These fairytale Tudor homes have become uncommon. Here’s why.

Rose McMackin
Rose McMackin
The Mortgage Reports Editor
June 8, 2019 - 2 min read

Origins of the Tudor style home

Tudor style homes are easy to spot, even if you aren’t an architecture buff. Their distinct appearance — medieval-influenced windows and brick exterior accented with half-timbering — is deeply recognizable.

The Tudor movement is a revival of medieval and post-medieval English architecture. Because these homes are mimicking a style designed for cold weather climates, they are most often (though not exclusively) seen in the northern half of the United States.

Appreciated for their charming, old-world feel, these homes come in all sizes. Small versions have a quaint storybook quality and larger versions that confer the romance of an English country manor.

Hallmarks of a Tudor home

Perhaps the most distinctive quality of the Tudor style home is the brick, stone or stucco exterior, with decorative half timbering.

The windows are the most identifiably medieval quality of a Tudor style home — they are often tall and narrow, composed of multiple panes.

The steeply pitched roofs make these homes well suited to regions that endure heavy precipitation.

Embellished doorways and window frames add to the fairytale quality of these homes.

Declining popularity of the Tudor house

Because Tudor homes incorporate so many different kinds of construction material and expensive, elaborate decorations, they are expensive to build. As a result, they most often appear in wealthy suburbs.

This style of home experienced an explosion of popularity during the booming 1920s, earning them the nickname “Stockbroker’s Tudors” — referencing their New Money origins.

The masonry required for construction of a Tudor style home was the most significant cost barrier. In the early 1900s, innovations in masonry techniques made brick and stone homes more affordable to build. Still, Tudor style homes remained out of reach for the average home builder.

This barrier to efficient construction meant the style fizzled out of popularity following World War II, as the rapidly growing economy focused on housing projects that could be built quickly and affordably.

Although the style enjoyed a brief revival in popularity during the economic revival of the 1980s, modern architects are rarely asked to work in this style.

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