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The Classic Characteristics of Terraced Houses

Terraced houses usually face directly onto the street but can allow for an area for a carport and even a small garden. Read more here.

The Classic Characteristics of Terraced Houses

Terraced houses are medium-density houses that originated in Europe in the 17th century. In modern times, it refers to a row of houses that share one or both adjoining walls, which is why they are also known as row houses or linked houses. While you can find this kind of property across the globe, they are particularly prevalent in Europe, Latin America, Northern America and Australia.

The term terrace was borrowed from the term garden terraces to describe rows of houses where the uniform fronts and the uniform heights of the houses created a more stylish effect than a mere row of houses. Terrace houses or townhouses share a common wall with the next-door property, and do not have a unit above or below them.

Another characteristic is that they have a garden that surrounds or halfway surrounds each two-unit property. This offers the best of both worlds as you have the luxury of an outdoor garden area without the burden of extensive maintenance.

Terraced houses usually face directly onto the street but can be set back far enough to allow for an area for a carport and even a small garden.

The most famous of the classical style terraced houses is the Victorian-style terraced apartment, which has the following characteristics:

  • Patterned bricks

The newly built railways made transporting heavy building materials such as bricks easier and the use of patterned bricks became very popular during this time. Victorian houses usually used Flemish Brick bond, where headers (where the end of the brick appears on the face of the wall) and stretchers (where the long side of the brick appears on the face of the wall) were used in alternating fashion with the headers being placed in the middle of the stretchers above and below it.

  • Terraces (literally)

As more and more people moved to urban areas, the houses were increasingly built in terraces, with the kitchen at the back and gardens to the front and rear. In modern times, the front garden is often removed to make space for parking.

  • Barge boards

During the Victorian era, placing distinctive decorative wooden panels on the gables ends were very popular. (Gable ends are the triangle sections of a pitched roof.)

  • Decorated roof line and slates

Another benefit of the invention of the railways and subsequent increased mobility of building material was that slate roofs became very popular. These often had finials on the ridge as well as the gable ends. A finial is a small carved ornament. Besides slate, roof tiles also often were made of terracotta (unglazed or glazed fired clay, usually in a deep red colour).

  • Bay and sash windows

In 1832 plate glass arrived, which was larger than the small, paned Georgian windows. This led to the era’s distinctive three-sided bay windows design.

  • Floor tiles

You’ll often find geometric terracotta floor tiles in the porch areas and throughout the ground floor. Colours were mainly very natural, ranging from red and brown as well as dark blue, black and off-white.

  • Stained glass

This was partly due to the Gothic revival, although it was mostly in the style of Augustus Pugin’s mosaic stained glass and not the traditional stained glass, where the pattern is painted directly onto the glass.

  • Fireplaces in every room

This kept the whole house warm. Fireplaces with grates were built in almost every room – a good thing as the houses were mainly built from stone, marble or wood and needed a lot of warming. It also meant that houses often had a lot of terracotta chimney pots.

  • Porches

Victorian houses often had a porch in front of the house, at the main door. Styles and designs differed but were very intricate.

  • Date stones

Many of these terraced houses had a date and name above the doors, although this was sometimes added later and should not be used as a definite identifier.

Richfield Lifestyle Estate includes beautiful two-, three- and four-bedroom terraced apartments. For more information on these classics with a modern twist, contact Mobus Properties today!

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