- Timescale/historical accuracy
DO: Remember that the Georgian period was an extremely long one. It began in 1714 and is generally regarded as having ended in 1820, overlapping with the Regency period (1800-1830). There are therefore many stylistic differences within the Period. From 1714 to about 1760 the Palladian style (named after the Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio) reigned supreme. From 1760-1790 the Adam (named after Robert Adam) or neoclassical style, was in vogue. From c 1790 - 1830 the Regency style prevailed. Although all these styles lend themselves to very grand houses most people who own Georgian houses live in more intimate examples of the style, which is characterised in all instances by elegance, proportion and symmetry.
- Do be careful over door furniture. Much of the door furniture retailing as "Georgian style" is not. For a start most door furniture produced in the period was cast iron painted black. Many manufacturers suggest that brass door furniture was the norm in the Georgian period, but it was not. You should be able to obtain help from one of the specialist catalogues, the Internet or reclamation yards. A good start might be the Building Conservation Directory, which is published annually in the autumn. Try or the Seeking Specialists section on this website. Remember that Georgian front doors generally had central knobs positioned at waist height and no letterboxes. The latter were a mid-Victorian invention.
- Do remember that the Georgians were very fond of painted doors, windows and furniture. The modern tendency to strip softwood furniture would be an anathema to any Georgian. Only very expensive timbers such as seasoned oak and mahogany would have been left unpainted. Georgian interior colours were very different from what we are used to nowadays, but that was mainly due to pigment technology rather than taste. Iron and red oxides were by far the cheapest pigments in those days, so the interior colours were very often rather dull by today's standards. Various shades of brown and murky greens predominated. Reds yellows and blues were virtually never seen.
"The brighter colours available to the Georgians were fine for dyes but would not work in paints, " said Georgian interior paintwork expert Patrick Baty of Papers and Paints (www. Colourman.com) of Chelsea. "My advice to owners of Georgian houses is to work out what you want to do with colour and stick to it." Unless your house is Grade I or Grade 11* you won't be allowed to use lead paint. It retains brush strokes and is very difficult to emulate, and ages in a totally different way from a modern paint, so I do not always encourage people to try and use it as it has an altogether different character."
Mouldings were almost never picked out in another colour in middle class Georgian households.
- Do pay attention to your interior plasterwork, especially if it has some fine ornamental details like ornate cornices, covings and ceiling roses. One way you can protect them is to ensure contractors take great care if you are having new wiring or a central heating system installed. Two-hundred-and-fifty year-old ornate plaster details do not take kindly to a large amount of disturbance above. If you are thinking of making alterations remember that reproducing or extending ornate friezes and covings is a skilled - and therefore expensive- job. Beware off-the peg mouldings for fine restoration work: many modern plaster products are historically inaccurate. Again your local conservation officer may be able to point you in the right direction.