late 1890s to the early 1940s. These homes were quite expensive to be built. As a result, some became known as “Stockbroker’s Tudors,” a nickname that calls attention to the fact that many of their wealthy homeowners had made their fortunes during the stock market boom of the 1920s.

Characteristics Of Tudor Houses

front door of a tudor style home

Tudor houses are easily recognizable due to their striking architectural elements. Typical Tudor exteriors are unmistakable due to their steep gable roofs clad in slate, stucco or stone facades adorned with decorative half-timbering, casement windows with diamond-patterned glass panes and brick chimneys capped in clay chimney pots.


Steep Gable Roofs

Among the most striking characteristics of Tudor Houses are their steep gable roofs. In many ways, this style of roof looks like a classic child’s drawing of a house due to its triangular shape. The sides of the roof are pitched at a steep angle and meet at a point. The gable is the triangular-shaped wall that faces the front of the house. 


Decorative Half-Timbering 

Although not present in all examples of the architectural style, decorative half-timbering may be considered the most recognizable feature of Tudor houses. This is a building technique in which a house’s wood framing is exposed, making it visible from the exterior. This design adds a geometric, multitone aesthetic to the structure, as the black or brown timbers stand out against the light-colored stucco or stone used to fill in the home’s facade.


Casement Windows

Casement windows have hinges that are attached to the frame, allowing them to open outward. Tudor houses often have rows of casement windows with small leaded glass panes that are arranged in a lattice or diamond pattern. The frames are commonly made of wood or metal and situated within a house’s gables.


Brick Chimneys 

Tudors generally have prominent chimneys that are built out of brick and topped with chimney pots. The chimney pots are usually made of terra cotta and used to extend the chimney and increase the draft needed for combustion. While some Tudor chimneys are highly decorated, others are simple, tall constructions with slender, round or octagonal pots.


Tudor Interiors

Although many of these interiors have been modernized over time, traditional Tudor homes still maintain some typical hallmarks. Instead of having large, open spaces, Tudors tend to be divided into more formal rooms, each dedicated to specific purposes. Sitting rooms often have plaster walls, warm color schemes, oversized stone hearths and wood paneling. Rooms also commonly feature decorative beamed ceilings and arched doorways.

Modernizing The Tudor Style

exterior of modern tudor home

Despite the beauty of Tudor architecture, some homeowners find its use of stone and dark wood to be too heavy for modern-day predilections. As a result, many homeowners rely on home renovations to modernize the Tudor style. Since modern decorating trends favor bright, airy spaces, common renovations work to tone down stuffier rooms by scaling back the intense, dark features of their interiors.

Wooden beams and wall paneling can be restained lighter. Plaster walls can be repainted a brilliant white or soft cream to open up the space or a radiant yellow or light blue to add a pop of color to the rooms. Replacing bulky, ornate furniture with slimmer, lighter pieces and dark, patterned textiles with lightweight, solid-colored fabrics can also make a dramatic difference. However, as you consider the projects that you want to undertake, make sure that they don’t diminish the home’s integrity or damage its historical character.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a home that’s as impressive as it is charming, Tudor houses with their steep gable roofs, intricate casement windows and decorative half-timbered facades may be the ideal choice. Thanks to the popularity of the style at the turn of the century, many Tudors can still be found on the market.

However, before you jump into purchasing a historical home, it’s crucial that you have a solid understanding of what you’re getting yourself into. While historical homes possess superior craftsmanship and unparalleled beauty, they are often costly and time-consuming to repair and maintain. Still, those who live in historical homes tend to gain a kind of satisfaction from them that is truly incomparable.

Ready to take the leap? You can begin the process now by contacting a Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC Partner Agent. Our agents will not only assist you in finding the Tudor of your dreams but also guide you through each step of the home buying process.

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Rachel Burris

Rachel Burris is a writer covering topics of interest to present and future homeowners, as well as industry insiders. Prior to joining Rocket Companies, she worked as an English teacher for the New York City Department of Education and a licensed real estate agent for Brown Harris Stevens. She holds a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Bucknell University, a postbaccalaureate certificate in psychology from Columbia University and a master's degree in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University.