Georgian House Plan
Georgian House Plan: Prudence Duplex
We were British, subjects of King James when first we settled in Jamestown (1607). We were culturally Shakespearian*, engaged in all things British. We were patriotic, though divided in the English Civil War. We cheered the Restoration and the return of monarchy (the Virginia Cavaliers, et alia**); well, most did. We were faithful to our country’s traditions and eager for the fashions of our London capital. We followed the taste of king, queen, and nobility. We were ambitious to become the proud ornaments of the kingdom, to achieve excellence in the arts of pictuary, statuary, building. Yet, early we showed ourselves to be rather less officious, rather more neighborly, and though we dutifully followed the Roman Renewal of England, I don’t know, the imperial pomp-and-circumstance seemed a pretense. We were polite, yes, “close-to-the-chest”, you might say, upright, domestically public, comfortable and homey. You will notice, the American Georgian is communitarian, an architecture of community, rather than the architecture of authority.
Georgian, Prudence Features
Prudence is intended to lend grace to a neighborhood, economy to a family. This prudence of a Georgian façade enjoys a townhouse floorplan and shares garden courts typical of Charleston and Savannah, though updated to accommodate 21st Century preferences. The house is convenient to street, yard, and service alley, is heritage friendly, full of modern innovation. And yet, here is innovation within tradition, the Classive tradition of a beautiful American home.
As you will notice, each of the two gardens creates personality and purpose, differentiating home from home. The one is active, sporting, the other is contemplative, retiring. We can assume these personalities tell themselves in the interiors, alike a face tells preferences, reveals personality after decades of choices, choices to beauty, to ease, to sloth, et cetera.
Then too, you will notice that gardens are outdoor rooms, invitations to the experience of a day, to the enjoyment of life. These outdoor rooms are the largest rooms of the house, rooms which create family traditions, family purpose. Each street-level garden has two rooms: the sporting, a recreation and a fitness room; the contemplative, a retiring and a strolling room; both enjoy a sunning, sky-level garden where containers grow edibles or ornamentals or curiosities.
I recommend for the contemplative garden, statuary, inscriptions, themed fountains that exhibit the resident’s accumulated wisdom and earned beliefs. For the active garden I recommend benches whose below-seats can capture balls and stuff, and I suggest nets to prevent balls becoming hazard to the alley. The garage will hold in closet and rafters the requirements of garden service and maintenance, et cetera.
English architecture is Roman architecture in seed, trunk, branch, leaf, and root, and Britian, “Britannia”, is Roman by name***, by turn of mind, by history and ascendence. This Romaness began with Julius’ conquest, a conquest that concluded in Claudius Caesar’s victory. With victory, the Roman villa, fortress, town and shrine were planted on the island, as were Roman ways, the laws, manners, and habits. Britian’s became Roman. Nine Roman emperors were for some time resident in Britannia: Septimus Severus’ died at Eboracum (York), Carausius crowned himself emperor, Constantius I died defending the Antonine Wall from the Picts, Constantine I was declared “Augustus” by this troops, et cetera.
Since the 5th Century fall of empire, British architecture has been a continuance of Roman tradition in revival and renewal: the Romanesque (a Roman continuance), the Norman and each Roman Renewal, St. Mary’s Kempley to Quinlan Terry. Recall that Andrea Palladio, a Venetian who measured and adapted antique Roman forms to suit the composition of his villas, composed a guide to building adapted from Vitruvius (an Imperial Roman architect). Palladio’s book, The Four Books of Architecture prompted George I to commission an English facsimile from Giacomo “James” Leoni, The Architecture of A. Palladio in Four Books, 1715. Leoni Anglicized, some say, “improved” upon Palladio. Another book that will have pleased the cultural ambitions of King George, Campbell’s Vitruvius Britannicus, 1725, an ambitious undertaking. Yet, one book more than any other made the Roman Revival accessible to Britons of the extended empire, James Gibb’s Book of Architecture, 1728.
Each book had its champion, and each champion his argument, and all arguments served to refine taste, prompt innovation, and encourage excellence. George III, a skilled practitioner of architectural drawing, publicly urged and sometimes commissioned buildings of the highest standards, yet it was the aristocrats and the rising middling class who rose to taste and practiced excellence. Witness the well-measured houses of Williamsburg whose simple sheds and stables attest to refined taste and sturdy judgment. We might say, “the Williamsburg outhouse is of a higher architectural order than the McMansion and the McModern, and most skyscrapers of the starchitect and stale architect”. The Classive nature of the Anglo-Roman embodies a gravitas worthy of a people who by liberty might lead the world into civilization.
* Shakespeare’s The Tempest is based upon source material before 1610, perhaps the founding of the Virginia settlement, Jamestown, 1607. In my notes (apology, cannot find them just now) there are records of Shakespeare’s plays being performed shipboard in the Atlantic in the decade’s following his death; and there is a 17th Century record of an Indian gifting the works of Shakespeare to a British officer.
** The Washingtons, the Madisons, the Marshalls were Cavaliers all, Royalists who fled to Virginia in hope of escape from bloody Cromwell. Here, always like to share this tidbit: John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, et cetera, was “Secretary for Foreign Tongues” in Cromwell’s Commonwealth.
*** Derived from the writings of the geographer Pytheas (born, circa 350 B.C.) who mapped the northern reaches and described the Hyperboreans, those people beyond Boreas (the “North Wind”), and while in the land of the Hyperboreans, Pytheas recorded in his journal the “midnight sun”, the summer solstice of the Arctic Circle, et cetera.
Symmetrical masses of two stories and more. A delicate symmetry and detailing, with an Adamesque lightness refinement.
A hipped roof lower in pitch than the Early and Middle Georgian. Often, the balustrade that hides the roof.
Windows are six-over-six, shallowly recessed. Palladian and elliptical windows become common.
Structure and Materials
Wood frame or masonry construction. Sometimes, decorative limestone or terra-cotta panels.Walls and columns can be of masonry, brick, or wood; wood being most common.
Space and Floor Plan
Double-pile in plan, two or three stories in elevation.
A central doorway often flanked by sidelights and topped by a semi-elliptical fanlight. Pilasters and columns become prominent.
In simple homes, ornament might be stripped to bare essentials, not unlike the Early Georgian; in grand homes, ornament is fully articulated.
The color becomes pastel, highlighted in white. Brick is occasionally whitewashed. The roofs continue green, as do the shutters. Door color is often left to the owner’s whim.
A formal, geometric garden that demonstrates the logical mastery over nature’s chaos, a triumph of man’s will, and God’s order. Think of man putting a horse through paces in dressage, and, well…
*for a detailed history, see “Your House: Style and Period, Georgian“.
The Beautiful Home, Plan #74, Prudence Duplex
5,080 Square Feet total
2,540′ Square Feet, each house
1,270′ First Floor, each house
1,270′ Second Floor, each house
3 Bedrooms, each house
3 1/2 Bathrooms, each house
Roof Framing beam and truss
Roof Pitch 6:12 (25%, ¼ pitch)
Ext. Wall Construction Brick over stick frame
Roof Framing beam and truss
Ceiling Main 9’-0”
Entrance Vestibule 6′-6″ x 9′-0″
Living Room 12’-0” x 15′-4″
Dining Kitchen 21′-0″ x 16′-4”
Water Closet 3′-6″ x 7′-10″
Master Bedroom 14′-0″ x 13″-6″
Master Bath 9′-0″ x 9′-0″
Garage 21′-0″ x 24″-10″
Bedroom 2 13′-9″ x 13′-6″
Bedroom 3 13′-9″ x 13′-8″
Bedroom 4 16′-2″ x 18′-10″
Water Closet 1 6′-6″ x 9′-5″
Water Closet 2 9′-0″” x 9′-0″
Study Hall 6′-6″ x 29′-6″
Family Room 21′-0″ x 18′-0″
Attic full length
Side Yard 22′-6″ x 88′-10″
Roof Deck 21′-0″ x 24′-9″
first floor powder room
upstairs bedrooms & bath
two laundry rooms
Georgian House Plan
* * *
* * *